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Review: Saints Row 2

MrBrightside919 | 8 Jul 2009 16:00
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Saints Row 2 is not lacking good opportunities; it gives the player plenty of them throughout the storyline. The number of activities scattered across Stillwater is impressive. Unfortunately, you'll be playing those same mini-games over and over again until you either complete them all or reach the brink of your patience.

Playing every mini game wouldn't be so bad if it were simply a choice that the developer was giving the player, but in Saints Row 2 it's a requirement. The game forces players to play through the mini-games in order to build up their "reputation." If your reputation hasn't met a certain level, you cannot advance in the story.

While the game does offer an initial challenge in the form of lots of enemies and explosions, the main challenge comes from the game's buggy nature. Not only will you have to deal with enemies, you'll also need to keep an eye on the inconsistent frame rate and the incredibly stupid artificial intelligence. Frustration sets in when you are asked to blow up a small car with a machine gun from the passenger seat of a very fast moving vehicle while the buggy AI tries to keep the vehicle on the road.

Despite all of the technical problems, the overall fun factor is still incredibly high. Instead of trying to keep some shred of peace in the gaming environment, Saints Row 2 throws just about every rule out the window and encourages the chaos. Grab pedestrians off the street and hurl them into oncoming traffic, shoot down every helicopter you see with a rocket launcher or even drive your vehicle of choice through the local city mall.

If I had to describe Saints Row 2 in one word, it would be "freedom". The game doesn't waste a single opportunity to put the player into the cockpit of a mini gun equipped helicopter or give them a rocket launcher that holds infinite ammunition. The game really gives the player the opportunity to do just about whatever they feel like and that makes it stand out from the rest of those games that only claim to have complete freedom.

Saints Row 2 is not a Grand Theft Auto knock off, but more of an alternative. GTA can sometimes feel like its forcing players through a funnel, giving players more and more opportunities and gameplay options as the game progresses. Saints Row 2 does things with complete freedom, giving the player all the keys to the city from the start rather than slowly throwing them a few here and there.

Bottom Line: Frankly, Saints Row 2 is just plain fun. Even though the mini-games get boring quickly, the artificial intelligence is a joke, the frame rate slow down can be painful and the gameplay can be a little too easy at times, the overall fun factor is so high that you'll quickly forget about those problems.

Recommendation: This game should already be in your collection. BUY IT.

-by Tim Stenger (MrBrightside919)

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