THQ Saints Row 2
Hit the streets in Saints Row 2.
- Fantastic customisation, innovative cooperative play and online multiplayer modes, instant access to entire city
- Derivative design, poorly structured single player game makes side missions mandatory, unpolished graphics
Saint's Row 2 deserves props for its phenomenal customisation and inventive multiplayer modes-including drop in and out cooperative play-but it's derivative design lacks polish and panache. It's entertaining, but it's also outclassed by its competitors.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
When Eminem asked, "Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?" he was slamming musicians for trending toward highly commercialized tunes-his point was that imitation had only served to soften the edges of music. I couldn't help but think about that lyric was I played Saint's Row 2. It ain't the "real Slim Shady" either, borrowing too much from that other free-roaming action game (you know the one) to retain an edge of its own. That doesn't prevent it from being enjoyable but a few inventive features can't cover up derivative design and an inferior style.
Don't Drop the Soap
After breaking out of jail, you return to the streets only to find that the conglomerate Ultor has transformed your turf into a gentrified city centre. Rebuild the ranks of your gang, the Saint's, and ousting rival factions forms the main portion of Saint's Row 2's storyline. Doing so involves confronting gangs head-on in missions, as well as storming their strongholds to seize territory. Of course, there are dozens of side missions and extra activities available to bolster your reputation and strengthen your position of power.
No place is off limits the moment you step foot into the city, which gives Saint's Row 2 enormous appeal. Here's a free-roaming game that lives up to the definition right out of the box. Unfortunately, there's a catch-while you're given the freedom to go wherever you wish, there are hoops you have to jump through. You can't just tackle missions at your leisure; instead, you're forced to accumulate enough respect before the game allows you to start any mission. You garner said respect by completing activities and the variety of missions is impressive-they're almost all entertaining-but I didn't like that they were mandatory. Forcing you to complete activities in order to play through the story is an artificial means of lengthening the game and does nothing to enhance the experience.
There's also little to be seen that hasn't been executed better elsewhere. The few activities or missions that embark on new ideas tend to be lame or utterly trashy, such as the nasty Septic Avenger that has you squirting sewage onto people and property in order to rack up damages. Flinging poo, my friends, is not the next innovative step forward for action gaming.
Saint's Row 2 does impress, however, with extensive customisation options and a wealth of multiplayer features including a fantastic co-op mode; these features are what make Saint's Row 2 compelling. The ability to personalise your character in all aspects is amazing as is the ability to customise the look and feel of your hideouts. You can even tweak the look of your gang members. This bleeds over to the cooperative mode that lets a buddy drop in and out at anytime. Enough can't said of how great teaming up with a pal is in this game-after all, gangbangin' isn't exactly a solo affair. That, of course, also makes the online game so entertaining as well.
Please, Stand Up
These fresh elements prevent Saint's Row 2 from being a derivative mash. The core game, however, doesn't differentiate itself enough nor does it offer an experience that is superior to what is already out there. It's largely unpolished and poorly structured, and only when the game breaks away from imitation -- demonstrating a compelling co-op experience, for one -- does it come close to achieving its true potential. Unfortunately, the customisation options and multiplayer aside, Saint's Row 2 is just imitatin'.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Film Victoria backs women in gaming with new fellowships
- Nintendo kicks off 2016 with new Zelda release and new 3DS
- Expensive gaming desktops and laptops thrive in slumping PC market
- The PS4 is the fastest selling console in Sony’s history
- Assassin's Creed Syndicate PC review impressions: This gorgeous, mostly smooth game is no Unity
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- CCTest AnalystACT
- CCTechnical Business Analyst (Telecommunications) / Melb CBDVIC
- CCSenior PMO Analyst / PMO LeadVIC
- CCSystems AnalystQLD
- FTChange & Communications OfficerQLD
- FTNetwork Engineer | NV2 clearance | Defence projects | Immediate interviewACT
- CCSenior Project Manager - ComplianceVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (SQL/Oracle/.Net) 160129/AP/vhs-bAsia
- CCDigital ProducerNSW
- FTNetwork Engineer | NV1 NV2 clearance | Defence projects | Immediate interviewACT
- CCSenior Business AnalystVIC
- FTProject Manager / Scrum MasterNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst AGILENSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Java, Oracle ADF) 160115/AP/vhsAsia
- CCSenior Change Analyst - Multiple RolesVIC
- CCRecords Officer - CanberraACT
- CCICT Infrastructure Specialist - (Network Engineer)ACT
- CCData AnalystNSW
- CCSAP HR Functional ConsultantNSW
- FTJunior Project Manager | Permanent role in Canberra | NV1/2 clearedACT
- CCSenior Agile Business AnalystVIC
- CCMultiple Middleware DevelopersACT
- CCOracle Business Analyst / TrainerSA
- CCUser Experience Designer - BaselineACT
- CCBusiness and Financial AnalystACT