Battle of the GTA clones

Saints Row
THQ | Xbox 360

The setup: You're a random nobody who gets jumped into the Third Street Saints gang after their leader saves your life. In Saints Row, being asked to join a gang is apparently the equivalent of being summoned to Hogwarts to become an X-Man, and all sorts of cool adventures ensue as you set out to conquer the city of Stillwater from rival gangs.

The rides: A slick assortment of civilian and gang-themed street machines, which you can drag into a garage and customize to your liking.

The violence: Nicely varied, with characters that catch fire, get thrown like ragdolls from explosions and go down quick with a few well-placed shots from your guns. Your personal armory runs the gamut from pistols to submachineguns to RPGs, and a few of the cruder weapons - knives in particular - let you get close-up and gruesome with your victims.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.