Let’s get straight to the point, this is a GTA clone. Unless they worked on this game for ages and came up with a free-roaming game concept with colour-coded gangs, a stat-based wanted system, hideouts, holdups, turf wars and bling-based respect all by themselves.
Gone are the GTA missions such as flying remote control helicopters into a building to plant bombs, instead you throw yourself into traffic as part of insurance scams. Thing is, I just don’t find it as intriguing as the GTA games and to be quite honest I have absolutely no idea why that is.
Saints go marching
The shooting is better than GTA. No lock-on rubbish, just aim like you would in any other third person game and shoot to your hearts content. It really does work so much better. The driving sections are great and the cars handle really well. Use “RB” and “LB” to look left or right and push both buttons to look behind you. Graphically the game is much better than San Andreas ever was or could dream of being and on top of it you have a “restart” option available if you do fail the mission. The cities design is spot on and the story is on par with a GTA story… so, what’s the problem then?
It comes down to one aspect that one would imagine they would have perfected in the third generation of 3D games, the AI (artificial intelligence). The game is just too easy. Cops are less aggressive – I had a five star wanted rating and I was shooting choppers out of the sky and blowing the police battalion to kingdom come. As for the enemies, they are as stupid as it gets. Walk right up to them, shoot them in their pip and walk off to the next enemy. Cars take forever to blow up, so the chance of a rival gang blowing you up happens on rare occasions. Park next to a gang of rivals, as the possibility of them jacking you is near impossible, shoot them in the head and drive off. Mission accomplished. The way that they force you to do side missions to gain enough respect to open up the main missions gets tedious and very repetitive.
Sinner or saint?
Then there is the laughable comedy. The radio stations and bill boards intend to provide you with fits of laughter, instead you fall asleep. Even the music selection is too vague. The feeling of shooting people in a drive-by in GTA: San Andreas while “Welcome to the Jungle” of Guns & Roses is rocking in the background just works so much better. They do have stacks of licensed soundtracks, but it’s nothing worth remembering. There is a horde of classical music tracks available to listen to with Mozart and Beethoven being at the top of that list, but lets be honest, this game is not about cruising down the highway taking a Sunday drive now is it? Where does this music really fit in?
There is system link and online multiplayer available but it is most definitely not worth using up your bandwidth for, rather keep playing Gears online.
If you’re desperate for some next-gen gang-banging this will work for now, but with GTAIV just a few months away I would hold out. At the end there is nothing really wrong with the game and in the same breath nothing really right about it either. It just lacks hugely in the “atmosphere” department unfortunately.
Pros: Graphically it is one of the better looking free-roaming games; doing handbrake turns and doughnuts.
Cons: Worst AI in a game for quite some time; rubbish humour.