January 03, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

A new game for ”Grand Theft Auto” fans

Saints Row
(THQ; Xbox 360, Mature)
Waiting for a next-generation version of Grand Theft Auto? Psssssst, here’s a secret: You can actually play it right now. Saints Row is a third-person open-world action game, specifically designed for the Xbox 360, that liberally borrows — okay, flat out copies — GTA‘s wildly successful driving-and-shooting-in-a-big-city-environment formula.

As a member of the Third Street Saints, you and your homies slowly take control of the city of Stillwater by battling cops and three rival gangs. Everything good about Grand Theft Auto is here, and there are even some enhancements, like better targeting, a strong multiplayer mode, and, best of all, a navigation system that won’t have you driving like a clueless tourist.

Yes, the game’s thin plot — kill pimp, return girls to brothel, repeat — and cliché-ridden dialogue will leave you yearning for GTA‘s seemingly more credible depiction of life (and death) on the streets. But there’s certainly more than enough here for us to wish that these Saints keep marching on…

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