91 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Non-Suck Version,
This review is from: Saints Row 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Saint's Row 2 is just about everything fans of the original could've asked for, and more! Right off the bat, you'll notice just how many improvements have been done over the original. You start off in a coma, and you're asked to either re-create your guy from the last game, or make someone new. And this time, you can have a girl play as Stilwater's legendary gangster! You can go around the 'Saint's Row' equivalent of Chicago as a male or female.
The character customizations have been far expanded, and rival that of another THQ franchise, The "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW" series. You can fine tune just about any facial feature to your liking, and once the game starts, you can buy your way up to owning cool clothes, which are far superior to the first game's clothing options. Even in Sloppy Seconds, you can customize color, material, and style of your clothing. Of course, keep in mind that Sloppy Seconds has some pretty awful clothes, too! I had my guy back in Saint's Purple in no time! The women's clothing is far less appealing though, although maybe I just haven't unlocked the hot Victoria's Secret wear, yet. The character cutomization truly is more advanced this time around, but a little bit of things irk me in the customization.
For example, you can't choose height once again in your character. In the first game, the Protagonist was way too short. About 5'6" or so. In this, he's kinda too tall. Maybe 6'1" or 6'2", but he (or she, as females have the same towering height as your men) completely towers over everyone else in town. Also, the body options are kinda weird. It's like, you can only choose a body "type" for them, like obese, or thin, and you can't fine tune things, like their stomach or chest. For women, their breasts are kind of too pointy. For men, their body shape is kind of odd, with big arms and a slightly disproportionate body (assuming your guy isn't an obese fellow). Some things are kind of too in-depth (like ear customization, for example. Who cares about ears?) While the body customizations could've been more expanded. Also, the "Personality" features aren't as in-depth as I was hoping for. Basically, you choose voice, walking style, compliment taunt, and insult taunts. The voices are basically White, Black, and Hispanic male and females. The White guy voice is British, probably because the game developers are also, British, and they wanted a local guy in there. I'm guessing most people will end up using the Black Male voice or White Female voice. The gender equality goes beyond your main character though, and also shows up in the gangs, too, as before, only about 10% of your enemies were female, as now it's about 40% of women in the enemy gangs. And it seems like the entire police force seems to made up of women, which is a little odd.
When you actually begin, you start off with a prison break, and get access to the newly expanded fighting system. While very simple to use, it's actually quite hard to master, and I like that. Basically, you can punch two different ways, do combos, and block. There's other things you can learn later too, like the new Human Shield option, where you can toss people acorss streets like they're only 10 pounds light. Of course, this is just for your basic fighting style. You'll learn new ways to brawl later in the game, as well! You also now also pick up inanimate objects like cinderblocks, trash cans, or virtually anything, and use them as makeshift fighting weapons. Your non-firearm weapons have greatly been expanded, and the variety of different melee weapons rivals that of San Andreas. However, in this game, you can make much cooler use of them! I stongly suggest once you hit the streets of new Stilwater, to find a Ronin gang member and steal his or her katana blade. That thing rocks! Both objects and newer melee attacks are also available in Grand Suck Auto IV, but Saint's Row 2 makes much better uses out of all of them! It's a complete no contest here in which game's are better. With weapons, all your favorites are back, and the annoying habit of constantly having to switch out guns for ammo to get different ones that have been taken off of your enemies is gone! Because now, we have dual-weilding, baby! Your guy or girl will be able to shoot out two Vice 9's, at once, now, and do it like the pro they are! Unlike San Andreas, you won't have to level up skill points to earn advanced weaponry weilding because the game assumes your guy is already a master of the firearms from the first game! I love how convient Volition are! They're willing to cut the crap (like having to swim miles to make it to shore) and just give you the fun gaming goodness you want from the get-go! When you deal with explosives, if you're too close to the blast, it'll blast out your character's ear drums and they'll be temporally deaf! It's a nice touch with really shows you how much explosives can mess your character up! Saint's Row 2 also gives you Autosaving, so if your game freezes on you or the power goes out, you can start off from the last mission or activity you completed. Autosaving at first doesn't seem to useful, but once an unexpected something DOES happen to you or your game, you'll be so glad it's there! I made it to Lv. 6 of Drug Trafficking and didn't save any of it when my 360 shut down on me. But with the Autosave feature, I was able to restart from the end of Lv. 5 and not lose a thing! It's such a great and convient feature to have!
Once again, you'll have to earn respect to do new missions, but the Activities now are a lot more fun, and many of the lame ones from the first game, except the stupid Insurance Fraud ones, which I've always hated, are gone. Activities are now divided by Diversions (the lesser, old Activities) and the true "Activities" now are the ones that take much longer time to complete, such as Chop Shop and Hit Man, which once again make a return. I hopped in a car with my girl and immeadially started a Drive-By activity on some Sons of Samedi. Now, in the Diversions, there are six levels instead of eight, and for some, you can continue up to each level without interuption. I didn't even know I was on Level 5 in Drive-By until I actually checked up the top of the screen. The new diversion activities are awesome. "vehicle Surfing" is tricky but fun, until you fall of the car, that is! In "Trail Blazing" you get to race to a checkpoint all while on fire, blowing up cars on impact and lighting people on fire, earning time. It's sort of a mix of Mayhem and Racing, and it's very fun. "Fuzz" is the Stilwater equivalent of Cops and you get to play as the all-around corrupt police officer, hurting people breaking the law, and getting good and violent footage for the TV show. By the further levels, it gets really fun and interesting, like stopping a Pirate-Ninja war! "Crowd Control" has you playing as a celebrity bodyguard, stopping mobs of crazy fans from hurting your client! Depending on the level, you can trhow people into chopper blades, toss them into attack dogs, crush them with a bulldozer, cram them into an airport security x-ray machine, or chuck em into an oncoming el train!
There are more ways to earn respect now, too. Inspired by the Balls Meter from the "Scarface: The World Is Yours" game, you can now earn respect by doing ballsy things that Tony Montana did in his game, like driving in the wrong lane of traffic and taunting bad people like cops and gang members, and also now pimps and hoes, who are now official "enemies", as well. The only thing missing is the ability to yell at people who crash into your car while driving. Just don't get TOO much respect before using it up on missions, though, as after Lv. 99, your respect is Infinite, and that sort takes all the fun out of it, having Infinite respect and all.
The new Stilwater is a much darker, depressing place than the old Stilwater, which is ironic considering that the old Stilwater was probably much more violent. It's about 50% larger, and the new places are less inviting to you than you'd think they'd be. They clearly don't like your kind around there. The new gangs have a bit more unity than the old ones did, and respect each other's territories, leaving the endangered Third Streets Saint's pretty much their only common enemy. Many parts of old Stilwater have been rebuilt by Ultor's multi-million dollar city renovation. With Ultor Corporation owning Stilwater and turning it into a bleak metropolis for the Upper Class and snobby, you'll have the incredible feeling of both familarity and newness, all at the same time. Some old, favorite neighborhoods will look familar, but will be dark, barren and full of bums and prostitutes. Others, such as the humble Saint's Row, have been completely taken over! Seems like at least 20 years of change since 2006, though, when our old familar Stilwater was Ultor-free. Only a few list of people actually return for the sequel, but luckly, it's all the ones you would want to see return, including your best pal, Johnny Gat. Also in Stilwater are the new gangs. They also follow the same trend of having a Drug gang, a street punk gang, and a Corporate Business gang. Taking the place of the Latin Los Carnales, the Caucasian Westside Rollerz, and the Black Vice Kings are the Haitian Sons of Samedi, the Caucasian Brotherhood of Stilwater, and The Asian Ronin. The fourth, "unofficial" gang are the Ultor Corporation, themselves, and they run pretty much everything in new Stilwater, including all of the police. The Ronin are probably the deadliest gang, as they all carry katana blades and chase after you on high speed motorcyles, which comes off as a lot more vicious and scary than the standard street car pursuits the other gangs do. I won't say too much, but there's a little bit of "Kill Bill" as you progress through the Ronin storyline. They're definitely the best to take on out of the three. The Brotherhood of Stilwater are basically just giant-sized bullies. They're all very large people with even bigger vechiles. They like violence just for the sake of it. The weakest gang has to be the Sons of Samedi. Bascially, all they do is sell "Loa Dust" (a kind of cocaine you smoke out of broken lightbulbs!) to college students. They're all very easy to take out and all of their vechiles are pretty weak. With these new gangs though, comes new vehicles, such as bikes, boats, and planes. They're all just about as cool, if not better than the selection in GTA: San Andreas. There are also plenty of new cars, including three new ones that put classics like the Zenith and the Attrazione to shame. Even though they're now a lot more common in a Stilwater that caters to the heartless and corporate republican Upper Class, you'll probably want the three new luxury/sport cars even more. They are the 'Hayate Z70', the Ronin's offical car, the 'Bezier', which is like a MUCH better Attrazione, and the 'Superiore', which is like a Lamborghini Countach. Just don't own more than two of each or else, you'll ruin their rareness of owning them.
The graphics, which I've yet to mention, are incredible compared to the old game, and yet, still have that Saint's Row "toony" look to them. They almost rival GTA IV in their beautiful lighting effects and such. Saint's Row 2 now, also like GTA IV, has the "blurring" effect of when you go too fast in a car or quickly turn the opposite way while running. The beauty of the new Saint's Row really makes you appreciate your 360. Name-brand artists are now featured for the music. No longer any obsure, underground third-rate Hip Hop stars. Arguably, it's a better sounding soundtrack than Grand Theft Auto IV (At least in the Hip Hop department, anyway). This time, when you listen to the radio, it actually sounds like you're listening to the *real* radio, thanks to the more mainstream artists and songs. The one thind thing that sucks though, is there's only about half the number of songs on this game compared to the original. There's also no more custom playlists, either. Instead, you get your own radio station to replace your old audio player. But at least the music is from people like 50 Cent, Nas, Fat Joe, Joss Stone, and Kelis. They're not my favorites, but I know people out there like them. Unfortunately, Aisha singles are still circulating around... not much we can do about that, though. And no, Saint's Row 2 doesn't allow you to go to the Cabaret for a nice Sunday evening out, or have your character watch TV while you're watching him watch TV!
Saint's Row 2 is a bigger, better, more FUN version of the original! I'd rate it about a 4.75 out of 5! *JUST* slightly short of perfection! There are some little problems still around, like the ragdoll physics of your character, and the fact that a six foot fall can still pretty much kill them. Also, don't expect EVERYTHING to be new and wonderful! But, would you really want the game to not have ANY shades of familiarity in it at all, anyway? If you liked Saint's Row the original, then it's virtually impossible to dislike Saint's Row 2! It's very, very easy to lose coutless hours in this game with all the fun, exciting, and crazy things you can do. It's the FUN game Grand Theft Auto IV failed to give us! There are tons of enhancements and new features in the game which will make it THE game you'll still be playing a year from now! (or at least, longer than you did with that Rockstar title!) This is a Don't Miss! Buy it! Buy it now! You won't regret it. I promise you.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2008 3:54:21 AM PDT
Sal Paradise says:
Recently purchased this yesterday. You're right this is what GTAIV should have been even though I gave GTAIV a perfect score as a review. I have had more actual fun playing SR2 so far. The driving for example isn't screwed up.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2008 5:35:01 AM PDT
J.S. Knapp says:
The driving is completely polar to that of GTA IV - GTA cars were sluggish, slow to respond, and had a terrible understeer, always causing you to slide off course or miss turns. SR driving is tight - almost too tight. Cars are a little too quick to respond, and I don't have comfort at high speeds trying to navigate that I would prefer. It's not a BAD thing, but goes to that "half-point" below perfection as mentioned by the writer.
I don't agree that the graphics are great. It seems like some areas they focused on, and other areas were done by the "second string." For example, your first gang-hideout in the underground hotel. The path down stairs and through torn-up rooms is gross - terrible graphics and a complete lack of aliasing. Walk through the last doorway into the actual meeting room, and suddenly it's BEAUTIFUL - lighting affects, smooth, rich textures... You can actually FEEL the difference in graphical attention. Does it ruin the game? Not even close. But it's noticeable, and that can be depressing sometimes.
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 6:28:50 AM PDT
Okay, so I bought SR2 yesterday and spent about 4 hours playing through the game. I agree with most of what you said about the customization, and all the little details and fun things that you can't find in GTAVI. The only area I have to disagree is when it comes to the graphics. Compared GTA I think the graphics can not compare. And even the dynamics when driving a car made me feel like I took a step away from the next gen. console. I wish the developers would have took a couple of ideas from GTA though, like I can't stand that the character doesn't shut the car door when getting out, and at that he doesn't even break into cars; all cars just so happen to be unlocked! I appreciate the game for what it is (a sand-box), I loved the first saints row, but GTAIV put the bar higher when it comes to graphics and dynamics of game play... There are many things I enjoy about SR2 though, many things, custom cars, gangs, and cribs.. It's that I'm just so let down on the graphics and car driving.. Even when cops chase you, it doesn't have the same feel as if you were really in a cop chase. That's what I love about GTA, you can bust a 180 and fool cops, and the crash scenes are so much better on that game. However, I will continue to play SR2, but I would give it 3 out of 5 stars!
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 9:14:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 15, 2008 9:15:41 AM PDT
Why would any one want this to be like GTA:IV? I'm not sure if your parents buy games for you or not, but it would be like buying the same game twice! 62.99 is not exactly pocket change for people in my age bracket. The games are indeed "cousins" but they are polar opposites in presentation and gameplay. GTA:IV will always have the upper hand in presentation, but the Saints Row series has its own unique style of gameplay. It excels in the over the top, fun, arcade aspect and that's why I will but this game.
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 9:30:44 AM PDT
GTA4 felt like a letdown... its graphics & physics & driving dynamics were awesome, but where was the gameplay? It was dull in that *important* area.
So far this game has seemed to be... maybe too similar to the first Saints Row... but the improvements make it all fresh and interesting.
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 10:20:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 15, 2008 10:28:54 AM PDT
I agree with you, yes the game is over the top fun with explosions, gunfights, customs, and all other type of fun activities. I know violation did their best in steering away their opposites in game play, and I appreciate that. It's just the tiny details like car doors not being such that get on my nerves, it's something I can look over, but it's there nevertheless. They spent over 2 years in developing this game, and I've been waiting patiently for the release, which is why I was one of the first to pick it up. I'm just saying, there are little details that they probably could have improved on. I'm not trying to buy the same game twice, obviously, but I just would have like to get a little bit more out of it. I'm still going to have alot of fun playing the game though, I can't wait to get off work today to go home and waste another 4 -5 hours of my life on game play. There are alot of pros in the game, pros that out- weight the cons, I just had to point out the small imperfections just as I did for GTA when it came out... Also, at 24 years old, it would be an embarrassment if my mom still bought my video games
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 10:22:04 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 15, 2008 10:29:04 AM PDT]
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 10:32:06 AM PDT
Luv those crazy Sims says:
I was going to write a review but you summed it all up very nicely. I LOVE this game. I only played 4 hours on co-op with my friend and I had more fun with that than playing the single player in GTA4. I like the fact that when my phone rings, I know it's either about a pushback or someone telling me to drop by for mission info. I grew very tired of Roman, Brucie, Little Jacob et al. calling me all the time to go bowling, or go to the strip club. Also, as a girl gamer I love being able to play as a female and stilll kick butt and get tasered by the cops. Now if I could just find a flame thrower. :)
Posted on Oct 15, 2008 5:42:24 PM PDT
Personally, I cannot seem to grasp why everyone compares this to GTA 4.
I mean sure, they are both open freeroaming (Sandbox) games, but Saints Row is alot more of the "Over-The-Top, Wacky and Zany" style of mayhem, where as GTA 4 is more of a Gritty and Realistic look into the Mob Lifestyle.
Anyway, excellent review!
Posted on Oct 17, 2008 10:49:16 AM PDT
Excellent and very through review. You definitely helped convince me to get this game earlier than I planned, lol. I played SR1 and look forward to returning to "Stilwater". I am also a long-time GTA fan, but have found the Saint's Row franchise to be a refreshing change of pace.