Saint’s Row 2 Review-Yes You Have Played This Game Before and No That’s Not a Bad Thing

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Saint’s Row 2 picks up right where the original Saint’s Row left off. For those of you who don’t remember the story, you had it all money, power, bling and then you were betrayed by former 3rd Street Saints, who detonated a bomb aboard a yacht you were on. Then-mayoral candidate Alderman Hughes was killed but you suffered severe injuries and slipped into a coma, only to be taken away and hauled off to a nice, dingy prison hospital ward. Even in a coma a playa can’t get no love?

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In Stores Now, Go Get It!!

Meanwhile, the 3rd Street Saints, who had taken over Stilwater in the first Saints Row, have fallen apart.  Johnny Gat has been captured by police and awaits the electric chair, after being convicted of three hundred and eighty seven counts of murder (don’t worry you will beat Gat’s record in the first 30 minutes of the game :) ).

After five years, you have unexpectedly awoken from your coma. A young Hispanic man, Carlos, allows himself to be “shanked”, simply so he can talk to you (Now that’s dedication right?)  in the prison infirmary. After a heated exchange between the two when they are left alone, you agree to let Carlos help you escape. In the exchange, Carlos also reveals he has a brother in the 3rd Street Saints, however, never mentions his name, it is rumored to be Dex.  After a battle to the shore, Carlos and you escape the island and return to Stilwater. You find that Stilwater is just not what it used to be and neither are the Saints and you aren’t having that. You form a new crew of Saints, and set out to take back what’s rightfully yours.

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Every Boss Needs Their Lieutenants, Shaundi and Pierce

So the game starts as two guards are told that you have woken up and they make their way down to see for themselves. As they get their and actually see for themselves they both go off to notify their bosses, this is big news in Stilwater, bad idea but hey I don’t think they could have stopped what happens next anyway. So at this point, the character customization screen comes up and you can do a pretty decent amount of character customization including the voice, walk, taunt, facial expression and much more. You can either be a man or a women depends on you. After you finish this the doctor unwraps your face which has been bandaged up all these years due to the injuries you suffered from the explosion and she notes that you look different :).

At this point you decide to let Carlos help you breakout and the mayhem ensues. Anybody who plays Grand Theft Auto will really like it. When you play SR2, you will feel like you have played this game before but that is not a bad thing and you have. As gamers play through SR2 they will notice and eery similarity to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I mean in general the game feels like GTA, but some of the actual gameplay feels like San Andreas and personally I loved San Andreas. SR2 basically takes GTA’s playbook and runs with it. The map is huge and you can go almost anywhere and do anything. Just like GTA, any vehicle you see is jackable. You have access to some serious weaponry. I gotta say that Volition did a lot right in this title.

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Time To Take Back Tha Row!!

The gameplay is really, really good. The controls are easy to learn and use. All the vehicles handle just like their real world counterparts. The only major flaw with this game is the weapons selection. To select a weapon, you have to hold Circle, and then use this kind of rotary system to select a weapon. It’s not bad but more than once I have managed to pick the wrong weapon by accident. Speaking of the weaponry, you would be amazed at how fast the weapons run out of ammo. This happens because each gang you have to do battle with uses different weapons so if you are carrying different weapons then you can’t use their ammo. When you do run out of ammo, you switch to your melee weapons and this can be fun all in itself, you can do some serious damages with a Samurai sword, especially if you do a combo by alternately pressing L2 and R2. The only other thing that might annoy you is the way the mission system works, you have to get enough respect to play missions. As you fill up your respect bar by doing all kinds of crazy things you will get a multiplier on the bar, which will let you know how many missions you can complete before you need to get more respect. This is ok but can get annoying if you don’t realize it and you keep going to missions and it keeps telling you that you don’t have enough respect. So remember, do the side activities and those will give you tons of respect that should allow you to get several respect multipliers and get to a point where this doesn’t become such an issue.

The game also offers the ability for your friends to actually join you during your campaign and play through just like in the most recent GTA. The game does not have a cover system which would have helped at certain points but you are more than well equipped to handle just about anything. The game is laid out very simple, you need to make money, complete missions to take over neighborhoods, and eventually take back Stilwater. To do this you will have to earn respect by doing things like killing rival gang members, performing tricks, and successfully completing certain side missions. The side missions are addictive, from driving escorts around with famous clients while trying to avoid the paparazzi to Mayhem mode where your job is to cause a set amount of damage in a set amount of time. This mode is particularly fun,you have all of the weapons and unlimited ammo on them. I just ran around throwing grenades everywhere, excellent. There are several side games, just look on your map and you will find them.

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I had to throw it in :)

I think that anyone who likes the GTA series will like Saint’s Row 2, I don’t know how you could not as if you didn’t have the names on it, it could easily be mistaken for a part of the series. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. The only thing is that if you are going to take so much from another title you better deliver and to Volition’s Credit they do. There are no major glitches as far as I could tell in SR2 and while the story isn’t really that deep it does have enough twist to keep you interested and is appropriate for the game. The voice work for the main characters is top-notch also. Besides the things I mentioned above it is hard to find something not to like about Saint’s Row 2. In a year that has and will see so many great titles it will probably be lost in the shuffle, but it is definitely better than a lot of games I have played this year and you guys know that I have pretty much played them all. However, Volition may see more gamers picking this title up due to the massive issues with Socom:Confrontation and the recent news that Little Big Planet has been pushed back a week. To me if you have the time this is a definite pick up and that’s why I give Saint’s Row 2 from Volition 4.4 out of 5.0 stars. As I said they did a lot right and if you like GTA I see no reason why you won’t love this.

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Lorenzo Winfrey

Editor-In-Chief at ZoKnowsGaming
I am the Co-Ceo of DLT Digital Media. We are a company that is focused on developing new and innovative web properties in addition to developing WordPress based web sites for others. But before I was all that, I was a gamer.