Before I get this out of the way, let me start by saying that there’s going to be more than one mention of GTA IV. Saints Row 2 is a game that combines fun, absurdity, pop culture, violence and downright stupidity into one nice package. So it’s a GTA clone then? Well, I would go into detail about the comparison between this and GTA IV, but we’ll leave that for a few weeks down the line. You see, Saints Row 2 blows all other free-roam games out of the water. No superpowers, no deep serious plot, no deep characters, no cousin to ask you every five minutes if you want to go bowling. This is pure, thrilling GTA fun.
There’s no plot. But did you ever care about that in a GTA game? Well apparently you did so now every free-roamer on the market tries to put forward a story. Even GTA IV tried (and failed) to push a deep serious tone into its free-roam fest, resulting in… well you’ll find out. All I could gather from listening to characters was that I’d just bust out of jail and I have to go kill blah blah blah thank god for cutscene skips. I didn’t listen to the story, hell all I did was 3 story missions and then went trekking around the city. It doesn’t need a plot, no free roamer does, it just needs to give you balls out fun.
Where do I begin to talk about it’s stupid, morbid sense of fun? Let’s just describe an average ten minute playthrough. You’ll spawn in your house, walk outside, beat three people to death with a baseball bat, use cheats to make yourself a giant, drive to the airport, fly a chopper high as possible and then jump out and splash head first into an old lady. Who just so happened to be in the way of your thrill-seeking ‘bungee jumping with the robe’ idea. You can rinse and repeat this and add your your own havoc seeking ideas but really, anyway you play it, you’re going to have so much fun.
Combat is a real big charmer of this game. There’s two buttons to attack, hold down both to block, and you can pick up almost everything that isn’t glued down and beat people to death with it. I once spent a whole hour with my friend, using the midget cheat, just fending off the police with a stop sign. You can use weapons, of course, but really that’s if you want to be boring. What you’ll be using is either an RPG or a super shotgun thing that I found in the cheats menu. Oh, remember cheats? You know, the things that made video-games go from fun to balls tightening fantastic fun… no? Well they’re in Saints Row 2. All you need to know.
There are various modes of transport to get around the city. Choppers, jets, jet skis, giant boats, commericial aeroplanes, cars (if you want to be boring), bikes and a parachute. Yeah, remember those? Base jumping from a billion feet in San Andreas, skydiving peacefully in Just Cause and apparently doing the same in Ballad of gay Tony. It’s all found here, with everything else of the free-roaming world included. There’s even some set challenges for parachuting, and there’s little minigames in which you have to wreck the most havoc… you can even ‘surf’ the aeroplanes and cars, handstand on them if you like.
Also included in Saints Row 2 is the real killer of GTA IV (yeah I said that), CO-OP. Not free roam with fifteen randomers or just with one friend, waddling around Liberty City with nothing to do. Everything I’ve described above, you can do with your friend. You can turn yourself teeny tiny with cheats, and take your friend to the tallest skyscraper to whack you across the sky. A bit like golf without the holes or the boring-ness. I haven’t even got knee-deep in the character customisation, you can make an anorexic pirate, a zombie repair man and mine, a giant obese half-naked lady. I love this game. I love this game. I love this game.