Review by Calamity
"This just doesn't beat GTA IV. It DESTROYS IT."
Saint's Row is a sandbox series. It currently has two games in the series with a third apparently in development. I'm quite a big fan of sandbox games and greatly enjoy them. When GTA IV came out and I beat it the game was disappointing. When I heard Saints Row 2 was good from several people I decided to get it. All I can say was it was well worth it. Saints Row 2 just completely blows away GTAIV and any GTA game that came before then. So, onto the review of why I love Saints Row 2.
Graphics:8/10:The Graphics in Saints Row 2 are good. Character designs are good, so is the overall city, vehicles and weapons look solid. I can't really say much more about the Graphics to be honest. Overall the Graphics are solid though. Now, for the Gameplay.
Gameplay:9.5/10:Saints Row 2 is a great sandbox game and probably the best I've played yet. It's very similar to GTA, but doesn't exactly try to be it. It's a third person shooter and the game begins with you escaping from prison. You escape prison and then the game begins in the city of Stillwater. Upon getting into Stillwater you'll probably immediately start taking advantage by beating some random person up with your fists for laughs. Only to find that after like three punches you do some kind of awesome special attack. So, allow me to discuss the melee system first.
The melee system in Saints Row 2 is better then just about any sandbox game in there. Just due to the fact you can pull off sort of combo attacks. Hit a person three times alternating between RT and LT and you'll do a special attack. Most of the time they are just flat out awesome or sometimes even funny. With the regular fighting style my character occasionally did a special combo finisher where he kicked whoever I was attacking in the balls. Which was quite hilarious. With the Ronin fighting style he did a awesome attack where he kicked the person in the face several times then just punched them really hard knocking the person down onto the ground. Your also not just limited to one fighting style the whole game. As you progress further along the game by doing more missions you'll unlock different fighting styles. Each with their own different special attacks. Another awesome thing about meleeing is you can grab people. When you grab them you can use them as a human shield until they are killed or toss them. Tossing them can be quite hilarious especially if you do from a high distance. Either way, that option is very welcomed and adds more strategy to the game and enjoyment too.
Melee weapons aren't too different and as far as special attacks go I am not completely certain how they work. However, I used the Katana(Samurai Sword in game) as my melee weapon for just about the entire game. Occasionally my character did some awesome attack where he just like stabbed the person I was attacking and cut his Katana through them. On the topic of melee weapons you can interact with objects in a environment. If a chair is nearby you can grab it. Then either swing it around like a melee weapon or if you want to get rid of it just throw it. Simply put the melee system is awesome in Saints Row 2. Let's talk about the gunfire now. I'll be comparing SR2's gunfire to GTAIV's.
In Saints Row 2 the gunfire in my opinion is better then Grand Theft Auto IV's. While GTAIV had the cover system SR2 makes shooting possible without really being stationary. In GTAIV most of the time if you were shooting you had to be stationary due to the auto-aim. Saint's Row 2 uses manual aiming which makes running and gunning possible. It also implemented it quite well and it works great. People may remember in GTAIV that they took away dual wielding lighter guns while in San Andreas it was a awesome feature. Well fortunately, in Saints Row 2 you can dual wield several light guns. Such as pistols and sub machine guns. Which is a awesome addition. Aside from that, the guns in Saints Row 2 are mostly typical sandbox fare. You have the generic pistols, rifles, shotguns and rocket launchers. Of course, you have a few types of shotguns and rifles, but it's nothing too amazing. So, overall Saints Row 2's gunfire Gameplay wins over GTAIV's in my opinion. Let me cover car mechanics and being stranded in the water as well too.
Car mechanics are far better then in GTAIV and some of the best in a sandbox game ever. In GTAIV simply put the car mechanics were atrociously bad. You could be driving at a slow speed and trying to do a turn when your car would suddenly spin out of control. Which made turning in GTAIV a thing to often fear. In Saints Row 2 the car mechanics work fine and you'll be able to make turns at any speed just as long as you can drive good. Using LT you can kind of make the car slide along to do a turn better which helps out a lot. In Saints Row 2 like every sandbox game the kind of car does affect how the car is when it comes to driving. If you get a van expect to go slower, but be able to take more shots from enemies before the car explodes. Now, a nice feature is if you accidently go off road let's say and crash into the water you can warp to shore. Remember in GTA when you went off the road by accident and got into the water? Then you had to swim ALLLLLL the way to shore and get back onto land. In Saint's Row 2 you just simply can press Y to warp back to shore and get around the annoyingly tedious process of swimming to shore. The car mechanics in Saints Row 2 are in my opinion the best of any sandbox game yet and the ability to warp to shore is very well welcomed. I know I've said a ton of good things and your waiting for the bad things somewhat impatiently, but I must mention a few more good things.
The Minigames in Saints Row 2 and the Strongholds. Both cool and very fun additions to the game. Minigames are needed to gain respect and if you beat a certain amount of levels in them you can unlock the bonuses. Respect is needed a lot so it's important the minigames are fun and decently balanced. I am glad to say they are both of those. The minigames are a ton of fun and timesinkers themselves. As for the Strongholds... Remember in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas the territories you could take over? Well Strongholds is similar to that. You go to the area and you kill all opposing gang members there or complete other objectives to gain that stronghold. Once you gain the stronghold you get a certain amount of money each day. Aside from that, the Strongholds are just there to unlock certain final missions and for having fun. With gangs being briefly talked about let me expand on that.
In Saints Row 2 eventually you can recruit Homies who are gang members to assist you. The A.I. with them is okay, but sometimes they get stuck behind walls or will shoot a RPG in a closed area which is not good. The cool thing about your gang is you can customize them quite well. By doing missions you unlock costumes for your gang. My gang had the Ninja costume style. So, basically everyone in my gang looked like Ninjas and it was just flat out awesome and a little funny running around with a group of Ninja's shooting people. With customization being briefly mentioned let me go over that too.
Customization in Saints Row 2 is out of this world. When the game begins you have several options for customizing your character. Not only just for customizing your character, but for gangs too as mentioned. Also for your cribs which are kind of like hideouts for your gangs. There's several clothes in Saints Row 2 as well and you can unlock more personalities and fighting styles for your character as you proceed further in the game. Well, that's just about it for the positive things in Saints Row 2. Time to go over my only real problem with Saints Row 2.
Glitches. They are unfortunately ran into occasionally in Saints Row 2 and in the very first mission. During the first mission when I got the game I got stuck in a corner of the room after killing someone and had to restart Saints Row 2. Aside, from that I never ran into any more glitches, but I have heard there are several more. With Gameplay being completely reviewed by me or nearly it gets a 9.5/10. If not for the glitches it could have had a 10/10. Next onto the Storyline.
Storyline:9/10:The Storyline in Saints Row 2 is amusing and does what it's supposed to. The Storyline is not supposed to take itself seriously like Grand Theft Auto. As a result the dialogue is pretty poor at times, but the scenes have amazing direction and are incredibly over dramatic. The scenes are action packed completely and incredibly awesome to watch. So, overall the Storyline gets a 9/10. Time for the final category which is Music.
Music:10/10:The radio stations in Saint's Row 2 are great. Now, I only listened to the Heavy Metal station because that is my music genre of choice, but they had a great selection of songs. In Grand Theft Auto IV I can't think of any memorable songs from the radio stations I listened to. In Saints Row 2 I absolutely loved the songs I heard and sometimes just purposely sat in the car before starting a mission to completely listen to a song. Sound effects in the game are good too and the voice acting had a lot of work done into it. Just due to the amazing amount of accents you can give your main character. So, the Music in Saints Row 2 easily gets a 10/10. No doubt.
Overall:9.5/10:Saints Row 2 owns. It completely blows away GTAIV so bad it's not even funny. I mentioned a ton of good stuff in the game in this review and I could have mentioned so much more, but we would have been here the whole day. The Gameplay is great and I had a ton of fun playing Saints Row 2. Graphics in the game are pretty good, but could have been better. As for the Music it's outstanding. I loved the songs from the radio stations and the sound effects worked good. Voice acting had a lot of effort put into it too with the incredible amount of accents. Regarding the Storyline it got it's point across and while the dialogue was poor the scenes were action packed and extremely well directed. So, overall Saints Row 2 gets a 9.5/10. This is HONESTLY THE BEST SANDBOX GAME I HAVE EVER HAD THE HONOR TO PLAY.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/25/08, Updated 05/24/11
Game Release: Saints Row 2 (US, 10/14/08)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.