Saints Row 2 Review

[Review originally posted at GameStooge.]

The original Saints Row was a delightful surprise in the summer of 2006, an open-world game that was very much a Grand Theft Auto III clone, right down to the gang theme and colors of San Andreas. However, what made it delightful was that it fixed most of the problems that plagued the GTA3 series: bad aiming, no GPS system, and other niggling issues. Most of all, it was goofy fun with a surprisingly effective storyline, buoyed by the excellent voice acting by such notable actors such as Keith David, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Michael Rappaport.

Volition, wisely as it turns out, waited until after the release of Grand Theft Auto IV to release its own sequel, and in doing so, supplied all of the things that GTA3 fun that GTA4 lacked, and this time went multiplatform, releasing for not only the Xbox 360, but the PlayStation 3 and the PC (the Saints Row version of each being dropped in favor of simply releasing the sequel.)

Saints Row 2 is about your character barely surviving the explosion at the end of the first game; as a device to explain why your character is different from the first game, you’re told you underwent plastic surgery to repair damages. Of course, the damages must have been really severe if you choose to be a woman, as that is now an option.

As before, you face off against four gangs, including the Ultor Security Company; the five factions you face off against will involve missions and strongholds. Most of them involve bang-bang gunplay, but the game does mix it up a bit. However, the meat-and-blood of the game remains in its activities; the original ones such as Mayhem and Escort return, but are joined by even wilder ones, such as Fuzz (you dress as a cop and do a little police brutality for TV ratings on a COPS clone), Septic Avenger (spray crowds with sewage. Why? Who cares?), Heli Assault (shoot people and things with a helicopter), and a strange game in which you’re set ablaze, put on a buggy, and go around setting people on fire and blowing up cars. Zombie Apocalypse is an in-game arcade game that is basically everything that was good about Dead Rising – kill waves of slow moving zombies with guns, objects and whatever – and without Otis. There are now also Diversions which harken back to GTA3, in which when you commandeer a taxi or an ambulance, you’re given the option to do missions with them for bucks.

The game is really funny, as well, even when it’s not being juvenile. One Fuzz mission had the dispatcher saying in a weary tone, “I can’t believe I’m saying this… but there’s a chainsaw massacre in progress. Please break it up.” (Sure enough, when you arrive, a dozen citizens are running around wildly wielding chainsaws. I don’t know which was funnier – the dispatcher or the riot.)

Multiplayer is cut back a little from the first game. Now, there’s just Gangsta Brawl (deathmatch) and an entertaining two team game in which two gangs try to take over neighborhoods by engaging in activities. The biggest online gameplay, however, comes from the drop-in, drop-out co-op mode, in which you can join someone else’s game and help them out. The mode is an absolute blast, and highly addictive. This mode makes the game leap from “very good” to “hella fun”, especially when you get to check out whatever freak your friend decided to go with. You can play through the entire single player campaign in co-op, and even start the game together in one. (The save game is separate from other saves if you’re joining.)

If you want an open-world game, and are frustrated by Grand Theft Auto IV, or even if you enjoyed GTA4, Saints Row 2 is a nice, non-serious change of pace that will constantly put a grin on your face. It’s whacked out, over-the-top, and, most important, reminds you that games should be fun.

Review score: 8.8/10

Review by: Jonah Falcon

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5 Responses

  1. NIce review Jonah, love the show by the way, I listen to it every week. I was a little shaky with wether I was gonna get this game or not, but now I know I’m gonna get it. I liked the aspect in SR1 where you could either do the main mission, the side missions, or whatever the hell you really wanted to. I’m just glad my guy didn’t die on the ship, I know I’m gonna like the multiplayer too. I can’t wait to get it. I’m glad Patrick told me to listen to this show, I’m one of his friends, and if Holly remembers the 6 hours she played with Patrick and Lethal Baoon on Halo 3 getting the vidmaster chalange achievement, I was one of the people that got kicked out of the party so Holly and her husband could join. I also played a little rock band 2 with Matt doing the impossible bass chalange. Lol, just thought I’d share. Keep on posting reviews and podcasts, I absolutly love them. Peace

  2. haha I do remember you Zandar. And ye we are trying to do as many podcasts/reviews as possible. Our next review will probably be Gears 2 which should be up soon. As for podcasts we are currently on hiatus so don’t expect another one for at least another week or two.

  3. NOOOOOOO….. I’m devestated

  4. ghkjhgkuyjg

  5. shame i completed it in 4 days then aint it

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