Looking Back On The Saint’s Row Franchise
Does anyone remember that game released back in 2006 which everyone was outraged about because it was supposedly a “GTA Clone” then when people actually got to play the game they released they were two completely different sets of videogames? Well of course I am talking about the original “Saint’s Row” which spawned two sequels, set to be three. With the release of Saint’s Row IV this week now would be the perfect time to look back at the Saint’s Row series of videogames and see how much they have changed over the past 7 years.
The Saint’s Row franchise is now known for being incredibly over the top and hilarious whilst still having that element of open-world action and fun. Back in 2009 when Saint’s Row 2 was released, which still remains one of my favorite open-world co-op games that i still play today, the franchise wasn’t so over the top and crazy. The game focused on gang warfare between The Third Street Saints and the four different groups, The Ronin, The Brotherhood, The Sons of Samedi and Ultor. This also included four unique storylines you could play through at your own leisure. Although the graphics may not have been as impressive as the previous year’s “Grand Theft Auto IV” the game was still impressive enough to almost out gross the game in sales and the franchise was on top of its game with just the right amount of over the top fun and comedy. So of course, gamers wanted more out of the franchise, which leads me on to the sequel”Saint’s Row The Third”.
Saint’s Row The Third was released towards the end of 2011, just in time for Christmas, which of course developers Volition knew the second Saint’s Row sequel would fly off of shelves. The storyline of Saint’s Row The Third took a completely different turn for the franchise, focusing on the Third Street Saints now worldwide celebrities, with a movie based on their work being released and a lot of money. With this Volition did what every franchise wants to do but decides not to in the threat of destroying a franchise, turn the game into an all-out action, sci-fi comedy. Where else can you run around in a superhero costume brandishing a huge pink dildo whilst screaming profanity in a cockney accent? The game also made the campaign into a single storyline with all gangs in one syndicate; this made the game shorter but more effective in completing missions without missing any details, although co-op activities were shortened also. Even with these changes, the co-op gameplay was arguably the best of the series. As campaign missions progressed the storyline became incredibly bizarre, with huge naked clones that resemble a white incredible hulk, male prostitute horse carriages and STAG, an army from the future using sci-fi weaponry and vehicles including a flying motorcycle. Although I’m not sure if I preferred Saint’s Row 2 to this one, Saint’s Row The Third is still a hugely enjoyable open-world videogame and may well have just about surpassed its predecessor.
So overall, I believe that making the Saint’s Row franchise into an over the top mess was actually a good idea and really worked. The problem was that sometimes Saint’s Row The Third didn’t really know where its story was going, but neither did Saint’s Row 2 at times. The few intense moments from Saint’s Row 2, such as the uneasy to watch death of Carlos, are gone here and any major deaths are either glossed over or hilariously funny. But is this a bad thing? After the serious and intense action of the GTA franchise, which whilst a lot of fun it’s nice to kick back and enjoy craziness and action comedy madness sometimes. So who’s ready for the release of Saint’s Row IV this week? This definitely continues the madness with the addition of an alien invasion and the protagonist now the president of the United States. What do you guys think? Is the Saint’s Row series way too over the top for you or do you like the route it has taken? I for one am looking forward to playing SR4 and enjoying the hilarious fun at least before GTA V is released.