Best Saints Row Games Ranked

Best Saints Row Games
Image Source: NME

In this article, we rank the best Saints Row games to date. So, this series has gone through several big makeovers over the years. People would often call it a Grand Theft Auto knockoff, but it became a franchise all of its own. It features cartoonish violence and limitless chaos, death and destruction. A full reboot is slated for a release later this year. The advertisements indicate that it will head in another interesting diverse direction. 

Which game is the best of the franchise? Look below and see my ranking of the Saints Row games so far. I’m only inducing the games that are canon to the main Saints Row series. Heavy spoilers are included below.

Best Saints Row Games

4. Saints Row 4 

Saints Row 4 was released back in 2013. Out of all four games this had the most drastic change in its direction. This took the franchise from gangsters making it big to fighting an alien who likes Shakespeare. Did I also mention you play as the former president of the United States? The story is that the alien warlord Zinyak has destroyed the earth, capturing several people in the process. You and your crew must escape and navigate his matrix-like simulation to defeat him. This one went all-in on the more absurd moments and it suffered for it. It ended up alienating a lot of people who came here for the ‘gangsters’ element of the story.

In terms of gameplay mechanics, this game added something that none of the others had. Since it takes place in a Matrix-like simulation it gives you the ability to use superpowers. Superspeed, lighting blasts and a plethora of other powers. Often in games, these mechanics can be hit or miss but this game found the balance. It set out to make the player feel like a superhero and that’s exactly what it does.


The powers did have one major drawback in that it makes certain gameplay elements obsolete. An example would be the speedster skill. Once the speedster skill is high enough there’s literally no point driving. Driving cars and wrecking them is a staple of the franchise and the power makes them feel tedious to drive when sprinting gets you there a lot faster.

Overall, I personally enjoy this game, but I recognize it has some major flaws. It’s not a bad game by any means, as it is a fun hell of a ride. I’d fully recommend it to anyone who just wants rainbow-coloured chaos with a good helping of blowing stuff up. I’d just not recommend it to diehard fans of the original trilogy. Or those without a sense of crude humour. 

3. Saints Row 

This was the first game released back in 2006. The story begins with your character. They find themselves in the crossfire of a gang shootout. You get saved and become a member, doing several missions to raise your respect. You do various missions for them and take over the city. Andayhem ensues. The story is simple enough but I think that works in its favour. It sets up the trend of having three gangs to fight as well as the police. All the characters are colourful in one way or another. All of them are terrible people in the best way possible.

It’s a relatively short game. The game’s story mode could easily be finished in a day if you really grinded at it. Most of the missions involve blowing up cars, rapid-fire gunfights or just driving around the city. They’re not as crazy as the other games but there’s still a lot of entertainment value to be found in causing as much carnage as you want.


The downsides were mostly to do with the game itself. It has some typical mid-2000’s game problems. Buggy loading, disappearing vehicles and the controls could be janky at the best of times. Another issue was the respect mechanic. In order to advance the missions, you’d need to earn respect. The idea sounds good on paper but in reality, it comes off as grindy and annoying.

If they put the level of effort into remastering it that they did in the 3rd game they’d have a best-seller on their hands. Even though the game does have some technical issues it’s still an easily replayable game with a good map, fun missions and witty dialogue.

2. Saints Row The 3rd 

Saints Row The 3rd was the first major deviation into the sillier elements of the games.  It cranked up the mayhem and lewdness up to 11. Saints Row still had the reputation of being a GTA clone however this is the game that solidified it as its own separate entity. The story starts with the 3rd Street Saints as media celebrities who have sold out entirely. After capturing the attention of a criminal organization called the Syndicate, you start out in a new city. You have to build your gang again from scratch. There are new allies, new enemies and new challenges. Before I talk about the good stuff, which is a lot, I want to talk about the two big problems which keep it from ranking #1.  

The first was with the open-world map. This one lacked variety as most of it takes place in a single cityscape. It was sufficient as an open-world map but it was absolutely a downgrade from the previous two.  The second problem was the customization. There was an emphasis on making the characters look goofy which kept with the game but they should have kept with the previous system they had. The previous system they used was far superior.


Now onto the good stuff! I can’t think of a single boring story mission it had. The zany nature of them play really well here and I wished there were a lot more of them. I can’t emphasise enough how insane some of the missions are. They range from stopping a hoard of zombies to driving a tiger around in a convertible to raise your confidence. The activities are pretty similar to the previous games but they’re still very fun to play.

The controls handle well. Whether you’re shooting a gun or flying the VTOL (The best aircraft in the game) it all feels smooth and I noticed very few problems with it during my playthrough of the game. I’d say out of all of them this has the most rewarding ‘blowing stuff up’ element to the gameplay. The respect levelling up system feels rewarding to the player. On the whole, Saints Row, the 3rd is an amazing mix of absurdity and ‘I’ll do what I want’ game mechanics. It is a game I’ve grown up with and I will be returning to it several times in the future.

1. Saints Row 2 

This one is a gaming classic for a reason. Every element of the game works in creating an unforgettable experience. This game easily has the strongest story out of all of them. The dialogue and plot balance the comedic and serious moments perfectly. Each gang has a personal link to one of your homies, so it draws you into it. The story is satisfying in all of its elements. I won’t spoil the player’s actions but let’s just say that they are downright psychopathic in the most enjoyable way. For every emotional moment, there’s a glorious payback waiting around the corner.


Where do I even begin with this map? Modern games could learn a thing or two from this games map design. The world has so much to offer. The design of the world and the graphics are still pretty solid despite being almost 15 years old.  The map is the same one as in the first game but they manage to add so much that makes it worth exploring. Stillwater included so many different types of areas. There’s the trailer park, the university district, the suburbs, shopping malls and even a cave to explore. It makes use of all the spaces that it has. Exploring the areas is a huge part of the game and makes it worth playing.

The game is good in that it has far fewer bugs than the original. Any problems it had I’d considered minor. Sometimes the player character can get stuck in objects but it only happened once or twice during my playthrough. If that’s the biggest problem I had it did something right. Overall, Saints Row 2 stands out from the crowd of GTA clones. And it carves itself out in gaming history as one of the true classics.  If you haven’t already checked out Saints Row 2 give it a play and enjoy the ride.

So, that completes our rankings of the best Saints Row games! But what do you think of Saints Row? Leave a comment down below letting me know your thoughts!

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