Saints Row 2

Saints Row 2 Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PC

Sequel to 2006's GTA-style action game which promises true open-world online multiplayer

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8Out of 10
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Saints Row 2 is crude but great fun
Saints Row 2 is crude but great fun

Saints Row 2 is crude but great fun

We really hope Volition and THQ are fully aware of the game they've created. Saints Row 2 is a game that excels at being bad. Whereas Rockstar's GTA 4 did its very best to be the most accomplished, cinematic video game of all time, Saints Row 2 often goes in completely the other direction. You could play Saints Row 2 straight down the line, po-faced to the extreme, but doing so wouldn't do the game justice. Volition's game is at its best when played for laughs, ideally as a gender ambiguous main character, walking like an ape in a hotdog costume. If you're still unsure if Saints Row 2 will be too similar to GTA 4, ask yourself this. Could you pretend to defecate into someone's dead, motionless mouth in GTA 4? You can in Saints Row 2 and we're probably going to Hell because of it.

Saints Row 2 picks up where the original game left off. Your character has just woken from a coma and has had to have massive reconstructive surgery - a neat way to let you create whatever character you like. To say the character creation tool is unique is an understatement. If you want to play as a bodybuilding male transvestite pensioner with a butch voice, wearing nothing but hot pants and crop top, you can. We wouldn't advise it, but it's an option. We opted for the comical genius that is the most attractive woman we could create, with an anguished face (we won't say what this looks like, but you'll be able to see for yourself in the video review, soon!) and a cockney man's voice. This is the character that will appear and talk in the entire game (unless you get more plastic surgery) and it made for some utterly hilarious moments.

Seeing as you've been out of the game for so long and your main buddy Johnny Gat has been in prison, the Saints have lost their grip on the city of Stilwater. Three gangs, the Sons of Samedi, the Ronin, and the Brotherhood, have taken control, so it's up to you to rebuild the Saints and take back what you consider to be rightfully yours. What follows is a lot of gang warfare, plenty of ridiculous characters, nearly endless amounts of killing and a whole lot of fun. The game's 40 + missions mix shooting, driving, on-rails shooting, flying, boating, assassinations, and much much more. With a storyline that spans the three rival gang factions (and the Ultor corporation) there's a lot to see in Saints Row 2.

Before you can take one of the story missions you'll need to have filled your respect meter. This can be done by taking out rival gang members, performing stunts or by completing one of the many activities the game has to offer. Activities were a part of the first game, with the hilarious insurance fraud (throwing yourself in front of cars to cause the most damage), Mayhem (cause as much damage to property and vehicles as you can) and Snatch (murder rival pimps and recruit new hoes) all returning in the sequel, along with wonderful new additions such as Septic Avenger (spraying buildings a nice shade of brown) and Trail Blazer (set yourself on fire and drive around Stilwater on an ATV, blowing things up). In total there are 12 activity types to play, each rewarding you with vital respect points if completed.

In places the visuals impress, but it's some way behind GTA 4.

In places the visuals impress, but it's some way behind GTA 4.

While activities can only be accessed from certain locations in the city, diversions can be triggered at any time. Perform stunt jumps for rep points, drive taxi cabs for money and rep, join the ambulance crew and save the many unfortunate accident victims of Stilwater, surf on moving vehicles and take down zombie hordes. Combined with the more rigid structure of activities, you'll never be short on things to do in Saints Row 2, moving from action packed mission to activity or diversion. The beauty of diversions is that you gain rep and cash from doing things that would otherwise be classed as messing about. Go on a crazed drive through the city with a passenger and you'll activate a hostage diversion; hold up a pedestrian and you'll start a mugging diversion. There are seemingly endless ways to earn cash and rep points.

There's no denying that Saints Row 2 is an incredibly fun game to play and it rewards you for having a good time. Dressing your character in as much bling as possible increases your style rating, in turn increasing your respect multiplier. So not only does a giant demon tattoo look great, but it actually gives you a reward in the game too. Of course, you don't have to follow the story missions or take part in activities and diversions. We spent a long time causing trouble and then taking on the endless waves of police officers that converged on our position. Whereas GTA 4 made taking on cops rather difficult, the ease of headshots in Saints Row 2 makes combat feel incredibly satisfying and nowhere near as punishing.

Rather than rely on a targeting system Saints Row 2 uses the same free-aim system seen in the original game. You can aim with more precision by clicking in the right thumbstick, making brain-popping head-shots that little bit easier - the squelchy sound this makes is always morbidly satisfying. Weapons can be picked up from dead bodies or bought from gun stores, and you can unlock new fighting styles that turn you from a thuggish brawler into move-pulling wrestler. An option to use a lock-on targeting system similar to GTA would have been a nice addition, especially if you're coming to Saints Row 2 after spending months with GTA 4, but the aiming is incredibly forgiving and enemies go down without too much trouble. Hand-to-hand combat is also pretty good, and you can now take hold of a pedestrian and use them as a human shield - before executing them or lobbing them into a brick wall.

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User Comments

Dan's Avatar
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Im loving it i'm on 10%. Think people need to hook it up to proper big HD telly to appreciate it fully. Graphics look good and customisation is so detailed its crazy. Its just fun to play and there's so much more to do than GTA. Also more places to visit in city. You can fly planes, helicopters, parachute out. Theres couple cool underground parts in city. Strip Club, some real funny cut scenes. No slow dull missions in it so far!
Posted 04:47 on 19 October 2008
ZAKKIDO's Avatar
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I am a big GTA fan but disapointed with last relase but with SR2 they filled out the blank spots
Posted 15:29 on 18 October 2008
Jo's Avatar
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sanits row 2 is very good i have not do all of it yet
Posted 09:30 on 18 October 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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Good review. I just picked up SR2 and love it . Its the perfect compliment to GTA4
Posted 23:54 on 17 October 2008
ElMariachiPJO's Avatar


What worries me more about SR2 then it's so-so graphics/phyics/driving mechanics, is how polished the storyline and it's characters will be.

GTA:IV had everything(especially a great story and characters) but high replay value and alot of things to do in general other then it's storyline.

SR2 seems to have the opposite, which is a nice addition to IV, since these games are going in two different directions.

My problem is that, in both titles, while playing one, you will always be thinking of what the other one does better.

And that was not a problem when GTA:SA was released, as it had the perfect mix of everything, and had a good balance of realism with over the top fun.

Having said that, and after putting in some 500 hours(combined) into both versions of GTA:IV, thankfully SR2 is now released, because as a gamer i need that balance of realism and fun.

And SR2 delivers on what IV was lacking in a very big way, and we know tech. wise it's no match for IV, but we also know that games are meant to be fun, and it's why we play them.
Posted 23:24 on 14 October 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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Fun games are what we pay for. Its good to see old school games coming back.
Saints Row2, Dead Space, Far Cry2!?! We spoiled for choice ;-)

Good Review.
Posted 20:41 on 14 October 2008


Good balanced review. I enjoyed reading that.
Posted 16:47 on 14 October 2008

Game Stats

Saints Row 2
Out of 10
Saints Row 2
  • Loads to do
  • Rewarded for messing about
  • Great multiplayer
  • Rough visuals
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/10/2008
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Volition
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 11,729 278
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