Now that both of this years biggest crime sandboxes of the year have been released, I would like to take this time to begin a new series here on Insert Coin to Begin. In this series i will compare two things that will be Video Game relateds, be it games, series, developers, or even systems. I’m still working on a title for it but for now, I will call it ‘Brother Sorg Compares’. So without further ado, may i present:
Grand Theft Auto’s first release was back in 1997, Developed by Rockstar North(formerly DMA designs) and published by Rockstar Games. The series has had 7 major releases, 4 expansion releases, 2 handheld releases and 2 dlc expansions to date. Saints Row, developed by Volition, released in 2008, being the first open world game to be release for the 7th generation of consoles. The first 3 releases were published by THQ while the 4th installment was released by Deep Silver. Both of these series are highly popular open world games set in a crime infested city in which players have the freedom to do whatever they want within the game worlds.
Both GTA and Saints Row are open world, action-driving games in which you can explore fictional cities, allowing you to roam around to do whatever you want while in between missions. The missions of both series vary but tend to be generally the same, like driving from point a to point b, assassination, sneak and sabotage, and blowing up things depending where the story leads. The side missions of both series are quite different. While GTA tends to have races, assassinations, taxi driving and cop/ambulance missions, as well many other normal activities like darts, dancing, and parachuting/base jumps being added in the later titles. There are also usually some kind of collectible in each game as well to collect. Saints Row on the other hand tends to have the craziest activities more focused on just having crazy fun from impersonating a cop for a reality tv show and intentionally getting hit by cars for insurance fraud to the crazy Professor Genki game show and just blowing stuff up with a tank. Earlier games in the series make the activities mandatory to continue thou the story by requiring a respect points that are acquired thou said activities. Later titles allow you to do what you want at your own leisure.
While being similar types of games, GTA and Saints Row have their own different approach at controls. For instance, when using a gun in GTA, it will auto target when you hit the aim button towards someone in the general direction, being able to switch between targets in later titles. In the newest iterations, they added the ability to hide behind cover, as it was becoming popular in many other shooters at the time. In Saints Row, you have to aim the gun yourself like in a normal shooter, with the aim button zooming in and increasing your accuracy. The vehicles in both games, while having similar controls, behave a little differently. Cars realistically move, shifting their weight in GTA while Saints Row like to move very fast and turn way too quickly in my opinion. Despite being so different, both series seem to have gotten their controls down pretty well in their later renditions in their own ways.
Customization is a feature that was introduced to GTA first in San Andreas, allowing the character to buy clothes for the protagonist and mod their vehicles how ever they want. In IV they did skimp on the customization options, with no way of customizing your car, and very limited clothing options. They brought it all back in V giving even better options for customizing your car and characters, as well as adding weapon customization. Saints row goes even further, allowing you to create your own protagonist from scratch, making them whoever you want to be, and being able to choose a female starting from the second game. SR also allows you to customize your vehicles just like in GTA. In the Third, you are able to buy upgrades for the Saints leader like having unlimited running and being impervious to explosions.
For GTA, San Andreas was the first game to have any form of multiplayer. around the map were two player icons where you can start a two player mission like rampage. I’ve only noticed a few of them, but sadly, this feature was cut from the PC version. IV introduced the series to online multiplayer, allowing you to join other players in various game modes ranging from deathmatch to races to gang war type modes and delivering packages. GTA V built upon that, taking the free roam from the previous title, and making it a kind of lobby players can roam around with others between match sessions as well as adding crews from Max Payne 3 and a nice ranking system so everyone has to earn all the better equipment. Saints Row had multiplayer from the start with several modes but overall, it seems not as fleshed out as GTA did. The most interesting multiplayer option is c0-op which allows two players to play through the story together.
Other than sharing the common crime and gang themes, GTA and Saints Row have very different types of stories. GTA usually follows a protagonist living in a city, trying to raise through the ranks of the criminal underworld. While beginning with a very limited story for the first few games, they eventually start to take it more seriously in later titles. San Andreas and on have had quite interesting stories that have kept me engaged throughout the whole story, making me want to actually finish the stories even more than before. As the series continues, they create even better stories, making them more cinematic, eventually involving several characters you can switch from be it the dlc episodes for IV, or just giving us 3 characters to play with in the more recent titles. All games have been havily influence all kinds of different aspects of pop culture, like III being influenced by Goodfella’s and Sapranos and Vice City taking cues from Miami Vice and Scarface.
Saints Row on the other hand, follows a newbie gangster who becomes the leader of the Saints in the first game, and proceeds to take over cities in the next two installments. The first three iterations followed a similar formula, having the Saints battle against three rival gangs as well as special forces on their way to controlling the city. SRIV broke away from it’s norm of it’s predecessors and threw the Saints into a simulation where they fight aliens who are trying to take over the planet. With each iteration, the story seems to be more focused on having some insane fun than anything, with the saints become global icons to being in control of the United Stats.
Both game series have had quite a variety of music stations over the years. GTA has always had several stations with popular music, usually fitting the time period and the theme of each game. With my current love for all kinds of rock music, my favorites in the series tend to align with V-Rock and LC Rock, usually having something that I love to listen to while I drive around the games vast cities. Later iterations were also improved on by having a general score outside of the radio stations, which help set the tone for their stories. Several of the PC titles even had a nice feature where you can put your own music collection into the game as a custom radio station. In Saints Row, I never really listened to a specific station. Instead, when I discovered you can put any of the in game music into your own playlist, I put my favorites in and never had a song come up that I didn’t care for. Probably my favorite musicle moment in the series tho is the end of SR: the Third. during the final mission, Bonnie Taylors “Holding Out for a Hero’ plays during the mission.
For those of you who are looking for a better quality world to explore(and destroy), wanting plenty of activities to do and enjoy some of the best story writing today, Grand Theft Auto is probably for you. For those looking for some the most insane experiences, looking to just have a grand old time, then Saints Row is right up your ally. I have followed the Grand Theft Auto series and have quite enjoyed each one that gets released. They always are making each iteration better than the last and I admire Rockstar for it, even through all the controversy surrounding them. I’ve started Saint’s Row from the second game, being the first one was never released on steam so i never gotten around to it, and the series has kinda grown on me since with the character customization and some of the insanely fun missions to take part in.
Which series is your favorite? Got any stories to tell from any of these games? What else would you like to see me compare? Leave your responses in the comments below and have a wonderful day doing whatever it is you do internet.