Can Saints Row 2 challenge GTA IV?

Upcoming Saints Row 2 from THQ, which was recently delayed until October 14 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, is now making its way to the PC as well. This might come as a surprise to some, since the first game was exclusive for the consoles. Is it possible that THQ thinks that some gamers who are waiting for the PC version of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV will ease their cravings with this instead?

If you compare the original Saints Row with, let’s say Grand Theft Auto III, it’s obvious that most people will announce GTA 3 as the winner. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Saints Row is a bad game, the GTA series will always be what people compare other games of this kind with. Besides Saints Row, Vivendi’s Scarface: The World Is Yours and Eidos’ Just Cause were both trying to compete in some way with GTA, but they never really made it all the way. Has the “Grand Theft Auto TradeMark” become something that makes competition in this particular genre a waste of time?

When GTA 3 came, it revolutionized gaming as we knew it. That game and its followers have repeatedly set new standards regarding freedom of choice and movement. Just remember the hype not too long ago before GTA IV was released. To me, it seemed like some people saw GTA IV as something divine, a game that would take the step to perfection. Now that has settled. GTA IV recieved amazing reviews, but if you’ve tried it, you know that the distance between GTA 3 and GTA IV isn’t as wide as we all thought when we saw the first trailers.

What I’m trying to say is that GTA lives on its reputation. I think that if GTA had a meeting with Saints Row, it wouldn’t take too long before Saints Row recieved a wedgie. GTA is a badass and that’s what appealing.

To compete with GTA IV, Saints Row 2 needs to make some changes. First of all, a major part of most GTA games has been rivalry between gangs. The original Saints Row was all about that, so Saints Row 2 needs to focus less on gangs and make the story deeper and more intriguing. A good example is Illusion Softworks’ Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. The difference between Mafia and Saints Row is that the latter tries to be an alternative to GTA. Becoming a more successful alternative today is practically impossible and the only way for Saints Row 2 to challenge GTA IV is by not challenging it.

[See also: Saints Row 2 gallery]

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