Gangstar Rio: City of Saints Review: Freedom to Do as you Please
|App Name:||Gangstar Rio: City of Saints|
|Platforms:||Universal (Optimized for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)|
|Release Date:||November 10, 2011|
Could it be that the folks at Gameloft have finally got it right with Grand Theft Auto-styled role playing games?
That would appear to be so in the case of their latest release, Gangstar Rio: City of Saints.
In the 3rd edition of the Gangstar series, players are this time taken to the exotic location of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The story line is very simple: you will have the opportunity to go on your own crime spree as you exact revenge for the murder of your naggy, useless girlfriend and subsequent need for facial reconstructive surgery via a car bomb. Just your typical day in the neighborhood, really.
Other than that, the rest is really up to you as the user.
All throughout the experience, you can customize your character (look, clothes, etc.), choose (read: steal) different rides, and interact with a variety of objects and “people”.
So, what’s good about City of Saints?
Well, for starters, it impresses fairly well in terms of graphics for a sandbox game on the iPhone. On my iPhone 4, I was able to clearly see the hard work and sweat the developers put into this game, as there were all sorts of little surprises and nice touches to be found in the most inconspicuous of places. Very rarely did gameplay lag for me, and when it did, it was barely noticeable. This, though, might be more attributable to the power of the iPhone 4 more than anything; but needless to say, Gameloft has taken full advantage of the graphics capabilities at their disposal.
My favorite thing to do was explore the maps at my own leisure, as the missions themselves weren’t really all that attention-grabbing. The tasks set before you will mostly consist of run-of-the-mill objectives, mostly wherein you must evade police, kill a few people, and steal as much of whatever you can.
If you’re like me and you enjoy the freedom to do as you please and see how far you can push the envelope in games like this, you’ll find City of Saints to be a perfect opportunity to do just that. I had free reign to go anywhere the maps physically allowed and interact with the characters and scenery there in a wide range of ways. This is where the game really shines, as pretty much anyone who plays a sandbox game is looking for this kind of experience, to be able to see how far they can take certain things.
A nice touch is the “Respect Levels”, which enable you to earn “respect” (obviously) for various tasks completed, destruction doled out, and whatever other type of thuggery you can imagine. As you increase your level of respect, you can improve your character’s health, unlock new weapons, style yourself a little better with more clothing choices, and improve your character’s fighting, driving, and shooting abilities.
What’s not so good about City of Saints?
If you’re a fan of excellent writing and plot development, you’re going to be severely disappointed. I rarely found a moment of dialogue that was half-way believable, as the voice actors were clearly phoning it in. Gameloft obviously didn’t think of it as a priority to invest in quality voice acting, seeing as how none of the accents have any flow or sense about them. If it weren’t for the subtitles on display, I would rarely have known what the heck anyone was saying. Although, that could probably be largely on account of my hearing disability, but I digress.
While it goes without saying that GTA-styled games like this come with their obligatory amount of crass and vulgarity, this game easily earns its 12+ rating. Nudity, random acts of extreme violence, and seemingly pointless, copious amounts of cussing can be found at nearly every turn of the wheel. If you’re someone who can handle that sort of thing, then this won’t bother you. But I doubt many mothers would approve of such an app on their teenager’s iPhone if they were aware of what was on the screen.
All in all, I’d say that Gangstar Rio: City of Saints is a moderately entertaining sandbox game that makes the most use of its massive download size, clocking in at a heavy 818 MB. It’ll keep you busy and entertained for quite awhile, as long as the terrible voice acting doesn’t melt your ability to stay tuned in.
If this seems like a game for you, it’ll set you back $6.99 in the app store.
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