by: William Usher
; edited by: M.S. Smith
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Saints Row 2 hasn't grown up. It's still a morality-free adventure for the little devil in all of us. If you can embrace the immoral part of yourself then this game is for you. There's unrelenting joy in terrorizing the innocent and defenseless populace of Stillwater.
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The Good Parts
Saints Row 2 has amazing variety and depth in all areas of development, from the open-world design, to the fun and engaging combat, Saints Row 2 is solid destructive entertainment.
Embracing the part of the dirt bag is immersive at times when playing Saints Row 2; you can get an unrelenting joy and delight in terrorizing the citizens of Stilwater.
Each mission in Saints Row 2 tries to be more outrageous and the actions become even more over-the-top as you progress through the game.
Saints Row 2 includes a comprehensive and deep character creation tool that is fun, engaging, and satisfying to use. You can change your weight, height, age, there's four different racial profiles, you can fashion your facial features and even choose to be a boy or girl. There are six different voices to choose from and if you get tired of your look there's the option for visiting a plastic surgeon and doing a little tweaking to your face.
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The Bad Parts
The AI included with Saints Row 2 is a mess, game characters can get stuck in doors and even on a bench, one didn't know how to get in his car, and they're slow and unresponsive during firefights.
The console versions of Saints Row 2 have excellent aim control mechanics that allow gamers to lock-on at long range and take enemies out of the picture. This ability hasn't been transmitted to the PC version of Saints Row 2, so you'll need to run up and grab your enemy and use them for cover, and then dispose of enemies up close.
Saints Row 2 displayed a few problems when running on my Gamer Paladin F875 - Intel X58 Chipset MB, Corsair 6 GB DDR 3 - 1333 Memory, 1000GB SATA II 7200 RPM Hard Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX-295 1792MB Video Card. There were occasional frame rate problems when there was lots of on screen action, but fortunately they didn't happen often. These problems when they occurred resulted in problems with the aiming and cover mechanisms.
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The Graphical Story
Saints Row 2 has the same outstanding graphical presentation that the original Saints Row showed to the world. The city of Stilwater has amazing depth of field, while the buildings, characters, and objects in the environments have nice detail and average textures.
The character animation in Saints Row 2 works well, unless there's a lot of action occurring on screen, then the frame rate can occasionally slow down and cause them to become jerky or stuck in place for a second.
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Sounds in the Game
The sound track included with Saints Row 2 has generic rock, rap, and electronic tunes that were entertaining to listen too but weren't always playing when the appropriate action for the energy and tempo of the music was occurring. The tracks seem to just be arranged in any old manner and not specifically arranged to enhance actions or game play occurring on the screen.
The voice acting in Saints Row 2 is one of the best parts, with nice dialogue that's appropriate to the action occurring on the screen, and solid delivery of lines. The actors really did their characters voices well, all the voices have emotion, personality, and best of all attitude.
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The Story Line
Saints Row 2 picks up the story line where Saints Row left off, with you in a jail hospital where you have been in a coma since the gigantic explosion at the end of Saints Row nearly ended your criminal career. You wake up and escape from the jail, and then begin recruiting new members for the gang you'll need to take over Stilwater. There are three other gangs opposing your plans for Stilwater, and various law enforcement agencies, but they're all the same accept for the uniform they wear and the person who leads them.
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Provided your PC can handle the power requirements of Saints Row 2, then Saints Row 2 is every bit as playable as Saints Row or Grand Theft Auto. There have been no major improvements in playability but it will give many a feeling of deja vu as long as the technical issues don't haunt the game play.
The driving physics in Saints Row 2 makes it easy to drive around Stilwater, but unfortunately buildings and people will pop on and off the screen randomly at times, so precise driving can be a problem.
The side missions included with Saints Row 2 don't affect the main story line, but many are just as engaging, such as the dark tale of vengeance told by the Brotherhood missions. Trail Blazer and Zombie Uprising are innovative and inventive additions that are fun and entertaining to complete.
Saints Row 2 also includes a cooperative mode that allows you to hop in and out at will and adventure in Stilwater together or separately. There's also a multiplayer mode with traditional challenges like Race, Capture the Flag, Strong Arm and Death Match.
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The Final Word
Saints Row 2 is an animal with two faces, if you have a powerful computer system with a good video card, then Saints Row 2 is an entertaining free-roaming outlet for urban destruction and assault. You will likely still experience problems but they'll be manageable. If you have a middle of the road system then Saints Row 2 is going to be a frustrating experience and a waste of your money.