This City is Your Playground vs This Playground Is Your City

A long time ago I bought Saints Row 2 for the bargain price of £10. I played a fair bit of it, but I couldn’t really get past the incredibly poor quality of the game. It was sort of fun, but it was just too glitchy, rough and unpolished for me. I really tried to enjoy it, but the fact the frame rate, when turning a corner in a car, made my head hurt didn’t help. Not even having a scantily clad lady character gallivanting in front of me the whole time could really make me enjoy it properly. When Saints Row 3 was released, I decided not to buy it because I reasoned I’d get the same flawed experience from it.

Of course, I soon saw people playing it, so I checked out some reviews. They all said, sure it’s a bit rough, a bit unpolished, but what really shone through from all the reviews was that it was a lot of fun. Buoyed by this, and the fact I didn’t have to buy Assassin’s Creed: Revelations because I got a copy from Ready Up to review, I decided to invest.

And what did I get? A rough around the edges, flawed game with the series’ trademark terrible frame rate that still makes my head hurt. And despite all the madness with parachuting, interesting vehicles, running around naked, punching people in the nuts, calling in air-strikes, etc, I’m just not really enjoying it all that much. I’ve been thinking it through, and trying to figure out where it goes wrong for me.

GTA IV. Serious, yes. But seriously high quality with it.

1) Quality. It appears that I have more trouble overlooking rough edges than a lot of people. Even blazing around town in a pimped up sports car isn’t much fun when every corner makes my brain wince.

2) It’s not a sandbox, it’s a toy box. This seems like an odd one. One of my favourite things to do in GTA IV was just to play the game either alone or in multiplayer free mode and just mess around in the city. In GTA IV though, that felt like you were in a real city, going crazy and doing things you could never do in a real city. It was like they had put up a sign saying “Please do not attack the police”, which of course instantly makes you want to whip out a shotgun and go on a rampage. You felt like you shouldn’t be doing those things. Saints Row 3, on the other hand says, “Here’s a tank. Here’s a button to punch people in the nuts. Here’s an air-strike. Why don’t you go nuts?” While this is still fun, it suddenly doesn’t feel like a guilty pleasure.

It's important to accessorise – the right mini gun can really bring out your eyes.

3) Too much randomness. Sometimes you’d see something hilarious in GTA IV, often quite by accident, as a car crashes and explodes with no input from the player. It was always funny to see such oddness, as mostly the city ran pretty smoothly. In Saints Row 3, something insane is happening on the street every few seconds, as the engine frequently goes mental. It sort of takes away from the comedy of the randomness when it happens ALL the time.

All that said, as much as I love GTA IV, I have to admit that the following never happened to me in Liberty City: I was in a gunfight with the police (miles from the airport) when an airport baggage handler carrying four men dressed as hotdogs turned up out of the blue and crashed into the police car.

Now that WAS funny, Saints Row 3.






One response to “This City is Your Playground vs This Playground Is Your City”

  1. wcd45 avatar

    Tony the reason you don’t like this is that you’re an old fuddy duddy who just wants GTAV 😉
    How can you not like a game where the best melee weapon is a giant purple dildo.

Leave a Reply