What essentially began life as a 2006 tide-over title until GTA IV
dropped, the Saints Row
franchise is now positioned to go toe-to-toe with Rockstar’s
flagship open world toy box! This throw-down will occur between August 23rd and September 17th when Saints Row IV
respectively hit/steal/abuse/interfere with store shelves.
And despite Deep Silver
’s snappy acquisition of Volition’s
suggestively supercharged pleasure engine following THQ’s
January bankruptcy, no-one with their noggin screwed on straight actually expects it to contend, at least commercially, with the unfettered might of Rockstar Games.
But we’re not here to talk about sales. (We’re mainly here to talk about nonsense)
We’re writing this head to head in the hope that by summer’s end our beloved readership will have a firm grasp on which sandbox suits best - The hard boiled grit and lofty production values of GTA V
.... Or, you know, Aliens with Marital Aids and shit...Presentation
No real contest here: Saints Row
’s CTG Engine, which looked out-dated two years ago, doesn’t stand up well to Rockstar’s
True enough, neither of these games will give Naughty Dog
’s in house engine reason to worry. Still, GTAV’s
presentation looks orders of magnitude beyond that of its opponent. Not that this is a particularly demanding feat...
Winner – Grand Theft Auto VMechanics
But there’s a reason SRIV
is rocking the bare necessities of graphical output; so they can cram as much bedlam on-screen as is technologically possible!
While fundamentally, mechanically Saints Row
share shooting, driving and melee systems, crisp, refined mechanics has ever been the Saints Row
mantra. By contrast, even Rockstar’s
action titles struggle to nail everything down. And yes, we’re looking at you Max Payne 3
doesn’t so much win this round as it does dance naked on a car bonnet while its opponent struggles to hop out of cover...
Winner – Saints Row IVPlotting
Harder to call this category, so much lies with player preference!
Admittedly, this is traditionally the area Rockstar
excels, testament to the talent and manpower they hurl at their writing division.But this isn’t a simple case of Drama Vs. Drama. It’s Drama Vs. Tongue-in-Cheek Action pornography!
True enough, GTAV
is sure to raise some salient points regarding crime, mid-life crisis, social class and ethical conduct.
But conversely, Saints Row IV
is about The President of the United States fighting off an Alien Invasion with an array of superpowers and an army of home-boys! And written by a team who have proven themselves humorous time and again...
Toss a coin? Ok...
Winner – Grand Theft Auto VLongevity
A popular criterion (albeit smashed in recent years by a trio of Platinum’s
short but fiendishly sweet Games) longevity doesn’t directly relate to value i.e. 10 Hours Walking
Despite an inevitable slew of sexy side missions and unconfirmed DLC for SRIV
, one expects GTAV
to outstrip ANY
challenger with multiplayer, social club challenges, a trio of central protagonists and a map so large (Rockstar’s
biggest) it dwarfs the combined efforts of previous entries Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
and Grand Theft Auto IV!
Winner – Grand Theft Auto VVariety
Another important value measure, there’d be little point cruising one of the largest gaming worlds in history without a host of activities to keep the player engaged. To this end, GTA
compliments its typical walk, run, shoot, steal, drive, listen with Jets, Jet Skis, Yoga, Tennis, Triathalons, Base Jumping, Golf and... Gym.
Presumably the latter will be tried once, for the novelty, before being discarded...
Impressive as that sounds, it’s positively paltry next to the Mech Suits, DubStep Guns, Monster Trucks, Wrestling Techniques, Super Speed, Telekinesis, Ice-Blasts, Gliding and Big-Head Lasers of Saints Row IV!
With entirely customizable attire, load-outs, dance routines, movesets and homies, it’s unlikely Rockstar
can cram half as much diversity into any given five minute block as its irreverent adversary.
Winner – Saints Row IVVerdict
A far closer call than it seems...
Objectively, with a score of 3/5 coupled with the more experienced development team, greater resources, professional writing, polished engine and Rockstar’s
largest game world yet, Grand Theft Auto V
makes for the obvious, inevitable choice.
But after fived numbered iterations (not counting Vice City
and its spiritual successors) the lure of the criminal underworld has waned in recent years.
Say what you want about Saints Row IV
, its immaturity, its irreverence, its inane plot and blotchy graphics, none too many games put you in the shoes of the POTUSOA and encourage you to leap a half mile into the air before driving a right hook into the shuddering foundations of your resident metropolis.
So if you want polish and professionalism – GTA V
But if you’d prefer fresh and frantic – Saints Row IV
And since I’m the one scribbling these words, in a bid to be controversial and trendy, I’m going to call it...
Winner - Saints Row IV
(poor spelling aside)