Saints Row 2 Review
Made by: THQ
Genre: Sand box crime game (aka murder simulator...aka a coruption of America's youth...aka something Jack Thompson secretly enjoys)
Rated: For adults (Thats 18+....Just because you got pregnant at 13, dosen't mean you are an adult)
Sequel is a word most games have a major problem with.
Some sequels do the same thing as last time, without exploring new possibilites, some sequels do everything different making you miss the older ideas. Or some sequels are just plain shit. That sums up about 85% of the entire gaming industry.
So...where does Saints Row fit into that one sided biast asumption?
Saints Row was a welcome breath of fresh air, allowing you to murder thousands of stupid hip hop speaking dipshits, dressed like Snoop Dogg fans. While taking complete control of a large city. Using a variety of adult humour, meaningless yet hilarious violence made it a Sandbox crime game that proudly stood on a table, dropped it's trousers, and told Grand Theft Auto to "Suck it and make it quick!!!"
Now I am fully aware that every other reviewer and their mom has compared the new instalment Saints Row 2 to that beamoth of bullshit (GTA4) due to it being a "bad graphiced version of GTA!!"
Thankfully I don't have to take that road for Saints Row 2 is a better game, hands down. Feet on the floor and your arse in the air.
I tend to feel this game is a lesson on how to do a Sequel right.
With Saints Row's rather shocking ending, you knew a sequel would come sooner or later. The conclusion I am refering to is, Your custom character was on a boat that exploded in the harbour of Stillwater.
Your character awakens 5 years later in a prisons hospital either male...
... or female.
The transexual justifacation is you were left scared by the explosion, and needed to be a victim of plastic surgery. While I'm all for playing as a Female character in a Sand Box game. Making it a nice welcome change for once, I still can't help but get the feeling that your playing as a she-man considering the character's gender of the first game.
The city of Stillwater has changed during the 5 years of your burned coma induced state. A Big corperation called Ultor has stepped in and redesigned the city. Ultor in themselves are run by this smug trouser stain called Dane Vogal. Who will do anything to see himself in control of YOUR city. Also three new gangs have appeared. The Sons of Samedi, who are drug dealers led by a man called "The General" and "Mr.Sunshine" (The earth says hello?) You got The Ronnin to add the Japanese/Chinese/Asian sterotype missing from the previous game, and the Brotherhood. Led by the guy who played Wulf in Star Trek the next generation (I be pimpin my kilingons n****a!!).
You learn along the way, the people you thought were your friends have betrayed you, so you and Johnny Gat ressurect the 3rd Street Saints to reclaim Stillwater with you in charge. Your new lackies consist of Pierce, a guy who reminds me of Ray from Scary Movie. Shaundi, a hot stoner voiced by Faith from Buffy. And Carlos, don't get attached to him, he dies (OMG SPOILER)
Saints Row at times feels like a standard crime box game with elements from Jet Set Radio.
I'm probably going to be the only reviewer to say this, but let me explain.
Like JSR, you have to elimanate rival gangs to increase your territory using any means nessacery, and there is even a Graffiti mini game. Once you complete a mission, the after effects of your actions are showcased by your rival gangs. Once a mission is over, you are rewarded with Money, respect points and a newspaper article of your victory (A 300 joke even snuck in here). The cut scenes in this game really flesh out the characters more than the first game did. I know Gametrailers beg to differ, but I tend to regard their reviews as about as trust worthy as shagging a rhino with a sore head.
One of the weird things I find is, your now in charge of the 3rd Street Saints. Which I was kind of glad of, meaning I could take a break and boss people about for a change. Yet your the one who goes out and does all the bloody work. Guess being in charge isn't all it's crack up to be. But then again, a game where you sat around the house, watching TV all day would be dull.
One of Saints Row's best selling points is, you could play as yourself. Rather than a character created for you.
Unlike the original Saints Row, where your character had one line of diolouge for each story arc. He or she never shuts up in SR2 for the character customisation includes voice acting for both genders.
Because there is nothing funnier than telling someone to Fuck Off, while flipping the bird....and hearing a cockney accent.
One interesting thing to note is, the game does alter diolouge for either gender. So you don't hear the same lines twice when you start up a new game. I noticed with Megaman ZX, it reused the same text for either gender which made it's presentation poor. But the only complaint is all the cutscenes in SR2 are identical. Meaning the female character is either a bisexual or a lesbian.
The other characters voices are perfect. Very few video games nail this aspect but SR has some damm fine voice acting.
The amount of customisable options at the begining is really impressive, I decided to create a male character based on myself for the first play through, and I created a female one for the second play through. Once you begin your criminal campaign, you can visit various stores to improve your look. Such as trousers, shirts hats and even Borrat inspired swimming costumes. The level of customisation is some of the best in any game I've played.
One aspect that was annoying in Saint Row, was you needed "Respect" in order to unlock a new portion of the story arc. Thankfully SR2 has found newer, and more fun ways of gaining respect. Flipping of cops, killing rival gangs and even driving into on coming traffic will make your easily led followers love and respect you.
The music stations in the game have more depth than the hard rock and hip hop of SR1. Reggae, classical and even 80's anthems have been added...shame Rick Roll isn't in there.
If you have played any Sandbox Crime game before, you won't be surprised by anything here....except for the level of insanity the mini games have. Okay,I was trying to avoid it, but here is a quick little mention of GTA4.
If someone gave you the choice of either
A) A Bowling mini game
B) A Mini game in which you drive a septic truck, spraying houses in shit?
Which would be your first choice?
The level of originality the Mini games have make them a much supieor addition than the ones showcased in SR1. Old mini games such as drug dealing, pimpin, driving whores around are still there, but inclusions of Police Brutality, Streaking, Fight Clubs, Helicopter carnage and even a Zombie mini game are funny to watch and very addictive to play.
The game play is pretty much the same as the original Saints Row. You have 2 circle sub menus for health and weaponry. A phone to call in homies or activate cheats. And the ability to command a team of 3 of your hip hop henchmen to provide back up for some missions.
Like Vice City, you are able to buy property around Stillwater to increase your cash flow. Which can be spend on yourself, weapons, food, drugs, vehicles or set up cribs around the city, to provide you with places to save your game, change weaponry and REPLAY missions.
Another reason I prefer Saints Row over GTA is. You can redo old missions and strongholds. Instead of starting up a new save file. During driving from place to place. You can set a way pointer so you don't get lost. And even use a Cruise control to make things easier.
Saints Row 2 is one of the few sequals I actually like. It's funny, adictive, well set up and will provide more replay value than GTA4 can. While the female option is a welcome breath of fresh air, I feel the cutscenes could have been alterd to fit both genders. Regardless of that, If you enjoy a good round of senseless violence, adult humour or fancy playing as your own grown psychopath. Then this is the game for you.
... Hell, even I like it. Thats a fucking miracle.