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Okay, Stop Comparing Saints Row And Grand Theft Auto

I know, I know. We all do it. I've been guilty of making the comparison many times in the past, but it's mostly because everyone else has to mention GTA when Saints Row is involved in the conversation.

And while I did feel that the original Saints Row was a poor man's Grand Theft Auto, the franchises have really shifted gears and become quite distinct since then. Rockstar went grittier and less cartoon-y with GTAIV, and Volition amped up the totally unrealistic insanity in Saints Row 2. The next step? Yeah, make Saints Row: The Third even more off-the-wall. It pokes fun at itself; it's like one giant parody of - dare I say it - GTA.

Although both games utilize a sandbox setting, and both involve crime and mayhem, the atmosphere and gameplay style is different. There's no chance that the third Saints Row will play anything like GTAIV, and there are many fans of both franchises who can go on and on about how comparing the two franchises is completely unfair. I suppose one could make the argument that we have the option of playing GTA the same way we play Saints Row; i.e., crazy, nonstop, all-civilians-involved chaos.

But in truth, despite these games occupying the same genre, the experiences for the gamer hinge on environmental appeal, style, and gameplay pace. Personally, I'm not going into Saints Row: The Third expecting it to play like any GTA. However, Rockstar may have returned to its roots with GTAV, but you never know...tough to tell with just that debut trailer to go on. And if GTAV really is more like past titles such as San Andreas, then I will say the SR vs. GTA comparison makes more sense.

Tags: gta, grand theft auto, saints row, volition, rockstar

11/3/2011 9:03:45 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (41 posts)

Deleted User []
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 9:49:46 PM
Reply

One thing that puzzles me:

Mark Bussler, the guy at Classic Gaming Room HD, has never reviewed a Saints Row game despite his proclivity for playing GTA and LA Noire with reckless abandon. You would think Saints Row would be his kind of game since there's no penalty for being lawless and crazy.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 9:52:42 PM
Reply

I don't really like comparing any games to others in the same genre. Each developer puts their own spin on things making the games different from each other so comparing them is like comparing 2 like artists, it's pointless. I like this article but just down the page a little you have one talking about the comparison of Uncharted 3 and Gears of war 3 which to me is far worse of a comparison than this is. The one I want to see stop(which is just a whisper anymore) is the people that compare the Yakuza series to GTAs. There is no real similarity to the 2 at all but yet people on the internet still like to compare them.

I've often used comparisons when trying to tell a friend about certain games but I always make sure to explain it's just similarities not the same game.

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Underdog15
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 9:23:54 AM

Certainly!

Comparisons do have their place, though. I agree that games should not be compared as entire productions as they have been. I do think, however, that it's almost necessary to compare certain aspects. Especially when it comes to reviews. If I have never played a reviewed game, comparisons to titles I have played can help me determine if it's a game I would enjoy.

I think you agree with that probably. And when it comes to comparing 2 different games as if they were the same... yeah... it never really works, does it.

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Rogueagent01
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 8:24:56 PM

As soon as I got off of here and turned my TV on what did I see but a Saints Row commercial. At the end of the commercial they actually said something like "More GTA than GTA". LOL

Seriously we have this article and then I see that all I could think was WOW!

@Underdog

I absolutely agree. To me as long as the reviewer or whatever clarifies that these are the similarities rather than just comparing the games I would never have an issue. Unfortunately many writers out there will just simply compare 2 games rather than pointing out the differences between the games or even making a point of showing why there not to be compared overall.

The one issue I always had with the comparison of GTA to the Yakuza series was that Shenmue was a more proper comparison and yet that didn't come up nearly as much as the GTA comparison. And because they compared it to GTA many of the people who bought the games that were avid GTA fans ridiculed the series unfairly.

Last edited by Rogueagent01 on 11/4/2011 8:25:53 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 10:43:14 PM
Reply

I think it's sad there are only two franchises doing this type of thing. I think the comparison is apt when speaking about what gamers want out of a game of this style though.

Yeah they won't play the same, SR is super simplified and endlessly customizable, you can get away with a lot more mayhem and have more fruitful rampages where in GTA most things are fixed, you pay for mayhem a lot quicker and go down faster at the hands of the po-po.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 7:52:30 AM

In my opinion it is not only two franchises that's doing this thing. It's just that GTA and SA are doing it so enormously much *better* than all the rest!
There's such a gap between those two and the rest, it makes it look like there are only them.

There's been quite a few gangs/mobster themed and drug cartel themed, even super hero themed games over the years that makes an attempt at the sandbox formula. They all just have failed.
Apparently sandbox games are one of the hardest type games there is to make...!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 9:26:46 AM

There may be other sandbox games but they have a more narrow focus imo.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:30:59 AM

yeah, or a more narrow scope of the sandbox. Still, I've felt that is more out of necessity than choice.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/4/2011 10:31:16 AM

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PSTan
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 10:54:29 PM
Reply

I guess people compare them all the time because they have very similar structures, with major differences in the variety of gameplay that each game has.

No matter what, I think games that are associated with a particular genre or gameplay style will always be compared, even if each game tries as hard as possible to distance itself from the competition.

Let's face it, Uncharted will always be compared to Gears, Battlefield to COD, DMC to God of War, and Saints Row to GTA.

And honestly, comparisons may not always be a bad thing. It promotes competition among competing ideas to try and outdo each other by perfecting what each game holds unique to itself.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 11:00:22 PM

but we all know DMC should not be compared to GOW

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Dancemachine55
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 11:18:30 PM
Reply

With a big enough gap between both games now, I'm gonna be getting both.

Saints Row The Third during the lull early next year, and GTA V on release, I'm guessing around May or October.

And really, both games are very similar in structure and gameplay, but just very different in style and atmosphere. Little wonder why both are compared with each other. Both are sandbox crime sims, it's just that one is sillier than the other.

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ZenChichiri
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 11:37:47 PM
Reply

Ben VS Game Comparisons. Who will win? It's tough to say, people love comparing games. I don't mind listening to people compare, it's just when the games are so unrelated that bothers me.

I don't really see this on the internet much, but I've talked to people that start comparing Mario to COD. It blows my mind that people can do this. You need to keep it within the same genre at least, such as:

"Uninvited" and "Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom"

Classics!

Like I said, comparing within the same genre is alright for me, even if the games have different styles. That's what is being compared, how the different styles mesh with the given genre. Does it make it more fun? Is it more emotional? Is there more skill involved? Is it prettier?

Keep in mind that when I think of comparing something it's obvious there is going to be some subjectivity involved, as with all mediums of entertainment. The thing about comparisons we need to stay away from is bluntly stating as fact which one is better than the other. Different kinds of people will like different kinds of games. You have to word it more like "I prefer this kind of thing to that kind of thing" not like "This is better than that. DEAL WITH IT SCOURGE OF THE INTERNET!" This all comes full circle to that age old question of whether or not the reviewing system is universally accurate for all types of games.

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Excelsior1
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 3:29:55 AM

game comparisons will win every single time. it's just how people are wired. smart gamers know these comparisons are only superficial at best though.

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godsdream
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 11:40:46 PM
Reply

Saints Row 3: don't care
GTAV: 1st day buy

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 8:19:14 AM

... Another proof that they are two different games. :)

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Underdog15
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 9:27:32 AM

lol, indeed Beamboom!

For me, though, I'll pass on both. Never cared for GTA. Not because I think it's bad, because I don't. It's just not something I enjoy.

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dkmrules
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 11:03:54 AM

Not if it's as boring as gta4

Last edited by dkmrules on 11/4/2011 11:04:02 AM

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Spineshank
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 1:40:27 AM
Reply

I will be playing both games but SR3 looks like GTA San Andreas with every cheat activated, it was a tonne of fun at first, but became boring very quickly.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 7:55:18 AM

That is wrong, it's not a cheatmaxed SA. You will discover so when you start playing it. Good times ahead! :)

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BikerSaint
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 2:09:26 AM
Reply

Although I prefer the GRITTYness of GTA over the inZANYness of Saint's Row, I'll be getting both for their overall vast differences in total FUNality.

Certainly a big win for both!

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Underdog15
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 9:28:18 AM

Plus, YOU MUZT COLLECZT!

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BikerSaint
Saturday, November 05, 2011 @ 9:58:17 AM

Underdog15,
LOL, true that!

But theze 2 I really WANTZ, & just not needz too.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 11/5/2011 9:59:25 AM

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Gabriel013
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 2:25:07 AM
Reply

Rather than competing I can see why they would each deviate off, one towards the wacky, and the other towards realism. This provides a product for different gamer requirements.

If GTA and SR both danced to the same tune then one would possibly die off as the 'clone'

Personally I think I'll prefer SR this time round but good there is the alternative available for me to enjoy should I want to.

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___________
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 5:04:58 AM
Reply

2 TOTALLY different games!
ones more character story driven with a big emphasis on location and more realistic weapons and gameplay.
and the other says to hell with story, characters, locations and realism they just want to do whats fun!
though i hope GTAV will bring back some of that crazy zaniness of the series back, but never to the point of saints row.
just does not suit.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 7:57:28 AM

This is probably the by far most precise and correct post you've written so far in the history of PSXE, mr Underline. You should be rewarded for that. One free Home PSXE t-shirt for you, buddy! :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/4/2011 7:58:27 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 6:25:45 AM
Reply

When you set up a gaming franchise that imitates another a comparison is inevitable. While of course GTA used to be known for its cartoonish artstyle Saints Row to me is just an over the top gimmick version of GTA, its still an open world sandbox game in the style of GTA with mission and all sorts, so I think it is fair to compair it to GTA.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 8:17:27 AM
Reply

Wow, Ben, this is better than I ever dared hope for from you. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/4/2011 8:18:29 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 9:35:43 AM

I think I remember something similar to this a long time ago. Although I can't remember if it was Ben or not... It was like a stop comparing Forza to Gran Turismo or FF to rpg's or something like that. I can't remember what exactly, lol. But I remember it being done.

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:38:05 AM

Yeah, and I've screamed in frustration over this so many times earlier, begging for just *one* article covering SR where GTA is not mentioned. And wouldn't you know - that did happen once, a while ago. And now THIS, well this I had never dared hope for. :)

Saints Row FTW, baby! Yeeehaw!


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/4/2011 10:40:17 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:32:34 AM
Reply

Okay, I got Saints Row: The Third today, so I'll start playing that...if I can just tear myself away from Skyrim. ;)

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:39:00 AM

Omg *drool*

Hey, need a coop buddy on that game? I'm free all weekend! Yeah! All I need is a spare review copy :)

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:46:10 AM

... Wait a second: That means Skyrim is not like Oblivion then? You gotta be kidding me. Oh man, the load of AAA games this autumn is... Unrivalled? Ever?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:46:10 AM

I've gotten two review copies before. Not often, though, and not this time. ;)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 10:47:41 AM

I don't remember Oblivion well enough to say for sure. I'm sure both games are plenty similar and play similarly, but there are multiple reasons - and very distinct - reasons why I adore Skyrim.

Those reasons are exactly the answers to the questions I had when I did the article, "Tell Me Why I Should Play Skyrim." I said I couldn't figure out why I didn't like Morrowind and Oblivion, but now I think I've figured it out.

I'll explain later next week.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/4/2011 10:48:11 AM

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Beamboom
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 11:39:29 AM

Aha! It's the way you have to play! To roleplay your character, to give it the personality, history that's not dictated by the devs of the game? And that the world this time doesn't feel as empty as Oblivion maybe? More like Fallout, with loads of little stories to be found everywhere, stuff to explore? And fantastic locations and sightings?
Is there even romances to be found there? Is there? Oh yay!

I know you can't tell yet, just speculating out loud here. ;)

I *really* forward to read that review. Oh, and the SR review of course. Even though that title doesn't really need any reviews for me to get it. But treat my baby gentle, will ya. ;)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/4/2011 11:46:23 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 12:21:13 PM

All I can say right now without getting in trouble for breaking embargo, is that it seems that Skyrim has CHARACTER. It's a word I'll use in the review. ;)

As for Saints Row, I've never been a big fan but I look forward to cutting loose.

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slugga_status
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 12:53:25 PM
Reply

I haven't played Saints Row myself but I've watched my friend play it a million times..I can see why people like it but it's just not my cup of tea. GTA IV was awesome and I liked every second of it..I don't really think you can compare them anyway as they're two different games completely. Just like you can't compare Gears and Uncharted.

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mhteg
Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 4:53:20 PM
Reply

The new GTA V trailer has a lot of hidden messages in it. If you want to watch the trailer and see the hidden messages, go to this site.

http://gta5news.blogspot.com/

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Buckeyestar
Saturday, November 05, 2011 @ 10:25:28 PM
Reply

I find it highly ironic you would write this editorial, considering that you referenced GTA more than 15 times in your SR2 review. You spent the entire review comparing them.

Last edited by Buckeyestar on 11/5/2011 10:26:43 PM

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