The sequel to the under-the-radar game that looked to compete with Grand Theft Auto has finally arrived, but will Saint's Row 2 be able to compete with the king of free-roam games once more?
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An Uprising: The story of Saint's Row 2 begins with your customized character (we will get into that) waking up from a coma, in jail, after the explosion that ended the original Saint's Row.When you learn that your powerful gang has been disbanded and that other gangs now rule the streets, you make it your mission to allow the Saints to own the city of Stillwater once again. The story of this title is quite weak at most times, and doesn't seem to deliver a narrative that is really worth following. The constant introduction of characters, most of which you will not even like, and the unfortunate fact that the story is simply not put together well makes for a boring plot.
Frankenstein's Lab: SR2 features a huge amount of customization options to choose from with which to create your character.You will be able to tweak the feel of your character in a variety of ways, from the length of your cranium and neck, to your voice and walking style. Each of the options do a bit of damage to your character's appearance and style, but most of them don't have a significant effect on your character except for your voice, walking style and hair color. You really don't feel like you have total control over who or what you want your individual to be.
Fighting The Giant: Saint's Row 2 looks to do what no other game has really even attempted to do; improve upon the gameplay that Grand Theft Auto IV has laid out.The city of Stillwater is huge, and there is a massive amount of things to do and activities to entertain you. However, the city does not feel nearly as vibrant or alive as Liberty City did in Grand Theft Auto IV. At no point or time do you feel like there is much reason to explore the city. Stillwater is simply not inviting and it is not nearly as satisfying to simply drive around the city looking for nothing in particular. The environment of Saint's Row 2 is not the only area the title lacks either, as the actual gameplay of the game is also lackluster and uninviting. The gameplay of SR2 focuses more on mayhem, destruction, and chaos then the more controlled bursts of energy that Grand Theft Auto IV employed (with success). The ultimate goal when you are running around on the streets is to simply cause as much havoc as possible. In other words, killing an endless amount of people in any way achievable, simply because most other aspects of the game are unentertaining. Even shooting someone or running them down with your stolen car is not as satisfying, as you do not feel like the citizens of Stillwater are even noticing that you are slaughtering numerous people around them. Rarely does any of populous of Stillwater even so much as jog away from you when you come at them with a car. Most of them simply stand there, waiting to be made into hood ornaments.
Pray 'n Spray: The gunplay and combat is ultimately what makes Saint's Row 2 an experience that does not and cannot compare with Grand Theft Auto IV.To start, firing any of the numerous weapons feels dull, uneventful, and simply boring. Whether you have a shotgun, a stun gun, a rocket launcher or a pistol, none of the guns feel enjoyable to use. All of the guns sound nearly identical and none of them ever seem to do much mayhem or cause much destruction. As for the actual hand-to-hand combat, the game fails spectacularly. You have the ability to "pull off combos" or simply slug it out with random button mashing (which all of the fighting boils down to). Either way, fighting with your bare fists is not personal or engaging in any way possible. This fact may be due to the lack of a lock-on and often causes you to feel disconnected from all of your fights.
Man Of Steel: Furthermore, the game is simply way too easy. It is entirely possible to break out of a courtroom using nothing but a crowbar or even a chair without a worry of dying.While your enemies do open fire upon you often, your character does not seem to take any damage whatsoever under most circumstances. It is far too easy to walk through a barrage of bullets, grab an enemy and then kill him without even a hiccup. In addition, all of the enemies in the game (as well as you) have no sense of weight at all. Your character's movements (in addition to enemies) are simply too loose and devoid of gravity or realism. On nearly every single occasion, upon killing an enemy they will spring into the air for no apparent reason and then come back down into highly unrealistic positions.
You Are Smoked: Saint's Row 2 also features a multiplayer mode that allows you to battle it out with other gangsters online or over a LAN network.The lobby system that SR2 features is terrible and does not allow you any freedom to choose what game mode you would like to play in. You are simply thrown onto a randomly decided map and then forced to play uninteresting events. The gameplay events are not very stimulating and most of them are so close together that between the signal that the last event has ended, the gunfire, and the signal that a new event will be starting it can be difficult to hear or see what you doing. The entire multiplayer mode is simply absolute chaos and confusion. The gunplay is still loose and tough to manage in the multiplayer as it was in the single player, the hand-to-hand combat is non-existent and the gameplay is simply too disorganized. It is too difficult to simply keep track of yourself, let alone kill other players and complete objectives at the same time.
Is That Smudge On My TV: The visuals in Saint's Row 2 do not impress either sad to say.Volition attempted to make SR2 look gritty and dirty, like a crime-filled city, but the game instead comes off looking undetailed and unimposing. The sound effects that SR2 features are also weak, to say the least. The game is filled with pointless one-liners that can range from "Just put the gun down" to "There's more where that came from". And those are some of the few one-liners that can be published. There is one bright spot in the sound though - the voice acting. The voice acting featured in the cinematics is top-notch and many of the cutscenes also feature some funny jokes.
Rent vs. Buy: Saint's Row 2 failed to perform up to the expectations, as it simply could not be held up to the standards that Grand Theft Auto IV set and survive as a passable "GTA substitute".The decent, but overall unimpressive character customization, meaningless story, loose gunplay, removed hand-to-hand combat, unattractive playground and unsatisfying gameplay heavily overshadows whatever positive aspect you may be able to find in the game. If you are looking for a "GTA substitute" then you are out of luck. If you are a fan of free-roam, sandbox games then simply get the real thing; Grand Theft Auto IV.
The decent, but overall unimpressive character customization, meaningless story, loose gunplay, removed hand-to-hand combat, unattractive playground and unsatisfying gameplay heavily overshadows whatever positive aspect you may be able to find in the game.
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