Posted inReviews / Xbox

Saints Row 2

It’s back and it’s bigger than ever before… which was only 1 previous title, but anyway… Saints Row 2 brings back the mindless violent action that you became accustomed to, but on a bigger scale and even underground.

The first thing that immediately screamed NEW was while ‘customizing’ the character you play, things were fairly limited before and now you can even have…. A VOICE! Yes, did you get a bit bored of your guy acting like the non-speaking Marx brother (Harpo for those that know who I’m talking about)? Also, you don’t have to be male and walk with a limp, you can choose to be female… which kind of doesn’t make sense when you start off in a male prison that you have to bust out of.
The options are great with the ability to choose the sex, build, body shape, face shape, you even get to choose a taunt and compliment which would be like the good or bad response you can give to general people that say stuff to you in the street.
Facial expressions are pretty pointless unless you want your character going around looking like a loon, so the Blank expression usually suffices, but once you’re happy tweaking your appearance until total satisfaction, that’s when the fun begins.
Controls are the same as before, which means it still has the same annoying camera system as before where you kept having to move it behind you for you to see where you’re going. The only other annoying thing that still exists is the traffic that likes to drive into you when you’re going at full speed down a long road, other than that, it’s basically the same as before.
Style is the key this time, just another part of the whole customization aspect of the game. There are many, many side-missions and diversions you can do to make money and the money can not only be spent on clothes, which is also way more customizable than before, but you can upgrade your crib to look better than a dodgy cardboard box strewn craphole.
Spending a couple of thousand dollars will get you a classy pad with a clean kitchen and a picture on the wall or if you go for the Pimp Pad, you get stylish red walls and a few extras. You still need to purchase other optional extras like a bigger TV and a nice desk which, the full style upgrade to a nice desk is a stripper pole, how a stripper pole compares to a nice desk in terms of style, I’m not sure.
Having more style points leads to bonus respect points and there are more ways than just completing mini-games to earn respect points. Driving around doing powerslides is another way while narrowly missing other vehicles gives you a ‘near miss’ bonus, it’s only the sake of 3 or 30 respect points, more if you accumulate near misses, but they all count and build up to allow you to play more missions. The handling of vehicles has been improved and I found I actually had control of the car I was driving rather than it do weird things it wasn’t supposed to do.
Pornographic actress Tera PatrickVoice acting has improved although, the British voice is quite funny to listen to if you choose it for your character, but it adds to the humour that’s present throughout the dialog in the game. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud at some of the things said and even Johnny Gatt cracks some great one-liners.
The cutscenes aren’t too long, so you’re not waiting forever to get back into the game and considering there are a lot of missions, they aren’t too long either which is a good thing since previously, it would get a bit tedious when spending about 20 minutes on one mission.
Recruiting is a quicker process too which means you can have followers early on to help you out, it’s just a case of finding them around on the street and using the usual press up on the D-pad to call them.
It’s different enough to be classed as a sequel rather than just more with stuff they left out before or ripped from other games. Places may seem familiar when you first see them, there are subtle changes as it’s supposed to have been slightly redeveloped by Ultor who I guess you could call ‘The Company’ (if you watch Prison Break, you’ll know what I mean).
It’s a little more newbie friendly in the sense that it’s easier with the choice of difficulty, rather than get thrown into things at a ‘normal’ difficulty setting, you have the ability to choose from four levels.
Although the story is pretty extensive, a lot of fun can be had with the mini-games which have you  spreading muck over buildings and people, Insurance Fraud is still in there and something called a Diversion could have you trying to pleasure a woman.
The whole thing is tongue in cheek with lots of fun to be had, co-op and online co-op adds to even more gameplay to be had with a friend.
A worthy sequel that will have you blasting people and things away for a long time!