An open-world, law breaking, mayhem causing crime simulator isn't exactly what you'd expect to appear here on RPGSite. Even in 'You may also like,' our section dedicated to games that aren't RPGs but may also appeal to RPG fans, Saints Row seems like a strange choice. Or is it...?
Our reason for choosing Saints Row for this edition of 'You may also like' is simple. This game is customizable as hell. RPG fans all have one thing in common - they all love gaining new items and loot, and half of what drives any of us through an RPG is that desire to push that character up one more level, or gain that awesome new piece of armour.
While swords and levels and armour aren't a part of Saints Row, what the game does have in common with RPGs is a wonderful level of customization on your player character. Right from the moment you press start in the game, you'll be faced with the prospect of creating a brand new character. You'll be offered several templates to start with, but with hundreds of options and combinations available on the various sliders, you can edit your face and body structure and pretty much anything else you can imagine about your would-be gangster.
Once you're in the game, the actual gameplay is as un-RPGlike as you can imagine. The easiest comparison to be made with Saints Row is across to the Grand Theft Auto series, which is yet to enter the next generation. You're running, driving and shooting your way across the fictional US city of Stillwater, taking down enemy gangs and avoiding cops.
While this isn't a review and more of a professional recommendation, it's worth saying that if you enjoy the Grand Theft Auto series, Saints Row is a fine "clone" of those games , and actually gives that particular series a run for its money, taking many ideas established in GTA: San Andreas and expanding them out into new, next-gen worthy areas.
When you want to get your role-playing on, the game is full of choices to make regarding your character and what to do. Being an entirely open-world game, you can choose to take on missions or leave them by the wayside for fun, mess-around gaming. You can head to a plastic surgeon and edit your characters' appearance, and best of all you can head to the stores and pick out your clothes.
For those who enjoy role playing an actual character, this is the perfect gameplay element. I dressed my character as more of a gangster than a thug, in a dark suit with sunglasses, a cool-cat who doesn't mind committing murder. Thanks to the game's immense customization also being available on the vehicles, I was also able to give myself an understated, sleek metallic black car with blacked out windows to match.
I love this stuff. That's why I've recommended it. Tattoos? No problem. Facial hair styles? Of course. All this stuff is available to the player in Saints Row. You can put together what us RPG fans would call a party - a group of "homies," non-player characters that will help you out with whatever you want to do. In addition to this, several different types of activities -- side quests outside of missions -- are available, including races and the hilarious insurance fraud mode where you are tasked with throwing yourself in front of cars in order to earn insurance money.
In short, the sheer amount of customization available to anyone playing Saints Row is massive and something that should definitely appeal to any fans of RPGs, a genre that is famous for inventories choc-full of items to use and wear.
Saints Row is just pure out-and-out fun. It's got a hilarious plot, funny, deliberately stereotypical characters, fun weapons and some great elements that will appeal to RPG fans. The fact you can walk into a store like a customer and then hold up the cashier with a gun and lead them back the safe is satisfying enough. But being able to do it in your own custom clothes getup, with your own custom getaway car?