Saints Row 2 Review

04 November 2008 | PC Review,ps3 review,Xbox 360 Review

Saints Row 2 is the sequel to the popular GTA clone, Saints Row by Volition. It picks up right where the first one left off, with your character waking up from a coma after an explosion ended the first game with a literal bang. New gamers shoudn’t worry because SR2’s story is entirely self-contained (all you need to know is that your gang, the Saints, has been eradicated and that you’re pissed about it). SR may have started as a GTA: San Andreas clone, but it is quite a different game than GTA4.

Gameplay: 9.5/10
Saints Row is just plain fun. It doesn’t take itself to seriously, and has some ridiculously over the top activities and side missions. I’m a big fan of how you are required to play some of these side missions in order to gain respect and progress in the main story. Bottom line is that SR2 has great Co-op, a fantastic variety of activities and mission and a much more open-structure mission progression than other “sandbox” games. The multiplayer is decent with “Strong Arm” (get the most cash by killing the other team or competing in activities) standing out as a fun mix of things from the single player game. Missions have a friendly checkpoint system which reduces frustration and the 3rd person shooting mechanic works well. My only critiques of the gameplay would be that the story is a bit cliche and predictable and the game is a little on the easy side.

Graphics: 8.5/10
Saints Row 2 may be more “fun” than GTA4 but it certainly isn’t prettier. While the character customization is fantastic, the overall graphics of SR2 are unimpressive and average. There is definitely draw-in and the occasional vanishing vehicle. This is all the more disappointing since the city of Stillwater is not that large. My guess is that in order to keep the online multiplayer running smoothly, sacrifices had to be made. Don’t get me wrong, Online Co-Op is great and having the whole city unlocked from Mission 1 on is fantastic, but it doesn’t erase the blemishes on the visuals.

Sound/Music: 9/10
The music selection is excellent. There’s a great amount of radio stations to choose from with a variety of music ranging from funk, hip-hop, rock, classical, and 80s. The radio “joke” advertisements aren’t nearly as well executed as GTA’s ads, but the voice acting is admirable. The voice acting is especially impressive when you take into account the ability to choose from 6 different “accents/voices” for your main character. All in all it’s a good “bang for your buck” audio package.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10
If you are an achievement whore, you’ll have plenty to do: complete all activities and missions (and then again cooperatively). The multiplayer co-op campaign is fantastic and there’s really no excuse for these open-world sandbox games not to offer this feature. Competitive multiplayer is Ok, but ultimately feels somewhat tacked on. SR multiplayer just cannot compete with more focused multiplayer games such as Gears of War or Halo.

Average: 87.50%
Tilt: +1.50%

The thing that you take away from Saints Row 2 is that it is just a blast to play. Think of it as the immature brother of GTA4, who’s the life of the party. Yes, the graphics aren’t as good and the production value isn’t as high, but SR2’s co-op and outlandish activities give you a plethora of things to do and enjoy. The checkpoint system keeps you from getting frustrated, and the shooting just feels right. The game is fun and open to enjoy from the minute you pop the disc in your system. Saints Row 2 has found it’s niche; It’s the fun over-the-top gang banging sandbox game. I mean let’s face it, nothing beats riding an ATV with a fire suit on and setting people on fire.

Verdict: 89%

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