Saints Row 2 is a 'crim-sim' (criminal simulator) which ostensibly is a rip off of the Grand Theft Auto series. However don't dismiss the Saints Row series because of this, as it is a lot of fun and takes itself far less seriously than GTA, which became quite melodramatic in GTA IV.
Set in the city of Stillwater you control the leader of the Third Street Saints gang, and struggle with other gangs in the city for control of territory. This is done through missions, mini-games and the usual exuberant open world mayhem that typifies this type of game..
You're either on foot or in a vehicle during all of this, some of the missions are very silly and there is enough on the side in terms of additional activities and customisation to keep you entertained. These side missions also add 'respect' points which in turn unlock story progressions missions.
Combat is usually excessively bloody, there's lots of different weapon types ranging from katanas and baseball bats to rocket launchers and assault rifles. You can take human shields during combat which soak up damage, and use special finishing moves to (for instance) slice someone's face off. This game isn't for kids.
The graphics aren't too polished, and there's some annoying speed up/slow down issues when you're running at certain resolutions and you enter a vehicle. The effects are acceptable and there's plenty of radio stations and profane conversation to listen to.
Saints Row 2 is also misogynistic, relentlessly profane and excessively violent. None of the characters you meet or indeed play are sympathetic or even three-dimensional, but there's a sort of comic-book feeling to the city and the story which makes it bearable.
The voice acting and characterisation are borderline retarded, as is the toilet humour that pervades the game, I often found myself groaning at all-too-obvious jokes.
SR2 is fun though. It doesn't take itself too seriously like GTA IV, and while the graphics and mechanics are cruder you can still get a lot of entertainment.
Copied from my Ciao account of the same name and image.
Saints Row 2 is an open-worlded Grand Theft Auto clone by Volition.
Saints Row 2 starts off in a prison, shortly after the protagonist has been in a coma. The start of the game sets you up for what you're going to experience as you play it further. Humour, silliness and stupidly high amounts of swearing are all prominent throughout. The game allows you to pick exactly what you want your gangster to look like. It will allow your gangster to be anything from an underweight youngster (well, late teen) to an extraordinarily obese character that waddles everywhere and speaks with a Birmingham accent. That's right. You can pick your accent.
The gameplay is Saints Row 2 isn't bad, running is inconspicuously horrible though. The running feels floaty and far too fast, but it helps keep up the pace of being a criminal on the streets. The game isn't at all serious, it allows you to do a variety of things from going around terrorising the innocent bystanders you see on the sidewalk with a police baton to pushing the man promoting the hot-dog stand in a hot-dog suit over the edge and into the water.
The possibilities are quite literally endless. This isn't a bad thing, not at all. Other things, specifically the driving feels amazing fast, even though the cars feel unrealistic and floaty - the lack of resistance to your will becomes virtually accepted within fifteen minutes of play time, although you do wonder why your card does a forty five degree turn every time you attempt to adjust your steering. It can get irritating, but it certainly isn't game crippling. The missions may be uninspired, but the sheer speed and potential to do stuff is astounding.
Here's is the games very biggest problem. The graphics in the game are really very far from great. The edges are jagged, the characters fairly bad looking, especially on the lower settings and it just looks so wrong. It looks as if it is from the era of the PlayStation 2, not the next-gen console era that the developers and publishers are trying to trick us into thinking we are in (I still think PC is the way forward, no matter what they say). However, I do regularly say that graphics don't make a game to my friends who question the playability of older games with, blocky, bad graphics.
I stand by that statement, but the graphics are definitely far from good.
The sub-par graphics also lead onto stupidly high requirements to compensate for the drab graphics. It really doesn't add up that a game with such a fundamental graphical flaw of it being ugly should require such a high level of hardware. The port is very badly done. If you do not have a fair headway above what it suggests the minimum requirements are (detailed at the bottom), you will have a bumpy ride if you don't have a fairly powerful computer. However, when the patch was released, the graphics were unchanged, but the frame rate cap was removed and the performance increased by up to 20%, so that fixed the optimization a little. Still doesn't fix the fact that the game is ugly for the sheer level of ugliness this game showcases. On a computer that had a large kneeway above the minimum requirements got 30fps on Low Settings, which is deemed borderline "Playable". A system that only just met the minimums occasionally fell to single digit framerates. This sits helplessly on the "Almost Totally Unplayable" region.
The sound in this game is good. It's all believable, apart from a few of the voice overs that you can pick from at the very beginning of the game. The voice over I picked was suitably unbelievable. My hard gangster has a laid back Birmingham accent. It's fantastic that it allows the customization that is prominent throughout the game, but when it comes to voice overs, they should at least attempt to pick an actor that doesn't make the players crack up every time he opens his mouth to say anything even potentially unsettling.
Other than that, the unusual swearing that spouts from the mouths of the various civilians dotting the streets and annoyed cops as they chase after you is crystal clear, if at times a little goofy. It's nothing compared to the voice over antics of the late Just Cause 2 though. Ah well, the rev of the engine in this game is believable, and the amount of time you'll be spending in a stupidly fast car means that's all that matters.
Value for Money/Longevity
The game has a lot of potential for longevity if you can look past the games many bugs and flaws. The game is spectacular, silly and a extremely unusual. If you have the computer capable of running this game on at least reasonable settings, I'd highly recommend this to you. If you do not have a computer that you believe to be able to run this game satisfactorily on even the lowest of settings (anything bought in the past two years in desktop form for anything short of £350, for laptops £450, basically), than I think you should definitely give this game a shot, else, I wouldn't recommend it, because a festering lag fest is definitely not fun for any of us.
Although it isn't the main focus of the game, the multiplayer competitive mode isn't bad, and, in addition, the game includes a cooperative mode that allows you to play with your friends as you make your way through the game being a master criminal. For some people (like me) that can be a deal-sealing factor for a game. I have yet to test the cooperative, but I can confirm that it is playable on LAN as well as the internet, as can the multiplayer.
Saints Row 2 does have a lot of content, but it's impact is reduced by the ridiculousness of the game.
Violence, as in any criminal themed game, is prominent. The first man you meet as the protagonist got 'shanked' to meet you as you awaken from a coma in a prison.
The cars are extremely fast, when you smack bodies, they ragdoll and go flying so quickly that you won't even be able to recognise any blood, if it's even there.
When characters die, they produce a puddle of blood and are ragdolls. They cannot have any significant post-mortem damage applied, short of having their dead bodies kicked, stabbed or shot. Even then, the bodies don't mutilate and it only results in the ragdoll moving and producing another fantastically brief blood splurt.
Weaponry of all kinds, as well as police and prisoner brutality is shown throughout the game at some points.
The game allows you to pointlessly kill civilians that did nothing wrong.
You gain respect points for taunting dead bodies
Players hear frequent strong language throughout the game. Including infrequent use of very strong language. Some may find this incredibly offensive.
Some missions involve escorting drugs around the city and delivering and making transactions relating to drugs. Very little is actually shown.
Saints Row 2 also contains discrete sexual references.
In conclusion, I say that the content in strong, but the delivery reduces the impact it creates. Therefore I'd say I'd happily give it to a mature older teenager. I wouldn't give it to any particularly young children though, because it is most certainly not a game for the children, due to the violence, profanity and prominent criminal theme.
The game is good, despite fundamental flaws in the port. You need a good graphics card to handle the sub-par graphics and you still might find yourself lagging without a cause. This is the definition of a bad port, but that doesn't eradicate the quality of the game that has been created. As a game, it's good, as a port, it's very, very bad. The only thing that even has partially saved the optimization so far is a patch that has increased the performance. I'd recommend this to anyone who firmly believes they can run it and has an interest in games of this genre, for example, Grand Theft Auto.
Minimum System Requirements
2GHz Dual Core (Pentium Dual Core or AMD Athlon X2)
1GB Available System RAM
128 (more like 256)mb graphics card featuring Shader Model 3.
15GB HDD Space.
I give Saints Row 2 three out of a possible five stars.