Why Saints Row Is Better Than GTA

Looking back at the turn of a console generation.

THQ / Rockstar

Since Saints Row first launched on the Xbox 360 back in 2006, Volition’s open-world crime sandbox has rightly drawn comparisons to Grand Theft Auto, which has continuously set the bar for open-world games since 2001’s GTA III.

This comparison is easy to see. When looking at the first Saints Row, both franchises see players set loose on a crime-infested, satirical American city where they can wreak untold havoc on the streets as they rise through the criminal underworld. They can hijack exotic cars and race them across town at high speed, embark on over-the-top murder sprees with an arsenal of explosive weaponry, and indulge in sexual depravity during breaks between story missions.

Saints Row 1

However, as the Saints Row series continued to evolve, it stepped further and further away from being the enjoyable - but ultimately unremarkable - GTA clone that some players and critics claimed it to be. Leaning more into a wacky personality, it didn’t take long for the series to gain its own distinctive identity with each subsequent instalment, earning its own dedicated fanbase along the way.

Although this series would never hit the technical or commercial heights as GTA, this plucky underdog managed to excel in key areas where GTA fails, which consequently made it a far more satisfying gaming experience.



Glasgow-based cinephile who earned a Master's degree in film studies to spend their time writing about cinema, video games, and horror.