Saints Row 2by Stephen Cameron
September 15, 2008
The streets are a tough place, right? Waking up from a life changing coma is even tougher, right? Stilwater is even tougher, but piles fun! But being broken out jail is priceless.
A few days ago THQ invited us to Las Vegas to test drive Saints Row 2’s single player and coop gaming modes. Unlike the previous installment of the game, this one is jam packed full of new features, but more on that later.
In Saints Row 2 (or SR2), our past voice actors make a comeback, which include our Xbox favorite Keith David, who did some voice work on Mass Effect and Halo 3. Other big names, include Daniel Dae Kim from Lost, Michael Rapaport from Prison Break just name a few. We’re talking about a top notch production here.
The game's single player story continues five years after the last one left off. You wake up in the prison hospital in desperate need of a face lift (don’t we all). This is where your character customization kicks in. Quite surprisingly, you can literally make your gangster look as tough or as dorky as you wish. One of the other press individuals made the joker, just to give you an idea how flexible the character creator is. In SR2, the sky is the limit on character customization. Not only can you make your character look unique, you can choose a voice, a walk style, tattoos, jewelry, and a lot more as you progress thru the game.
Once you’re done making your in game avatar or facelift rather, you set of to various missions to regain your turf from one of the following gangs… 3rd Street Saints, Brotherhood of Stilwater, Sons of Samedi (which is Saturday in French), Ronin, and the Ultor Corporation.
The game is in the same style as the previous installment, a large open world with a pile of stuff to do. Also, the game returns with its tongue and cheek humor in full force. For example, one of the activities called “Toxic Avenger” (I'm sure it's based on the bad 80's horror flick) is your are hired by a real estate agent to lower the property value in a particular neighborhood, where you drive a septic tank service truck thru front lawns and spray the houses with….Well, I’ll let your imagination run with that one.
The combat system has also taken a new turn. You can now use people as human shields, then once you are done with them. You can toss them!
Now on to the real treat of the game, the coop portion. SR2 lets you play the story from start to finish with another player, how sweet is that? Each player sees the story from his or her perspective. The cut scenes throughout the game render without a hitch. There are several game modes in coop, but the most impressive one (other than story play) is “Cat and Mouse”, one player is in a vehicle, the other is in a military grade chopper, with rockets, and a large machine gun. Basically, the car driver dashes for his life, while your good buddy tries to take you out with the helicopter. Fun for the whole family here folks!
Hell, you can even do a drive by shooting, and nothing beats that with a good friend! The missions scale accordingly in coop from the single player experience. Making the story missions a challenge with your partner.
The last noteworthy item in SR2 is the music, with personal favorites such as Ah-a’s “Take on Me”, and Europe’s “The Final Countdown” these are awesome tunes for a child of the 80’s like me.
Overall, the game reminded me of the fun of Crackdown, but it has elements that GTA 4 was missing…the crucial coop gameplay.
If you were a fan of the previous game, then you’ll love all the new additions to the game, and if you’re a newcomer, you’ll love the open world gameplay, and coop game modes. So, keep your eyes peeled for Saints Row 2 from THQ, when it hits stores shelves October 14th.
Be sure the check out the official web site in the meantime.