Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Video Game Review: Sinners welcome. Does that include bad game designers?

Saint's Row. I know it looks like just another Grand Theft Auto ripoff, but you should never judge a book by its cover. It is in fact a Grand Theft Auto ripoff after recieving a concentrated dose of white. Not that I don't find it amusing to hit a thugged out rival gangster's car and hear him whine nasally "Oh man, my mommy's gonna kill me!" I just kind of doubt the street cred of a gang that chooses an especially girlish shade of purple as their color.

The entire message of the game is anti-gangstah. Your gang, the Saints, are out to bring peace to the city streets by blowing shit up with rocket launchers and machine guns. Also, by pimpin' out hos. It's all a very complex plan, you see. As you ride on whiny white kids and hos tell you about the importance of staying in school you'll meet such hardcore characters as the gang leader who doesn't like killing and the hardened street bitch who instantly backs down when accused of being a ho.

That said, Saint's Row is almost worth checking out for the fact that it's just one of those games that is so stupid it goes all the way around the bend and becomes fucking awesome. The characters are nutjobs, of course, but the best part is that everyone in this city is apparently insane, possessed of no sense of self-preservation whatsoever, or more likely both. As pedestrians hurl themselves in front of your car the other drivers will suddenly start swerving for no reason and taking out lamp posts. Then a cop drives his squad car into some random woman and jumps out and starts beating her to death with his baton. And then rival gang members show up and shoot everyone. You'll be laughing your ass off even as your car blows up and sends you to a fiery grave.

So maybe the characters and plot are stupid, and maybe the programming is so bad that 15 car pile-ups happen every five seconds. But if it wasn't that way, this would be just another boring clone. So is it really that bad? I mean, the answer is obviously yes, but still I have to ask, is it? ...yes.

KR Rating (From the Future): [2] BAD

The first Saint's Row was what you might call "so bad it's good." Yes, it was stupid, but it was that stupidity that was what we all loved about it, yes even myself. The second game decided to capitalize on this, turning everything up to 11, with minigames where you spray sewage onto your enemies' houses, throw yourself in front of cars, and generally act like a hellion. The result was a game world that made Grand Theft Auto look subtle by comparison. Four years later and here I am, actually looking forward to Saint's Row: The Third, the sequel to a game I once panned.

That said, make no mistake: Saint's Row was a bad, bad game.

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