Why Saints Row 2 is the antidote to GTA IV

One of GTA IV’s biggest strengths – and possibly one of its biggest problems – was its insistence on keeping the action as realistic as possible. No longer could you stand on top of moving cars and terrify the drivers; you’d lose your balance and fall off the second they started moving. SR2 defiantly rubs GTA’s nose in this by not only enabling players to stand on top of moving cars, but by turning it into a traffic-surfing minigame.

Above: We apologize for the intolerable levels of man-ass in this image

It’s also worth noting that, like every other activity in the game, you can do this naked:

Although Saints Row 2 takes most things in a radically different direction than GTA IV, there is one little thing it could be accused of copying, albeit wrongly: giving players a cell phone to dial numbers, punch in cheats or call up “Homies” to come watch your back.

The difference is that Saints Row 2’s cell phone (which actually debuted in the first Saints Row) is barely integrated into the gameplay at all; you won’t use it to fool your targets into revealing themselves in public, for example, and none of your imaginary friends will ever use it to invite you out for a drink. Again, whether that’s good or bad depends on how much Niko’s ever-buzzing phone irritated you in GTA IV.

One of the saddest things we saw during the run-up to GTA IV was all the misinformed saps who thought that “multiplayer” meant they could plug in a second controller and play through the story with a friend. And while you can’t do that in Saints Row 2, exactly, you can play through the entire story online with a buddy, and that’s always a plus. Especially because they’ll be much better company than these guys:

Above: You can dress up your gang cronies as ninjas, but it won’t give them any more personality

Over the course of GTA IV’s rags-to-slightly better rags story, players earned hundreds of thousands of dollars, almost all of which were spent on guns, body armor and ammunition for Niko. You could buy clothing and food, too, but in general the money didn’t do much aside from enabling you to pay for dates and survive a little longer in a firefight. You couldn't even spend money on property, like you did in earlier games; instead, it was all handed to you, for free, as part of the story.

Above: Well this is nice, in a muted, tasteful sort of way

In contrast, there’s no shortage of things to spend money on in Saints Row 2. Instead of simply moving between a series of small apartments, you can buy 11 “cribs” scattered throughout the city, and then spend more money to upgrade them with new décor, better furniture and gigantic televisions.

Above: Given the option, though, we’ll take the one with the giant TV and the strippers

High-performance cars are also for sale if you know where to look, and dropping more cash will turn them into garish purple monstrosities with spinning rims and spikes that shoot out from the wheels. Also, while GTA tried to keep playing dress-up to a minimum, Saints Row 2 enables you to buy layers of ridiculous clothing, jewelry and tattoos and mix them together however you like.

Grand Theft Auto IV caught some flak over its watchable in-game TVs, which were a nice touch but featured shows that weren’t quite up to the series’ high standards. SR2 doesn’t even bother with trying to create its own channels, and the TVs in your apartments are useful only for two things: re-watching cutscenes (which is kind of fun, because any changes you’ve made to your character since the events happened will show up in the cinema) and playing a videogame called Zombie Uprising.

Above: Yeah, this is about all there is to it. But what more do you want, really?

Zombie Uprising plays like a crude imitation of Dead Rising, in that your task is to fend off endless waves of zombies using your fists and whatever else is scattered around. It’s usually only fun for five minutes at a stretch, but the amount of detail that went into making the shambling, bloated zombies almost makes us sad that they didn’t suddenly surface to menace the city in the final act of the game’s story. Also, they’re really fun to carve up with a chainsaw.

What? “Eclectic music picked out by people with excellent taste?” What the hell does that mean? All we know is that among Saints Row 2’s thrash-metal and hip-hop radio stations is one that plays “The Final Countdown” and “Take on Me” seemingly every five minutes. And if you can’t enjoy that on some level, then we have nothing more to discuss.

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  • dylpickle92 - December 9, 2008 4:59 a.m.

    great article. sure, the graphics arn't as good in saints row then gta4, but i think saints row would be better. gta4, the missions just get so repeditive, right? and the fact that saints row 1 ad 2 are sequal, i think that maes it a whole lot better
  • Jason.Darksavior - October 18, 2008 8:49 a.m.

    This game is so addictive and fun! Love all the activities and diversions.
  • Marioninja1 - October 15, 2008 3:40 p.m.

    No annoying as piss friends, Take on me and Final Countdown, No (proffesional) Liberty City cops stopping my fun...I NEED THIS GAME!
  • Jaydubbbbb - October 14, 2008 11:02 p.m.

    The reason why the graphics arent as good as GTA IV is because SR2 is more focused on the shit you can do, thats why you cant ever really get bored of it, because theres so much random retarded shit to do. You dont need to be immature to play this game, you just have to have a good sense of humor. And for the cellhpone in GTA IV, you never have to accept going out with your buddies to the bar, you can complete the whole story without Lil Jacob ever having any respect for you.
  • wysiwyg - October 13, 2008 9:07 a.m.

    Read the article and all the points he makes just suggest one thing to me, avoid this game like the plague!
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - October 13, 2008 8:08 a.m.

    @Ninja-KiLLR: If you hated flying out of your windshield in GTA IV, you will probably hate it just as much in SR2.
  • StupidFaceXD - October 12, 2008 9:20 p.m.

    I loved GTA4, but it was TOO realistic. And you died too easily. But I love GTA and SR. Great article Mike. Keep 'em coming!
  • GodKlown - October 12, 2008 5:22 p.m.

    I've been a fan of GTA since it started, but I came around to SR when it premired on the 360. I really enjoyed the openness to the violence, as well as the customization in the game, not only to the vehicle but also to the character. Buying new clothing or jewelery in SR actually MEANT something, unlike in GTA where it is either just a style change or mission-related. I've even read that the crib will be able to finally be customized, which is something you never saw in GTA. SR2 sounds like it will be at least as fun as the first, if not adding something with the new vehicle options. I don't play these games for the realistic quality, but for the fun of it! What ever happened to playing games for that factor?
  • SOLIDSNAKE1983 - October 11, 2008 9:23 p.m.

    Looking forward to this after the snooze fest that was GTA IV........Didn't play the first SR, but hopefully this will be a throwback to the San Andreas type of game with jet packs, parachutes and OTT weaponary!!!
  • chrisat928 - October 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.

    It's TOO immature. It's like it was targeted directly at 13 year olds. Oh, and GTA already did the raging sociopath in Vice City. Tommy Vercetti was what you described, but STILL had character and a personality.
  • Tochy - October 11, 2008 3:58 a.m.

    i agree with Defguru7777 this game is only going to be fun for like 10 minutes.
  • TheWebSwinger - October 11, 2008 1:47 a.m.

    Damn. GR likes GTAIV so much they're sucking its dick WHILE they suck another game's dick.
  • Defguru7777 - October 11, 2008 1:22 a.m.

    Wow, this game is going to be fun for all of five minutes.
  • TrIp13G - October 10, 2008 11:28 p.m.

    I ended up with 800,000+ dollars by the time I was done with GTA IV. THE FIRST TIME I FINISHED IT. I'm glad that SR2 is keeping the series' tradition of letting you blow your cash on fast cars and crazy outfits.
  • Crossleft501 - October 10, 2008 10:25 p.m.

    hahaha great article as always Mike
  • Biohazard82493 - October 16, 2008 2 a.m.

    i like a lot both games but gta IV is too realistic and i hate things like "Niko lets play some bowling" i mean come on but whatever long live metal!!
  • mozaralio - October 16, 2008 1:31 a.m.

    Im sorry to say that I think SR2 is way better than GTA IV some others have said that the only people who would enjoy this game is 10-13 year old children well im 15 turning 16 soon and I love SR1 I havent played SR2 yet but im hoping it will be just as good or better also if you need further proof my cousin is 22 and has beat SR1 4 times and still enjoys playing it GTA IV was good up until alot of the missions to me got repetative and or way to long for what they accomplish no offense to you GTA finatics out there but if I got to choose between the two Id go with SR2 and to the stupid kid who said GR loves both games so much theyre sucking both there dicks go f*ck urself. All in all once again great article
  • Ban - October 15, 2008 4:14 a.m.

    Well now i know what oooooooother game im getting this fall
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - October 14, 2008 1:15 a.m.

    @uilanman: I believe it was Normal. And I didn't say it happened quickly - only that escaping is as easy as driving in the opposite direction until Notoriety wears off.
  • uilanman - October 13, 2008 7:17 p.m.

    What skill level did you play on Mikel? The hardest option makes things increasingly more difficult, like enemies have a lot more health, cops and gang notoriety take MUCH longer to go away - I ask because you made it sound like it was so easy to just get away from a 3-4 star rating just by driving the opposite direction. That would take a *long* time to wear off, it's not as simple as that... I will say that it's not insanely hard to deal with the police, but you'll find yourself dead a lot more often on the hardest skill setting vs the easier ones, for sure.

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