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Saints Row 2 review

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AT A GLANCE
  • 100% fun
  • Best co-op around
  • Allows tons of creativity
  • Technically a mess
  • Wafer-thin story
  • Not a looker

We don’t get the recent GTA IV backlash. At all. GTA IV was amazing. Deep down, everyone knows it. Though even we’d admit that once you’d plowed through Niko’s story, what remained was hardly the greatest example of raucous sandbox fun...

The anti-GTA IV, Saints Row 2 puts all this right. It’s almost as if devs Volition took stock of the response to Rockstar’s epic and, gazing past all the hyperbole and 10/10 scores, realised that huge swathes of the game’s fanbase simply didn’t care about ultra-realistic physics or “Oscar-winning” narratives; they just wanted to romp around in a hot dog suit pimping hoes, gutting pedestrians with samurai swords and spraying cops with feces. So they set out to make that exact game – and, it has to be said, have succeeded.

Saints 2’s “plot” – some guff about taking back Stilwater from a bunch of new gangs – is so wafer-thin it’s barely worth a mention. However, any excuse for the utterly brilliant missions the game then proceeds to throw at you is alright by us. Where else could you blast away with an unlimited ammo rocket launcher while your homie throws his car off the roof of a mansion, or base-jump from the inside of a skyscraper after priming the joint with TNT? Reinforce all this with some suitably over-the-top vehicle handling and solid, satisfying combat and Saints 2 has the core gameplay to back up its manifold laughs and adrenaline highs.

Technically, it has to be said that Saints 2 is an absolute mess, with Stilwater still sporting all those weird visual issues (vanishing cars, lousy frame-rate, super bad pop-up) which plagued its predecessor. However, like Mercs 2 before it, the stench of the bargain bin bizarrely adds to the sense of riotous fun. Who cares if it doesn’t look like much? This game has it where it counts: heart, or maybe balls. Also crucial to mention are the inspired Character Creation tools: the likes of Oblivion and Fallout 3 might best it in the technical stakes, but are you able to conjure up a smiling, obese transsexual Asian ladyman sporting sideburns and a mullet to rule over your empire in Megaton?

Then there’s that genuine sense of achievement you’ll feel as you progress through the game. You can transform your various hideouts from dumps a vagrant would consider beneath his dignity into bling cribs a Premiership footballer would covet. And hands up who fancies the idea of a ninja army cruising the streets in a fleet of pimped-up Lotus Elise-alikes? Yep, us too. The game’s sense of ridiculousness (and imagination) is infectious, and helps you overlook the odd stupid flaws. Also, seeing as we played through more than half the game as a crime-loving twosome we figured we’d better mention that Saints Row 2’s co-op is brilliant.

 So, turns out there’s room in this world for both GTA IV and Saints Row 2, then. Truly, they are utterly opposite sides of the same sandbox coin. If you were in any way disappointed with Rockstar’s return with Liberty City then we have absolutely no hesitation in recommending you buy this. Score one for the 3rd Street Saints.

Oct 14, 2008

More Info

Release date: Oct 14 2008 - Xbox 360, PS3
Jan 06 2009 - PC (US)
Oct 17 2008 - Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: THQ
Developed by: Volition
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

We Recommend

40 comments

  • GrandMoffSnoga - October 27, 2013 3:41 p.m.

    My favorite game on current gen :3
  • alex-roy-bristol - November 5, 2012 5:12 p.m.

    The best of the 3 so far. I do LOVE the graphics in SR3(/SRTT) however. A HUGE improvement from this one. ;D
  • JCBlueNose2011 - July 4, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    I've played both GTA 4 and Saints Row 2 and Saints Row 2 is by far the best because of how fun it is fair enough you get the odd vanishing car but the weapons are so much better than the ones on GTA plus at least this time your character actually talks where as one the first Saints Row your character was basically a mute. Overall its a good game and I can't wait til saints row the third comes out
  • shaneflanoretro - October 27, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    mutch better than any gta
  • Austin400 - September 29, 2009 4:24 a.m.

    damn when does saint's row 3 come out
  • Austin400 - September 29, 2009 4:23 a.m.

    BEST DAMN GAME SOFAR
  • dylpickle92 - December 9, 2008 2:01 p.m.

    a lot of people are saying bad stuffabout it? why? the game looks madddd. i want it!!!!! i think it'l be better then gta4, that game gets real repatative, real fast
  • Jt - November 25, 2008 1:16 a.m.

    having a ninja gang is great
  • TomB1412 - November 5, 2008 9:13 p.m.

    does anyone know how to unlock the bonus mission at the end ?
  • Saintstoner - October 29, 2008 5:42 p.m.

    i think this game actually makes up for the disapointment of gta IV,dont get me wrong gta 4 was good but thats all it was,which was disapointin after san andreas which was brilliant.saints row 2 definitely delivers on all levels and easily deserves a 10.saints row 2 number #1
  • system420 - October 28, 2008 7:10 p.m.

    does anybody know how too do a drive by??
  • ELpork - October 22, 2008 4:31 a.m.

    LOVE THE CO-OP!! Absolutly insane.
  • Jason.Darksavior - October 18, 2008 8:53 a.m.

    This game is so addictive and fun! Must Buy!
  • Marioninja1 - October 17, 2008 10:36 p.m.

    @sumguy08 Yeah, pretty much, I keep saying that you don't win a prize for being first but noone seems to listen, and frankly I could care less if someone gets first or not (and I keep saving up for this game D....X damn $60 price tag, at least I can make a White version of Samuel L. Jackson From Pulp Fiction with a Sparta cape and an M16)
  • slayaz - October 15, 2008 9:50 a.m.

    I'm not sure if there is any DL content planned for either, but I ordered it to fill a hole until GOW2 turns up.
  • supahawk - October 15, 2008 7:17 a.m.

    Which version is better ps3 or 360. I only ask because I would like to know which version to buy. Does one have any advantages oer the other? Thanks
  • supahawk - October 15, 2008 7:15 a.m.

    So just a question... You guys played both Ps3 and 360. Which version would you ultimatley prefer? Im not trying to start some "flame war" but I need to know which version is should get. Does one have any advantages over the other?
  • Defguru7777 - October 15, 2008 3:10 a.m.

    I'm still a bit on the cautious side.
  • Cwf2008 - October 15, 2008 2:43 a.m.

    First
  • aqibloz - December 3, 2008 1:40 p.m.

    Id have this game over the repetitive boring crap Rockstar are coming out with these days with GTAIV. Rockstar tried there dandest to make sure that no two levels were the same but what did eventually come out with? a boring lackluster of a game that turned into a blockbuster. I you were dissapointed by that this game will more than make up or it.

Showing 1-20 of 40 comments

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