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  1. #1
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    Default ber's "Saints Row 2" review...

    DISCLAIMER: If anyone moves this thread to the Sports and Games thread, I will reach my hands through your monitor and choke you to death. Video games are legitimate art forms.

    * * * * *

    In 2006, publisher THQ and developer Volition released the first free-roaming crime game for seventh-generation consoles. Saints Row, an exclusive Xbox 360 title, is what would happen if the Grand Theft Auto III series were released on the 360 or PS3. It retained a cartoonish look and comic book ragdoll physics, but at the same time, had sharper textures and more detailed environments.

    At heart, Saints Row was widely criticized for being a GTA copycat. Let's face it, you run in a free city where you're free to kill civilians and steal their cars and do missions for characters. Saints Row, unlike other GTA rip-offs that weren't so great, knows what made GTA great -- compelling storytelling, writing, and humor.

    But where Saints Row innovated was a character creation system, where you customize your own characters and make the decision of how he should look by using an elaborate series of sliders representing a certain appearance. Saints Row also featured a number of imaginative side missions never before featured in a GTA game. Saints Row served as a diet GTA until Grand Theft Auto IV would release.

    After GTA IV had passed by and gone, Saints Row 2 enters. And now, aside from the basic idea, Saints Row 2 is everything GTA IV is not. If GTA IV was a realistic, gritty, and grounded portrayal of gang life (sometimes frustratingly so), Saints Row 2 is a zany, off-the-wall, and over-the-top alternative with no interest in touching ground other than what is limited by the game engine and video hardware. Saints Row 2 makes absolutely no attempt at being in the realm of physical possibility, but no doubt succeeds in the gameplay department. There is so much to do in the game's world.

    The differences between GTA IV and Saints Row 2 can be summed up like this: GTA IV is like a five-star steak that looks exquisite but doesn't really taste like anything more than your average steak. Saints Row 2 is a greasy fast-food cheeseburger that doesn't necessarily look appetizing and is certainly not good for you, but it just tastes so good. The pretense of GTA IV is nowhere to be found in Saints Row 2.

    Saints Row 2
    starts where the first Saints Row left off. If players of the first game recall, the main character was left for dead on an exploding boat, his fate uncertain until this second game, where the same character wakes up from a five-year coma in a prison hospital.

    But through the wonders of reconstructive surgery, which serves as the game's character customizer, you will be as good as new. In addition, through the wonders of sexual realignment surgery, Saints Row 2 allows you to choose whether or not you want to keep your balls. That's right, where the first Saints Row only allowed you to create a male character, you can now create a female character.

    (As a depraved pervert, I chose to be a female with blue hair and blue lipstick to satisfy my fetishes.)

    The character customization tool is far more elaborate than the first game, and that's understating. You can spend hours creating your character -- you can create the guy/girl of your dreams or a deformed freak, and everything in between.

    After you're done creating your character, your mission to escape prison and rebuild your fallen gang in the fictional city of Stilwater (loosely modeled after Chicago and Detroit).

    The city has expanded since the first game. You now go up against three more rival gangs as well as the Ultor Corporation, a mysterious organization largely responsible for the city's extreme revamp.

    While the game does have compelling and fun story missions, there is an impressive amount of entertaining side missions to play in the game -- all the same side missions from the first game and more. New ones include "Fuzz," an activity where you wear a police uniform and, with a cameraman nearby, are able to enact a Cops-like scenario and arrest criminals. Another is "Crowd Control," where your job is to protect a VIP from crazed fans by taking the fans and throwing them into nearby resources (helicopter propellers, a railroad track, among others). One of my favorites is "Septic Avenger," where the player hops into a septic truck and must devalue city property by spraying human waste on buildings and pedestrians. The activity itself is a bit repetetive, but the idea of spraying feces on others sounds hilarious for the twisted mind, and makes you forget about the repetition...or why, under normal circumstances, a septic truck would have a spray hose on it.

    There is much more to do and the game rewards you with extremely satisfying unlockables after completing an activity.

    The world of Stilwater is surprisingly interactive. Probably the most interactive world of any game in the genre. The player is able to pick up everyday objects (such as stop signs, news stands, and garbage cans) and use them as weapons against opponents. A player may also grab pedestrians and use them as hostages, able to drag them and throw them off a high building or perhaps just use them as cover, only to later snap their necks.

    Saints Row 2 is one of the most fun games to play out there. The game's variety is unmatched by its competitors. It's an imaginative game that lets the player be imaginative, too. It is the kind of free-roaming crime game that I had always hoped for.

    What keeps the game from being perfect is mostly in the graphics department. While the game certainly does not depend on good graphics for its kicks, there are certain parts in the game world that are a little watered down and sometimes downright ugly. They actually seem inferior to the first Saints Row, although this could have been done to make more room for an enormous world with tons of things to interact with.

    The game is also glitchy in a number of ways. Characters get stuck in objects, vehicles and pedestrians appear out of nowhere, and the controls are unresponsive at times. The game also suffers from a lackluster AI from both parties and enemies.

    However, Saints Row 2 is one of the few games out there that is exceptionally fun to play and even addictive. The amount of places to explore and things to do are plentiful. So while GTA IV may be eons ahead of Saints Row 2 in the technical department, Saints Row 2 has the fun factor that compels you to play the game again.

    Now you know where I've been all this time...

    (I was also in Las Vegas since Saturday.)

  2. #2
    Senior Member ArbiterDewey's Avatar
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    Well done! This game kicks ass. Bought it the day it released and, if college/D&D weren't existent, I'd be playing it even now.

    Pros:
    -Amazing Character creation (15 slider bars for the nose alone, lol)
    -Gang Customization (NINJAS!!!)
    -New vehicles (now able to fly airplanes/helicopters/UFOs and ride motorcycles)
    -Crib Upgrades (no longer just a shit-hole)
    -Fun Missions (with the exception of lvl6 Crowd Control...hell)
    -Three Game Difficulty settings (I haven't tried them, but once I beat things in Normal mode, Hardcore it is)
    -"Anyone hit and need a lawyer?" Legal Lee, lol

    Cons:
    -Piercings now limited to only ears...(the first Saints Row allowed for 10 piercings at least.
    -Limited Clothing options. (The clothing doesn't seem to be as well done as before either, although the Beer Hat rocks)
    -Game is occasionally glitchy. (it has only frozen once, but the other times I'd be able to walk through the car I was trying to get in, or get stuck in the highway until it reset me on the ground, and so forth)
    -They seem to be missing the homeless guys from the first game that, when you drive by all crazy, said, "Crazy Mutha-Fucka!" I miss that guy, lol.

    All in all, 9.9/10
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  3. #3
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArbiterDewey View Post
    Well done! This game kicks ass. Bought it the day it released and, if college/D&D weren't existent, I'd be playing it even now.

    Pros:
    -Amazing Character creation (15 slider bars for the nose alone, lol)
    -Gang Customization (NINJAS!!!)
    -New vehicles (now able to fly airplanes/helicopters/UFOs and ride motorcycles)
    -Crib Upgrades (no longer just a shit-hole)
    -Fun Missions (with the exception of lvl6 Crowd Control...hell)
    -Three Game Difficulty settings (I haven't tried them, but once I beat things in Normal mode, Hardcore it is)
    -"Anyone hit and need a lawyer?" Legal Lee, lol

    Cons:
    -Piercings now limited to only ears...(the first Saints Row allowed for 10 piercings at least.
    -Limited Clothing options. (The clothing doesn't seem to be as well done as before either, although the Beer Hat rocks)
    -Game is occasionally glitchy. (it has only frozen once, but the other times I'd be able to walk through the car I was trying to get in, or get stuck in the highway until it reset me on the ground, and so forth)
    -They seem to be missing the homeless guys from the first game that, when you drive by all crazy, said, "Crazy Mutha-Fucka!" I miss that guy, lol.

    All in all, 9.9/10
    Yeah, I know what you mean by the piercing limits. In the first game, I was able to create a walking magnet.

    The Crowd Control missions were sometimes a pain in the ass.

    I also explored the prison and I was surprised that it didn't have an execution chamber. That would've been a pretty cool side mission -- executing criminals.

    I also wish I knew how to take screenshots in the game (without photographing the television) so that I could post images of my characters. (I ended up buying the game for the PS3.)

    For me, the game freezes most often when you're scrolling through created outfits. I was underwhelmed by the selection of outfits in the game, as well.

    Oh yeah, and what did you think about that one gang called "The Brotherhood?"

  5. #5
    Senior Member ArbiterDewey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    Yeah, I know what you mean by the piercing limits. In the first game, I was able to create a walking magnet.

    The Crowd Control missions were sometimes a pain in the ass.

    I also explored the prison and I was surprised that it didn't have an execution chamber. That would've been a pretty cool side mission -- executing criminals.

    I also wish I knew how to take screenshots in the game (without photographing the television) so that I could post images of my characters. (I ended up buying the game for the PS3.)

    For me, the game freezes most often when you're scrolling through created outfits. I was underwhelmed by the selection of outfits in the game, as well.

    Oh yeah, and what did you think about that one gang called "The Brotherhood?"
    Yeah, I got it for the 360. The Brotherhood was humorous. Large, over-tattooed, coke-heads is how they're explained in game, I believe, lol. I took them out first actually.
    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    --Isaac Asimov, Salvor Hardin in "Foundation"

    Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
    --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
    --Isaac Asimov

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArbiterDewey View Post
    Yeah, I got it for the 360. The Brotherhood was humorous. Large, over-tattooed, coke-heads is how they're explained in game, I believe, lol. I took them out first actually.
    How self-destructive!

    I haven't finished the story missions yet, I'm having too much fun exploring.

    I was also disappointed in the limited amount of clothes in clothing shops. I thought they could have done better with that. Hopefully, they'll have clothing add-ons you can install just like in the first game. Except I hope Volition and THQ actually stick to their downloadable content rather than abandon it.

    And in Saints Row 2, you also can't control the length of your character's hair as accurately as in the first game.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ArbiterDewey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    How self-destructive!

    I haven't finished the story missions yet, I'm having too much fun exploring.

    I was also disappointed in the limited amount of clothes in clothing shops. I thought they could have done better with that. Hopefully, they'll have clothing add-ons you can install just like in the first game. Except I hope Volition and THQ actually stick to their downloadable content rather than abandon it.

    And in Saints Row 2, you also can't control the length of your character's hair as accurately as in the first game.
    I couldn't deny irony its place.

    Yeah, I agree with the potential for downloadable content making things better.

    The hair length wasn't a problem for me, but I do like how the mohawk is more impressive, lol.
    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    --Isaac Asimov, Salvor Hardin in "Foundation"

    Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
    --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
    --Isaac Asimov

  8. #8
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    I don't understand the appeal of the zombie minigame, though.

    I love the Insurance Fraud missions in both games, although the first one was fun because it was easier to get points by crashing with a car and flying through the windshield.

    The helicopters in Saints Row 2 are sometimes a pain in the ass to control, and not much better even when I have the SIXAXIS motion sensor turned off. In most cases, that thing is annoying.

    I also notice that the game has a lot of emo music on the radio stations. And it doesn't have a talk radio station.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ArbiterDewey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    I don't understand the appeal of the zombie minigame, though.

    I love the Insurance Fraud missions in both games, although the first one was fun because it was easier to get points by crashing with a car and flying through the windshield.

    The helicopters in Saints Row 2 are sometimes a pain in the ass to control, and not much better even when I have the SIXAXIS motion sensor turned off. In most cases, that thing is annoying.

    I also notice that the game has a lot of emo music on the radio stations. And it doesn't have a talk radio station.
    The zombie mini-game wasn't terribly fun, but using the Mini-Gun there for the first time was great. Getting a zombie mask out of the whole deal wasn't too "rewarding" imho. Now if you could find/buy more game's for your tv this would be entertaining.

    The Insurance Fraud rocks in SR2. If you finish all 6 levels of the right one, you get unlimited Stamina! (MUCH easier than the first Saints Row. Getting all of the tag spots for it was hell...) I like how all of the activities give you something. Even the "ho-ing diversion" gives you a free pimp suit, lol.

    Hexis and I have had problems with the helicopters. They just don't handle well at all, especially when they want you to pick people up and drop them off in the Heli-Assault missions.

    Now some of the music I do like. The Krunch radio station playing Lamb of God kicks ass. I agree, however, that there is a lot of emo-ish music, and I do miss the talk radio from the first game.
    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    --Isaac Asimov, Salvor Hardin in "Foundation"

    Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
    --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
    --Isaac Asimov

  10. #10
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Moved from A&E not because video games aren't also an art form but because that's where most people would look for a thread like this. Good luck with that choking thing though.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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