Stolen Pixels #72: Idle Hands

By Shamus
on Mar 13, 2009
Filed under:
Column

Saints Row 2 is a toybox full of strange, violent amusements.

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11Just 11 comments.

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  1. Xpovos says:

    A friend recommended SR2 to me over GTA4. I ignored the advice, primarily because I was more interested in the characters and storyline-driven mayhem of GTA4 than the wanton criminality of SR2.

    I’m open to being wrong, though. Particularly since most of my playtime in GTA4 has been wanton criminality.

  2. Jos says:

    Well, the characters in SR2 aren’t really that bad either. I mean, they’re not exactly realistic or deeply layered or whatever, but they got their moments. Mostly during the Ronin arc, in my opinion.

    The story, however, is pretty basic.

  3. Julian says:

    I always preferred GTA4 over SR2, but for a very unique reason. I felt a bit like an outcast during my first days in the US, and I find Niko easy to sympathize with.

  4. Sam says:

    That is a lot of stuff to do. I may have to consider thinking about possibly purchasing this in the somewhat vaguely near-to-far future someday.

  5. Snook says:

    I played both GTA4 and SR2. I didn’t get past the first mission of GTA 4 because it was slow and boring (coming from a guy who likes games such as Harvest Moon, Final Fantasy Tactics, etc.) however, I loved SR2.

    I mostly watched my roommate play it at first, then decided to dive in myself, to see how it was. And it was fun, varied, inviting, and friendly. I thought the difficulty curve was superb and the overall difficulty of play was spot-on for almost anyone to pick up and find a challenge.

    As for the activities, they were varied, novel (spray shit all over the town? Who the hell comes up with THAT?) and well-executed. The fact that you got rewards for completing activities is like a cherry on top of the cake.

    This isn’t to say I had no frustrations, but they were mild and to be expected. Best of all? Almost no DIAS gameplay! HA!

    The story was a little bland, but it had the right touch of cynicism and humour to pull it up from “mediocre” to “interesting but not intriguing.” I actually liked seeing what would come next in the storyline, especially (as has been mentioned) in the Ronin missions, which were well executed. The characters were fun, but a little one-dimensional, though this fits in with the world they inhabited.

    Lastly, I love the edit radio feature. The music selection was excellent, far better than GTA4 (GTA:VC and GTA:SA had great music, though, so I dunno why they decided to almost eliminate good music from the game.) I made my own station with a heavy dose of modern rock, a smattering of metal, and just a pinch of reggae and techno.

    tl;dr: Game is good.

    Shamus: do you plan to do a review on SR2? I do hope so, I’d like to see how you enjoy it.

  6. Snook says:

    Excellent, and I’ll take that as high praise coming from a writer I admire. I’m looking forwards to your Overlord review as well, so far I’ve been impressed. By the way, I’d love to face off against you (or with you in survival) online sometime. I hear it’s hard to find other players.

  7. Zel says:

    Ahhh Saints Row 2 … I played it on PC, but the port is the worst I’ve ever seen. Even worse than GTA4’s, which is a lot to say. Horrible graphics, performance hungry, botched up controls, designed for a gamepad yet only recognize the X360 pad (others don’t work, mine (PS2 dualshock) kept pushing “up” for no reason), and so on… If you want to play it, DO NOT pick it up for PC.

    The gameplay is fun but my experience was very frustrating. The driving on PC is impossible (constant stuttering and too sensitive controls make you crash everytime you accelerate a little), which of course makes half the mini-games a no-go and chases incredibly difficult. Shooting sequences are clearly not meant to be played with a keyboard/mouse, and despite being an average FPS/TPS player (meaning single-player at normal difficulty), I kept headshotting everyone miles away with … a handgun. Infinite enemy respawn is something I hate, when they appear with cars that can run you over, it’s only making it worse.

    The story is ok, but I found the characters awful. GTA’s protagonists are bad guys, but never so openly criminal as these guys. You’re not an immigrant/ex-convict trying to make do while being manipulated by everyone around you, you’re *the* ultimate jerk planning drug deals and mass murders, all in between other awful things (a certain tattoo scene, a certain monster truck scene). Might be fun for some, but I couldn’t help but feel uneasy almost all the way.

  8. Jos says:

    Yeah, the Brotherhood arc was pretty uncomfortable for me too. Rumour has it even the developers thought that they might’ve gone a little overboard on that one.

  9. Snook says:

    There are those Brotherhood scenes mentioned as well as the Sons of Samedi ones involving offing a radio DJ (which annoyed my roommate once he found out it meant his favourite radio would die with the guy) and the scenes with the voodoo weirdo where we get a redux of the infamous ear scene in Reservoir Dogs (though both are a bit more willing.)

    However, I tended to look past this considering how numbed I’ve become to horrors like these. Thank you, internet, for destroying any semblence of innocence I had by the time I was 15.

  10. Hotsauce says:

    Been going to Cathy Guisewite for comic strip ideas?
    /I’m just sayin’

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