reviewed on X360
Filling in the gaps
Okay, letís get this out of the way first: Saintís Row 2 is not as good as Grand Theft Auto IV. Now thatís done, can we all get on with the review?
While GTAIV was lauded as Rockstarís most recent epic, Saintís Row 2 developer Volition Inc. saw past the ridiculous amount of high scores and critical acclaim thrown at GTA, and started examining the flaws, and, more importantly, what fans missed from older entries in the series. It seems that they made a giant check-list of everything that wasnít in GTAIV, and then translated that into a game. And itís a bloody good one at that.
Forget about fine narrative
Normally Iíd start describing a game by giving the basic plot, but in Saintís Row 2 the narrative is so close to being non-existent that you wonít really care about it, bringing about the first and most obvious contrast with Grand Theft Auto IV. However, this also means that Volition didnít have to make missions according to any grand story-related set piece, meaning that almost every mission will be completely insane, filled with combat, car chases and sometimes extreme sports. Volition have actually made the perfect counter, and accompaniment to, Rockstarís free roamer, as they have gone the opposite way, making one of the most ridiculous games of all time.
Easy controls and a lot to do
The shooting mechanics are decent enough for whatever youíll be required to do in the game, with free aim being the only option available. It works well, and youíll never be cursing the game for your faults in aiming; it will always be down to you. Other than that, your actions are largely the same as they were in (guess what) GTAIV, enabling you to sprint for a limited time, engage in hand to hand combat, but, surprisingly, you canít take cover. This can sometimes be an annoyance after weíre now so used to cover systems, but after the strategic side of your brain adapts, youíll forget all about itís absence.
But itís not the controls that matter in a game, itís what you do with them. And itís here that Saintís Row 2 really shines. The game is crammed full of Ďdiversionsí; side-mission-esque minigames that you can play at your leisure, or not at all. Examples include hostage mission when you hijack a car with a passenger still in it, or car surfing when you jump on the roof of another car. Or maybe youíd rather spray property with sewage, decreasing itís value? Or you could try base jumping, chucking Molotov cocktails at all and sundry, protecting a celebrity through violent means, pretending to be a copper and beating up criminals, gambling in the casino, or many more. Itís here that the game actually bests GTAIV, as there are so many fun and often hilarious activities on offer you will rarely get bored.
No Pros and Cons at this time