No one would dare to argue that Saints Row isn't a bald-faced knockoff of the genre-defining Grand Theft Auto franchise. Still, it manages to improve on some of the source material's weak spots.
Saints Row's side missions are one area in which the game moves the urban-mayhem genre forward. Unlike the silly taxi, police, fire and EMT side missions of the GTA franchise, Saints Row's side missions actually make sense given the game's theme. You can engage in selling drugs, hiring out as a hit man and even dabbling in a bit of insurance fraud. While these activities will earn you the money to buy your character new clothes and new mods for your ever-growing collection of cars, they will also earn you the respect of your fellow gang members, which you'll need to progress through the game's storyline.
Occasionally the car I was driving disappeared for a few seconds. But though the game's not perfect, it's still a lot of fun.