My Initial Reaction to Saints Row 1: I thought I was gonna hate Saints Row, because it honestly just looked like a clone of Grand Theft Auto. And I really don’t like GTA. Like, the last time I played a GTA game, I had to steal a car, break into a bank, and then getaway while the cops were gunning after me. And I remember thinking “I’m pretty sure it would be easier to do this in real life”. Like, Rockstar games just have such shitty controls, and the writing is pretty gross too.
My Reaction to Saints Row 1 After Playing It: Holy shit this is clever and really fun. This game has an great sense of humor and all the gameplay is just so fun and well programmed. I love all the challenges and activities! And holy shit, the ending. [SPOILER ALERT] Like, I’ve played games where you’re an anti-hero, but I’ve never played a game that made me realize I was the antagonist. And the way it was done was so subtle and… I was blown away. Amazing twist. And ballsy to kill you off at the end. Damn.
My Initial Reaction to Saints Row 2: The very existence of a sequel ruins everything that was great about the first! The awesome ending is meaningless if the character survives! This is an outrage!
My Reaction to Saints Row 2 After Playing It: Holy shit, they took almost everything that was great about the first game and made it better. They’re pushing the satire angle harder, and it is amazing. Not to mention, props to the developers for giving you the option to play as a woman. Like, so many video games have BS excuses for not giving you the choice. But even though Saints Row has one of the most valid of reasons (your character was a man in the first game) it was just like fuck it and lets you do what you want anyway. Like, even if you were a Latino man in the first game, you can come back as an Asian woman and your homies are just like “Did you get a haircut, boss?” It’s amazing. Another thing that’s great about SR2 is you start to really care about the characters. You develop relationships with them and it actually tugs your heartstrings when you lose some of them. Like, this game is hilarious but also still has drama.
My Initial Reaction to Saints Row 3: The Boss just looks like a clown now, they’ve abandoned all pretense of seriousness! And there isn’t any dramatic tension in starting out a game with so much power. What even is the point?
My Reaction to Saints Row 3 After Playing It: Holy crap, this game kicks ass from the get-go. Has possibly the most exciting prologue of any video game I’ve ever played. The game play continues to improve, and there are just so many things to do. The game is no longer even pretending to be a GTA clone, and that’s…. amazing. It’s a genre unto itself. Also, this is when the customization gets really good. And even though you start off with a lot of power and abilities, you still feel like the game is rewarding you for progressing. It’s just really empowering and fun.
My Initial Reaction to Saints Row 4: This is going too far. We’re not even on Earth anymore! Why does the boss spend so much time naked in the trailer? What even is this?
My Reaction to Saints Row 4 After Playing It: Okay, it’s good to be reminded that nudity can be hilarious. Also, a prologue that stands up to SR3′s amazing prologue. Also, superpowers are amazing. Also, the stakes have never been higher. Like, this is the game that made me realize Saints Row is a saga. Also, I love getting kiss-y with my homies. And reminiscing on our journeys together. There’s actually a lot of character development that gets explored. This game gets pretty weird, but if you’ve come this far with Saints Row, you have to love it.