I have had my XBOX 360 for exactly two weeks. That's 336 hours. For 44 of those hours, I have been playing Saint's Row. That's 13% of my time, almost 20% of my waking hours. It's over 3 hours per day. Looking at these numbers now, even I think I have no life. It's very strange that I have become so attached to Saint's Row, since it is the most obvious GTA clone ever, and normally I would be repulsed by that fact. Even so, after I played the first couple missions, I was hooked. Here are the main reasons that Saint's Row has consumed me so:
1. The main character (almost) never speaks. This was my favorite thing about GTA 3, and the reason why I could never get into Vice City or San Andreas. In a game like this, it's much easier for me to become immersed when the main character doesn't speak for himself, so I can sort of develop my own dialogue in my head. If that makes me crazy, so be it. It also make these games crazy awesome.
2. This may be the funniest game I've ever played. The four lines your character has in the game are all hilarious. The things pedestrians say when you hit them are hilarious. The ragdoll animations as people fly ever your hood are hilarious. But most of all, the radio commercials are hilarious. Freckle Bitch's has officially replaced Wendy's in my vocabulary.
3. Customization. The isn't a car in may garage that doesn't have iridescent paint, or hydraulics, or a huge-ass spoiler, or SPINNERS!!! I can have a mustache and a soul patch, or mutton chops, or ALL THREE! I can dress in an all black suit with a fedora, or in my purple pimp's clothes. I can have a mullet, or corn rows, or any one of dozens of absolutely ridiculous hairstyles.
4. The reticle makes it a much better action game that GTA ever was. You will never lock-on to the wrong guy, because there is no lock-on. It plays like a typical third-person shooter, and this makes the on-foot missions a lot more fun to play the the GTA on-foot mission ever were.
I don't want to say that Saint's Row is better than GTA, but I will say that it is very close. Closer than I ever expected.