Inner city mayhem returns again in the form of Saints Row 2 by THQ. Nothing like a little good old fashioned street violence to kill the afternoon. Saints Row 2 is a good game that delivers of its promise of mind numbing and gratuitous violent content as you go from mission to mission destroying enemies and civilians in a seemingly consequence free world. But the real question is, how does it compare to Grand Theft Auto IV? Is it even a fair comparison? Not really. GTAIV went for a more realistic approach examining the life of a mobster, while SR2 is all about mayhem and destruction.
The graphics in Saints Row 2 are solid, easily just as good as most of the current crop of games out there. They are definitely a step up from the original, but do not break any new ground. These graphics upgrades make the character creation a lot of fun. It’s always a bonus to have many options for character creation instead of being roped into a pre-made character. One of the defining features of this game genre is the soundtrack. Saints Row 2 does not disappoint in this area. The other sound effects are fine, but nothing novel in any way.
Controlling your character around the city of Stilwater is pretty smooth and without complaint…until you get in a vehicle, then things go down fast. This is infuriating because you would think that this would be a priority, since you do need to navigate a city after all. Also targeting in combat can be a little frustrating until you get used to it.The story aspects of Saints Row 2 are really just there to keep you busy. This game is not to be played for the rich story and character development because that is not going to happen. What it does do is keep you moving along a path of mission after blood-soaked mission. The missions are all pretty much the same. Go somewhere, shoot a bunch of people, complete mission. While doing this, you have a whole city to run through and wreak havoc at your discretion. Hijack cars, throw civilians…whatever you want to do, its here. If you get bored, there are several different side missions you can do to pass the time if you are so inclined. The best of which is the zombie mission, where you can take out your frustrations on the undead for awhile.
Being able to drop a friend in on the fly is a welcome addition. The game allows a second player to hop in on the fly to add to the fun. If you get too far away, you will go split screen and players can go there separate ways through Stilwater. There is an addition for some online shenanigans as well if you are interested in some online anti-social behavior. I have not tried these but reports are that they are a bit limited.
Saints Row 2 delivers exactly what is promised. It does not try to sink into the depth of reality for inspiration, rather to just make a game full of wanton destruction of the city of Stilwater. Graphics and sound are on par. It has a robust character creator as well as online and multiplayer options. Overall, if over-the-top urban chaos is your thing, then Saints Row 2 is a choice worth making.
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