Saints Row 2

Saints Row 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

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

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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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

PussyCat's Avatar


i love how u can like hav sex in som of the strip clubs . the graphics r good for fighting as well..
Posted 13:31 on 27 December 2009
ray's Avatar
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Posted 19:24 on 28 February 2009
DJLenz's Avatar
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I have been a big GTA fan since i bought the original top down game on the ps1, every version that came out seemed to get better and better with more features added with each release, the pinnacle of which was San Andreas which had the most features of any GTA game to date! After San Andreas though, the franchise seemed to go downhill with liberty city stories and vice city stories just being a re-hash of their previous counterparts. i expected gta4 to be so great, especially with the power of the new gen consoles, but was greatly dissapointed by the fact they sacrificed gamplay for crisp graphics. SR2 on the other hand, didnt just concentrate on this, they made the game look great AND play well with all the added features and replay value of a GTA game, something that Rockstar missed out on! On finishing both GTA4 and Saints row 2, i have to admit that SR2 was far more entertainig than GTA4. SR2 was rather close to being San Andreas for the next gen consoles, and if rockstar want to impress with the next GTA, they are going to need to get San Andreas and make it better!
Posted 19:52 on 06 February 2009
dale220395's Avatar
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saints row 2 is 1 ov tha best bames out 4 tha xbox add dale220395 on the xbox
Posted 03:33 on 28 December 2008
ray's Avatar
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im gettin sr2and1 for xmas SAINTS ROW 4 LYF INNIT
Posted 17:53 on 15 December 2008
dammu's Avatar


gonna get dis 1 dats for sure i enjoyed reading teh review it was nice change from
Posted 09:54 on 12 December 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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gives me everything that i wanted from SR2. to be as crude and violent as i can and screw around unlike gta4 which is everything this game isn't
Posted 06:31 on 10 December 2008
Xy's Avatar
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Playing SR2, was just like playing GTA:SA, only better, reminds me of ScarFace too for some reason, love it.

Got called a gay n***** because a guy i used to play GTA with didn't like the fact i had SR2 lol.

Posted 17:43 on 04 December 2008
bill's Avatar
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is it just me or does anyone else notice that you cant control the boats or aircrafts... is it just me?
Posted 13:01 on 01 December 2008
ray aswell's Avatar
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ray aswell

wha is the diff between sr1 an sr2
Posted 20:10 on 30 November 2008
ray's Avatar
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wickid stunts in saints row 2 aswell
Posted 20:09 on 30 November 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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sr2 4 lyf
Posted 20:08 on 30 November 2008
Jason's Avatar
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Sain't Row 2 has every aspect that gta fails. GTA is not even a comparison to the greatness that is Saint's Row!
Posted 06:02 on 15 November 2008
Raquiss's Avatar
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i want to know if there is a strip club so i can watch girls that are nude
Posted 10:35 on 27 October 2008
tony's Avatar
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how do you fly helicopters on the playstation 3
Posted 20:09 on 20 October 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Saints Row 2
Out of 10
Saints Row 2
  • Great multiplayer
  • Rewarded for messing about
  • Loads to do
  • Rough visuals
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/10/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Volition
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 40
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