Saints Row 2 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Saints Row 2 box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Volition 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: THQ 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 14, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The presentation in SR2 is made up of excellent music and voice acting and terribly mediocre visuals. A wide variety of music, including a load of quality hip hop, can be enjoyed. Players can even create their own playlists. Furthermore, the voice acting in SR2 is surprisingly good. In fact, it is every bit as good as that found in the competition; the line delivery is topnotch. It certainly doesn't hurt that the writing is also of first-rate. I found myself frequently giggling at the crude banter.

Saints Row 2 screenshot

Unlike the high quality sound in SR2, the visuals are truly substandard for the current generation of consoles. In fact, SR2's graphics are on par with that of San Andreas, but they are also full of technical issues. Character models, especially hair, are blocky and artificial, animations are so stiff they make melee combat unwieldy, the environments are devoid of substantial detail, and the amount of pop-in is quite rough. There are also innumerable instances of utterly poor collision detection, cars and people that appear out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly, and even framerate issues that rack and shutter throughout the action. All in all, the graphical effort in SR2 seems downright amateurish.

With all this in mind, SR2 is a game for those who preferred the mindless and wanton acts of violence in GTA as opposed to the compelling story, attention to detail, interesting character development, and overall cinematic experience. I, for one, quickly became bored with this title because there is almost no challenge to be found. For starters, the enemy A.I. is an absolute joke: Players can walk around Stilwater, guns in hand, with no repercussions; police officers and rival gangs never take cover, and it seems as though throwing wave after wave of bodies at you is the only tactic your foes can muster.

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Additionally, you'll almost never die. In fact, it will take twenty or more shotgun blasts from less than five feet to even get you to stagger. Pair this with regenerating health and your character is more similar to Superman than a gang banger. Moreover, not dissimilar to GTA IV, the over-the-shoulder, third-person shooter mechanic is woefully simple. It takes absolutely no skill to turn a room of enemies into corpses. I guess the intentionally surreal nature of the title is supposed to make players feel heroic, but for me it was just a yawn-inducing waste of time.

If this game was purely a shooter, it would fail miserably! The graphics are not pretty and the simplistic combat is even worse. Fortunately for the development and production team, the game does capture a sense of mayhem and carnage that will undoubtedly find favor with its intended audience. But if you're looking for a more cerebral or skillful challenge, you may have to look elsewhere. This game is little more than a lowbrow, yet humorous, thug-life simulator.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
1.7
Graphics
The sheer amount of technical issues and blasé, last-gen environments leave a lot to be desired.
3.3
Control
Controls, with the exception of melee combat, are functional. However, the utter simplicity quickly leads to boredom.
4.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The varied musical genres, excellent selections, and great voice work really shine.
4.0
Play Value
With many missions, online modes, and visceral gameplay, fans of the genre have a lot to enjoy.
3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Limitless Customization: Play as fully customizable characters that are male, female, or something in between.
  • Vehicles can be visually customized as well as performance tuned. Cribs and even gangs all have an amazing degree of detailed customization options.
  • Multiplayer: Co-op campaign has seamless integration.
  • Competitive MP pushes the boundaries of immersion in a living Stillwater environment fully populated with police, innocent bystanders, and rival gangs.
  • Killer Combat and Awesome Vehicles: Planes, helicopters, motorcycles, boats, and cars can be piloted and used as weapons. On the ground new combat options include melee, fine aim, and human shield.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Saints Row 2 screenshot - click to enlarge

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