SAINTS ROW 2 XBOX 360 REVIEW

THQ follows up the original Saints Row with a raving attitude exemplified by relentless action. Entitled Saints Row 2, it is one of the better fast-paced urban assault titles on the next generation console. You might see it as a GTA clone but you’ll soon notice that the gameplay is anything but an imitation. While the game portrays a much lighter biographical sketch of gangster life when compared to GTA IV’s more mature content, there is still plenty of merciless drive-and-shoot schematics to the story. Needless to say, what makes Saints Row 2 ultimately satisfying is its shameless mayhem and free-roaming design.

The story picks up after the tragic explosion in the original Saints Row. You have taken serious injuries and you’re spending most of your recuperating moments in a dingy jail hospital. An outside contact, who got himself in prison deliberately, shows up to your resting quarter to deliver the good news: a chance to escape the penitentiary compound. After a few minutes of conversation, you and your running inmate bail out of the medical facility and sprint towards the main gate entrance; but before the criminal upheaval begins, the games takes you first to the character creation screen to establish your insidious personal profile.

Designing your own despicable persona in Saints Row 2 is a jocular process, one that will certainly inspire and amuse those malevolent minds into developing very eccentric characters. You’re given a wealth of creative options, including modification to weight, age, race, and types of profanity you can use during your terroristic rampage. The whole customization aspect is quite extensive and subtle enhancements can make a drastic change to your appearance whether you choose a male or female figure. Of course, you can always go back to fine-tuning these physical aspects anytime by visiting your local plastic surgeon at your crib.

The majority of your missions is comprised of stealing random cars, ambushing your targets, and killing everything that moves in the foreground. This act of violence may seem repetitive but rest assured that each objective carries an opportunity to do something different, which keeps the action full of suspense. For instance, one of the missions calls for robbing a bank, but come to find out it’s not the money in the vault that is of value but taking a hostage for leverage. Other missions contains dark episodes like poisoning the leader of the Brotherhood by contaminating their tattoo ink with nuclear waste. Sometimes, it’s all about vengeance, and the way to resolve the ongoing conflict is to get even. The best part of each mission is that it comes with a great cinematic cutscene that accentuates the drama behind the story.

One of the aspects that makes Saints Row 2 such a gripping performance is the tight controls. The combat system, particularly its aiming mechanism, is right on cue; so it’s easy to target someone in the body part of your choosing and take him down with little effort. The shooting portion of Saints Row 2 is fun. Going into a firefight is a rush and always on the edge; you’ll be counting on your quick fingers to nail down your opposition. If fights are getting too hot to handle, there is at least one handy move in your arsenal – and that is the ability to grab enemies and use them as human shield. Of course, you can always use cars as an alternative weapon to mow down the hostility that surrounds you…..and make your great escape.

It’s always a laughter to see the physics work in this game, which goes well with Saint Rows 2’s witty content. Bodies react with extreme exaggeration to every collision, and they are thrown 20 feet in the air like you’re snapping a football for a field goal. However, what’s going to make Saints Row 2 boosts its replay value is not the humor that goes into the game but the mini excursions outside its main storyline. Saints Row 2 is composed of various side quests that will certainly give you plenty of successive diversion. These activities provide a good breather from the frantic core missions and just let you have some great fun!

Among the side quest you’ll take part in, Trail Blazer provides the most insane challenge! In this mode, you’ll be riding like a typical daredevil on a sporty ATV. The twist is that you’ll be wearing a fireproof suit that is on fire. The objective is to inflict as much damage as possible by lighting cars and people in flames. You’ll be running against time as you scorch the streets of Stilwater for anything that is combustible. But if you want pure frenzy, you’ll definitely want to check out the “Zombie “Uprising”. This is accessible on the TV portion of your crib, and it’s the best diversion we have played amongst the mini games that are available.

What makes the Zombie mini game an instant attraction is the progressive pressure to do every means necessary to survive. Your main task is to decimate the continuing onslaught of zombies in your wake; but that effort is heightened by the limited access to guns that run out of ammo as well as close-combat weapons that break after a few strikes; therefore, you’ll need to constantly run around to salvage for additional weapons to defeat these bloodsucking creatures. Fortunately, you have a backup of courageous folks that provide some countermeasures. Obviously, there is no end to this Zombie infestation; they just grow in numbers, and it becomes more challenging to survive and to resurrect your fallen comrades.

Saints Row 2 gives you the ability to play co-op with a friend via system link. What’s nice about it is that you’re not bounded together to accomplish one objective. Your partner can tackle half of the mission, while you go about your own path of destruction. Just make sure your friend understands that there’s a domino effect to every action. One person’s mishap will trigger unwanted attention from cops or other forms of opposition, and that could sabotage the frivolity of your vandalizing. Because teamwork is key to a successful heist, you can expect some engaging action sequence here. It’s nice to see the game expands on the idea of having a partner in crime, but it would be better if Volition implements a split-screen option.

Graphically, the game looks a lot smoother than its predecessor, everything from special effects to the textures in the background. Volition did a good job of creating a city torn by corruption and overrunning it by ruthless mobsters fighting for new territories. We like the fact that the game loads relatively quickly, which keeps the tone of the action pumped up! Thanks to the steady frame rate, the translation of both shooting and fighting sequences move at a seamless pace, even when everything is happening all at once. In the audio department, the game maintains its respectable blast of noises for the most part, but the one aspect you’ll appreciate most about the sound system is the variety of radio music you can listen to.

Saints Row 2 is an impressive action adventure overall. The game does a good job of delivering the role of a gangster without the consequence of doing real jail time. Thanks to the great storyline, you’ll never run out of opportunities to do something different in your menace to society. But what makes Saints Row 2 such an urban hit on the Xbox 360 is its exceptional freedom to sculpt your own path of destruction. Needless to say, the game incorporates several other interesting properties toward extending its replay value, more notably the mini side quests and the cooperative option that serve to keep things fresh. If you’re looking for a marathon of lawlessness, you’ll definitely find that connection in Saints Row 2.

FINAL SCORE: 8.0 OUT OF 10