I’d Rather Have Saint’s Row 4 Than GTA 5

I am more excited about the next Saint’s than I am about the upcoming fifth installment of Grand Theft Auto.

Hear me out for a second.

I love Grand Theft Auto.  I played the first one (and London 1969) a whole hell of a lot and, although I had no idea at the time how great they would eventually grow to be, I enjoyed them.  Quite a bit, actually.  When Grand Theft Auto 3 dropped in 2001 I, like everybody else, spent approximately half that year trying to rack up a six-star wanted level.  I literally knew the streets of that town as well as I did my own, and have repeatedly said that GTA III has had more of an impact on the gaming industry than any other title ever.  Suffice to say, I’m a fan.

And don’t get me wrong.  GTA V is going to be nothing short of amazing, and I’m probably going to be at least eighth in line to pick it up.  Nobody lampoons pop culture with as much humor and intelligence as Rockstar, and I’m sure the gameplay will be as polished and brilliant as ever.  But that doesn’t necessarily make it more fun.

I was as excited about Grand Theft Auto IV as anybody.  I didn’t get it on day 1, but not too long after its release I picked it up and got ready to embark on my epic reclamation of Liberty City.  After meeting Niko (a truly remarkable character), and jacking my first car, I started roaming the city.  My usual GTA strategy is too bust the early-game missions out as fast possible before the lure of the city becomes too great.  GTA IV was no different, but, as I played, a horrible truth dawned on me.  These missions I was playing were terribly boring.

I felt like I was playing Crazy Taxi without the crazy.  I was just ferrying people around, and being forced to hang out with people I didn’t like.  If I didn’t indeed hang out with them, or god forbid take over three minutes to cross a f***ing metropolis, I was slammed with gameplay punishments.  No thanks, man.  I’m sure I missed all sorts of great jokes and missions and everything, but I capped out around fifteen hours.  GTA can easily suck hundreds, but that is still a significant investment in a game I wasn’t really enjoying.

On the other hand, I was sucked into Saint’s Row: The Third almost instantly.  I always thought of the Saint’s Row franchise as the ginger lispy step-brother of GTA, but, despite being less than impressed with the first two entries, I found I couldn’t stop playing it.  The absurdity of it hit my funny bone in just the right way, but it is also a heck of a game in its own right.  The gunplay is fantastic, the varied activities (especially Professor Genki’s game show and Insurance Fraud) are incredible and the upgrade system deserves its own academy award.  It is seriously that good, especially some of the late-game upgrades.

Really everything about it is awesome, and that includes the story.  It may be a little off the…ok, a lot of the rails, but it is well-written and does a great job endearing you to the cast.  Listening to my character and her friend sing along to my favorite band Sublime’s “What I Got” was so awesome I can’t even describe it.  That game is pure fun from beginning to end, and that counts for a lot in a game.

As much as I believe video games are art, I also believe they should be fun, and that that is its number one job.  Designing a social commentary on the American Dream is great and all, but, sometimes, I just want to beat people with a giant purple phallus.  And Saint’s Row let’s me do that.

That’s gotta count for something.

There are 8 comments

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  1. sergio sanchez

    I think you can stay off the crack;-) GTA five will be much better game than St. row the fourth just look at how bad the third was next time don’t wait into your sloshed out of your mind to write an article

  2. sergio sanchez

    I’m not done with you yet if you do like St. Row the third better than GTA it’s because you like unrealistic and very juvenile game next time you go to write your article grab your Blankey and your pacifier

  3. daniel

    I kind of agree..I had more fun playing Saints Row The Third then I ever did playing GTA IV

    GTA IV – I didn’t care about the characters. Sure it has amazing attention to detail, but when you really break it down, the city is quite empty as to what you can do inside it. The in-game Internet system ended up being useless and adding nothing to the game. Building relationships with characters was pointless since it didn’t really affect the outcome of the story. I don’t know how many times I rejected Roman’s request to go bowling, yet Roman was still there by my side at the end…so obviously it didn’t matter if I built up a relationship with anyone, so that was a pointless endeavour.

    Everyone bangs on about the attention to detail. But when you break it down, it’s kind of an empty game. Outside of Multiplayer, there was no reason to go back and play around in Liberty City. San Andreas at least kept me coming back. IV, I couldn’t be bothered to come back because it was so empty.|

    Saints Row The Third – I had a ton of fun playing…so many side missions, so many activities…it did what I want from a sand box game, it kept me coming back because it didn’t take itself so seriously.

  4. stefanveljanovski

    Gta5 will be the best game.I think that saints series are good,but gta5 will be a brilliant game,If you don’t wanna get gta5 the don’t get it .Get saints row if you want.Why did you say that gta4 was boring is one of the best game of the gta series and a fresh start.I know that Rockstar will make Gta5 THE BEST GAME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. rexx

    Yeah, I just finished Saints Row 4, and now I’m playing GTA5. The details is awesome, but after only a few hours, I’m bored. There’s no imagination here. It’s make a real city, let you drive and shoot stuff, that’s it. That was fun 10 years ago, but now I want more. I found Saint Row 4 to be imaginative, funny, and so far a better game. We’ll see. I suspect there are a whole lot of fan boys that are emotionally attached to GTA so saying it’s not great will just piss them off.

    • Voij

      Also started playing GTA V just recently, only a couple hours into it so far after having nearly finished the 100% on SR4.
      There’s one thing that’s majorly annoying me so far: GTA V has HORRIBLE vehicle radios.
      Sure, SR4 only had ~7 or so stations, but all of them had dozens[plural!] of songs, most of them actual classics that you could listen to for hours. [Opposites Attract, Touch and who could possibly forget the incredible performance of “Just a Friend” during that mission with Pierce?]
      On the other hand, GTA V offers me a whooping 17 channels that span all genres of music. [Except for dubstep, classical music and metal, curiously.] Every single one of these channels is filled with round about a dozen songs, with ~1-2 of them being among the better half of famous groups works, while the rest is generic crap of the specific genre.

      I dunno, might just be me in the end, but I simply can’t bring myself to like the music they used in GTA V, simply because they opted out of using any famous pieces or classics.

  6. mrminister

    The saints row series died when saints row 3 came out, sure, it was fun in the beginning, but then I started to realise how stupid it was and how good the 2nd saints row was compared to the third. And the fourth is just gonna be saints row 3.5, it was a DLC but they made it into a different game. So same graphics etc… except som wacky things like aliens.

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