Saints Row(THQ)

You'll realise you always wanted to run with the gang.

Game Review by Graeme Strachan | 12 Dec 2006
You're the new kid on the block, thrown by chance into the 3rd Street Saints gang with an aim to win control of the city of Stillwater. Among the choice of missions you can take time out robbing, street racing, stealing cars to order, organising hits and a shed load of other side activities.

You have an entire city to explore, crimes galore to commit, countless cars to steal and a myriad of guns, rockets, knives and bats to use against folk. So far, so GTA. In fact, Volition's Saints Row will be utterly familiar to any fan of Rockstar's classic crime series. That it's hugely derivative is neither a surprise, nor is it unwelcome, as the urban setting and many movie references make this game its own beast. It's got a mean sense of humour, and the A-list Hollywood voice cast clearly had a great time making it.

One of the more entertaining quirks of the game is the ability to make 'Playa' look however you want. Whether you fancy seeing yourself running around in a computer-game, or conrolling the celebrity of your choosing, the tools are all there in the game. Throw in a customisable wardrobe, bling accessories, homie sidekicks and the ability to pimp your ride to your heart's content and you've got a healthy sandbox to play in.

It's not without its faults, however: some of the missions defy all logic, and occasionally being forced to use the most unsuitable vehicles and equipment can be irritating, but these are minor quibbles when you're high-tailing it from a legion of cop cars, trying desperately to get to your fence after knocking off the local gun-shop. Rarely has there been so much fun in handbraking round a corner with three homies in car with you, all firing at the vehicle behind - all framed by the gorgeous city skyline behind you. At times like this you'll realise you always wanted to run with the gang. Well Playa', now you can. [Graeme Strachan]

Release date: Out Now on Xbox 360.