26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Much better than I expected,
This review is from: Saints Row 2 (PS3) (Video Game)
Unflatteringly referred to as GTA's idiot brother; Saints Row 2 has improved massively on its predecessor.
This time around, players burned by the seriousness and lack of options in GTAIV may find refuge in SR2. For pure fun, Saints is an excellent game.
However, technical issues and a little over familiarity hold it back from being a classic.
The plot picks up directly after the first. Following the boat explosion, you wake in prison, the opening mission being to escape. The rest of the game is spent expanding the 3rd St Saints and taking over rival gangs' territory. Mission structure is almost identical to GTA; markers indicate the next mission on the map. Except with Saints, reputation points also have to meet the required criteria. Reputation points are earned almost everywhere. When driving, near misses and stunts convert into points. The scoring system is reminiscent of Burnout, which is no bad thing.
There's a staggering amount of mini-games to increase reputation points. The standard vehicle missions return, with the taxi / ambulance fares. The tow truck is a fun vehicle mission. An import export garage has a wish list of cars to steal. There are gang tags to spray. Property management also plays a part; businesses can be purchased to get a cut from the takings. Veterans of San Andreas will indeed find a lot of deja vu.
But SR2 also has fresh ideas; diversions give it the sheer fun that was sometimes missing from GTAIV. Trail blazing is a favourite, riding a cross bike on fire and causing arson whilst completing checkpoint races. Heli Assault gives you the keys to an attack chopper, and tasks you with protecting members of the Saints while they conduct shady drug deals.
Fuzz sees you impersonating a cop for reality TV. The cameraman needs enough footage of apprehending streakers, breaking up disputes, or even unleashing a flamethrower onto a womens protest rally.
Then there's Septic Avenger, Fight Club, Hitman, Snatch, Crowd Control, Mayhem, Drug Trafficking, Insurance Fraud,; and even more.
The list is impressive, and will ensure completionists are kept busy for a long time.
SR2s hidden packages are music CDs. Once found, these are added to the radio stations track lists. This helps ensure the music selection is kept fresh as the game progresses. Whilst the stations never match the humour or variety of GTA IV, they are certainly entertaining. Most bases are covered; Hip Hop (Rhyme FM), Electronica (97.6 K12 FM), and Reggae (103.6 420 FM), join Rock, Funk, Classical and Easy Listening. The ability to create your own radio station is a brilliant feature, especially for eclectic tastes.
Customisation is perhaps SR2s best feature, the levels of which are insane. Every aspect of your character can be tinkered with. Not just the sex; but voices, insults, even eyebrow width. Plastic surgeons are also conveniently located throughout Stilwater, so decisions are never permenant. Clothing and bling are fully customisable. Even defeated gangs can have their attributes cherry picked. Cribs can also be customised. An overall look is available with further, individual options (e.g. TV, bed etc). Of slight frustration is the fact that a pool table can be purchased for your crib, though you can't actually play pool. TV can be watched to view unlocked cutscenes or play 'Zombie Uprising'. This is a Romero inspired mini-game, which see's you fighting off waves of the undead using household items. This is a fun distraction, and a great change of pace, more than compensating for the abscence of actual programmes to watch.
In terms of negativity, the graphics are poor, although Saints does have a more cartoony style. But it really doesn't benefit from HD, in fact its difficult to spot any major differences when running in 1080p. Textures aren't always rendered smoothly, resulting in annoying 'pop up', particularly in cars. Glitches are also everywhere, but barely ruin the game. It is unacceptable to watch cars and people completely vanish into thin air. Some checkpoints had to be reloaded as an essential object got caught on the scenery; but on the whole they are more entertaining than disruptive. Bouncing corpses are one point in particular.