Saints Row 2 – PlayStation 3
Platform: Sony PlayStation 3
Developer: Volition, Inc
Release Date (NA): October 14, 2008
Nerd Rating: 7/10
As a genre, organized crime games aren’t that hard to come by. There are some that shine like the rival gang’s car you just stole while others are less than impressive. Saint Row 2 falls just about in the middle of the two extremes, if not a bit towards the “shinier” end of the spectrum.
The basic premise of Saints Row 2 is that you (A gang boss) have been stuck in a coma for years and you wake up to find that the city you had once controlled has been partitioned off among three different gangs. Saints Row 2 follows your reclamation of Stilwater.
Saints Row 2 has many similarities to other games of its like (Grand Theft Auto, namely). Like other games of it’s genre it’s an open world game that gives the player the ability to hijack cars and use them as transport around the city. Unlike those of its own breed there is quite an extensive character creation process meaning that your gang boss can be any type of person you can dream up, i.e female, obese, face deformed .
Another aspect that sets Saints Row 2 apart is the fact that the map is completely open from the very beginning of
the game. The map in Saints Row 2 is really special in the fact that the only work you have to do with the map is to drive near stores and activities to unlock them (They’ll otherwise show up as question marks on the map). The map is separated into districts (the owning gang’s colors will be highlighted on the map). Within each district there are locations that are separated into four categories: Activities, available real estate, shops, and missions.
By doing activities you gain “respect”. You need respect to do main missions and strongholds. I felt this was a real thorn in my side because one: most of the activities really weren’t all that entertaining and two: there’s no cheat code to give you respect to avoid doing activities. Doing activities isn’t the only way you can gain respect but it’s the fastest if your not playing with cheats activated. You can gain small amounts of respect for being an overall shitty human being. One of the best ways to fill up your respect bar was to go into a rival gang’s territory and start blowing up their vehicles with an RPG with gang members in the car. This gives you respect for trashing a gang’s car, killing gang members, and killing multiple gang members with one shot.
Shops allow you to, primarily, customize your character. With shops you can get tattoo’s, clothing, jewelry and (of course) guns and luxury cars. If half way through the game you decide you don’t like how your character looks you can take your character to get plastic surgery which will allow you to go into character creation and redo your character as much (or as little) as you like without any consequences.
Buying real estate in Saints Row 2 allows you to have customizable cribs and boat marina’s. Once you buy a crib you can customize the interior as well as customize how your gang looks for when you bump into them on the streets. This is also where you can store your clothes, guns and cars that you aren’t using at the moment. The crib also allows you to have access to your cache of well . . . cash. If you so decide, the crib is where you have access to past missions that you can replay.
In the main missions your character slowly but surely starts taking out the other gangs that have encroached onto your turf. Through your domination, you defeat three gangs: the Ronin (a Japanese biker-gang), the Brotherhood (they probably love tattoo’s a little too much), and the Sons of Samedi (a drug-based gang). Each mission is bought with the respect that you painstakingly earn from activities and douchebaggery. Each gang has its own set of missions so you may decide to alternate missions between the gangs or you can show no mercy and set your focus on one gang at a time. Whatever floats your boat. Most missions aren’t too difficult but there are some may take a few tries to be successful. The plot itself is somewhat engaging but it wasn’t superb to the point where my feels hurt or I ship any of the characters.
Yet another action that costs respect are stronghold missions. Stronghold missions allow you to gain hoods which in turn means that you get more profit that is to be put into your cash cache. While stronghold missions are important, I do wish you didn’t have to spend respect on them since most of them only take a few minutes to complete. It feels like a rip off for the amount of time you actually spend doing the stronghold.
Overall, Saints Row 2 was an okay game. It certainly had its ups and downs but I felt it was just meh. Saints Row 2 is definitely a good game but it would probably be best, as a consumer, to borrow from a friend or maybe Gamefly this title rather than buy it.
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