This game owns. I get to be a pretty girl beating people up with a big purple dildo while driving around listening to “Return of the Mack.”
But all that aside, there was something that really wowed me. The first “real” mission of the game (confession: I goofed around in the world for hours before actually sitting down and going through the story) involves your character and Pierce (a Third Street Saints Lieutenant) driving to a clothing store. They make small talk along the way, going over previous plot events. Then, out of nowhere, Pierce changes the radio station, and the two of you begin singing along to Sublime’s “What I Got.” Neither of you can sing, or actually remember the lyrics, and are too busy giggling and making fun of each other to care. It is a stunningly “real” moment in this ridiculously over-the-top action game with guns and a Luchadore street gang.
A lot of games in this hardware generation make this promise of emotional fulfillment that they never fill. Stuff like Bioshock, or Grand Theft Auto, try to “humanize” their characters, and make them more relatable to us. These attempts usually fail because they either end up getting shoehorned into an existing game mechanic, or, no matter how good the acting may be, it still feels forced; just some guys reading off of a script. With this scene in Saints Row, though, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels very real. Like, just two friends goofing off while a microphone happened to be nearby. Now, this is obviously not the case. Nine voice actors were involved in this scene: Pierce, and the eight voices your character can have. Credit is due to them and their director for being able to pull that scene off as well as they did.
But I would still like to see more things like this in games. People just being human beings, and not “video game characters.” Even if it’s only for a minute, like in Saints Row. Which fucking owns, by the way.