It’s impossible to give a Saints Row 2 review without mentioning GTA IV, so that’s what I’m going to do. I really liked the first game when it came out during the early days of next-gen and, and even though it was a blatant rip-off, GTA IV actually borrowed a few things from Saints Row. Now, Saints Row has a sequel and the good news is, THQ hasn’t tried to better it. Instead, they deliver a very different open-world experience that’s actually a lot more fun to play.
The game kicks off with your main character in a coma. After waking up you get to reconstruct your face, a good excuse to build your character from scratch recently used in TNA iMPACT. The character creator is fun in itself. You can change nearly everything, including accents and walking styles. You can even give a man a proper lady walk and a woman’s voice if you want to be really weird.
Once into the game it’s not about making friends and finding your feet. You immediately have to break out of jail, then rescue your friend from the courthouse. It’s action all the way and the arcade-style pace of the game is a breath of fresh air. Cars are quick and handle well, if not realistically, and when you run you dash faster than that Bolt geezer in the OIympics. It all serves to keep things quick and make the action fun and fast.
The main story revolves around you rebuilding the Saints and once again taking out the other gangs and increasing your turf and respect around Stilwater. The story and characters are worth sticking with, but it’s the side-missions that prove a constant and fun distraction.
You can go on vigilante missions executing streakers and litter bugs with wanton abandon, spray houses with septic tank waste to devalue property and get involved with a fight club. Taking part in these gives you extra cash and perks which will help you in the missions.
The game’s not perfect by any means. Cars pop out of nowhere, characters teleport into your car and textures shimmer and go all crazy occasionally. This doesn’t matter though, as the characters and voice acting charm you into over-looking the dodgy coding.
And Saints Row 2 provides extra value with great multiplayer modes. You can call in a friend to help you in co-op mode or get online and battle in a number of game modes which vary from all-out gunfights to team missions depending on how complex you want it.
Saints Row 2 is a fantastic overall package and shouldn’t be missed – especially if you found GTA IV a little too worthy. Saints Row 2 gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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