Jump back into Stilwater in the second installment of the Saints Row series. This game picks up close to where the last one left off for you: your character wakes up from a coma in prison, where you’ve been for 5 years. After waking, you are recognized by a fellow inmate named Carlos. Your character then breaks out of prison Carlos’ help and finds that the Saints are no longer in control of the city. You meet up with Johnny Gat, who returns to after an impressive role in the first game, and together you decide take back what was yours. Working with Johnny Gat and others, you take on and take down the new gangs and even a corporation that have taken over Stilwater.
The respect bar system and many of the activities as well have returned; some new ones like Heli Assault, Crowd Control, and Septic Avenger have been added to the mix to provide new gameplay as well. The Chop Shop and Hitman activities have thankfully had an upgrade from the last game too – now you are provided with hints on how to draw the target out or where they can be found in the city. It is a very nice addition and actually makes these activities worth completing. Another nice addition to the activities is that when you beat both level 3 and the final level 6, you’ll unlock bonuses. Theses bonuses are very useful and well worth the effort to get them all. You can unlock things like shop discounts, damage reduction, and even infinite ammo.
This is also the first game in the series to offer a cooperative Story Mode. You’re able to grab a buddy and take down the rivals gangs of Stilwater together over Xbox Live or the PSN. While playing through the game cooperatively with Marcus, we ran into issues with either one or both of our systems freezing mid-game. Co-op gameplay brings a fun and interesting aspect into this game. Whether you are storming stronghold full of gang members or just causing random mayhem in the street it is always better to bring a friend.
The graphics in this game have made a huge jump from the first. I would say they are average graphics when compared to other games that have come out, but they are still a large improvement from the first game. Saints Row 2 does sport some graphical issues like its predecessor, which is upsetting. Any of you who read my review on the first Saints Row will know what a problem the glitches were in the previous game. Once again though, the music in this game is played over the car radio. I feel that had a smaller selection in this game and I had a harder time finding songs I liked to listen to.
Overall the second installment in the Saints Row series is an improvement on an already great first game. This game is one of the more entertaining games I have played recently and is well worth the investment. I would highly recommend finding a buddy that you can play cooperatively with to get the best experience out of this game too.
Note: The Saints Row 2 review was written based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.