Saints Row 2

Saints Row 2
Saints Row 2 Cover
Platforms PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
Genre One hour gangster
MtAMinutes to Action 7
Keep Playing? Yes
Buy from Amazon

Without Rockstar Games and Grand Theft Auto III, we wouldn’t have Sleeping Dogs, The Saboteur, and possibly dozens of other series, including Saints Row. But whereas Grand Theft Auto IV upped the realism to aggravating levels (managing relationships and awful driving are the worst offenders), Saints Row has descended further and further into insanity, basically delivering the same sandbox joy that GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas were known for.

I’ve never played the original Saints Row, and while Saints Row 2 seems to continue directly off from the first game, I’m guessing I’ll be able to jump into the gangster-filled world with ease. I’ve heard tons of great things about the third game recently, but the second one flew under my radar, so I’m not exactly sure what to expect.

Here’s the first hour of Saints Row 2 for the PlayStation 3.

Gang Bangin’ Minutes

I’ve been mixing up the format of this for the last few weeks, and Nate recently suggested we have sort of a theme for each game. For example, Space Marine’s notable minutes simply featured all the dorky quotes I heard. I like this idea even more than just straight up describing the important bits.

Saint Row 2’s first hour is pretty insane, so I’d like to present the events as candidly as possible, hopefully juxtaposing the craziness.

02 - Wake up from a multi-year coma.

03 - Fix my hair and makeup.

07 - Kill doctor.

09 - Begin prison escape.

11 - Kill guards.

13 - Steal cop car.

14 - Steal boat.

15 - Shoot down helicopters with gatling gun.

Saints row 2 Prison Escape

17 - Read newspaper headline: “Coma victim wakes up, kills way to freedom.”

22 - Begin rescue of friend who is about to be convicted of 300 counts of murder.

30 - Kill shotgun-wielding judge.

37 - Pour out a 40 over my dead friend to revive him.

40 - Read newspaper headline: “Gat found guilty, still goes free.”

50 - Sprayed septic tank juice on some mansions.

55 - Showered mobile homes with excrement.

60 - Gave some beach houses a feces fountain.

Saints row 2 Septic Avenger Mansion

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 7

You can’t say that Saints Row 2 doesn’t deliver on the early action. The immediate prison escape with exploding helicopters and boats leads to a courtroom shootout and tops it all off with me shooting literal crap at houses around town. Ridiculous barely describes the first hour of Saints Row 2.

While a few of the buttons felt “off” from what a standard sandbox action game would provide, I was pleased with how in control I felt with a gun in my hand. Aiming was downright perfect in Saints Row 2, and I had seemingly unparalleled control over the reticle. I’m not sure if auto-aiming was working very subtly or if I was just totally in the zone, but usually shooting can be a huge pain point in a Grand Theft Auto type of game. At least it has been in... every Grand Theft Auto game.

Driving in a new city like this can be a chore, but Saint Row 2’s mini-map was very helpful, blinking on what streets I should turn on to is a huge plus. I was surprised with the amount of driving involved this early in the game, and experienced a few annoying points where I destroyed my car on a bridge and absolutely zero other cars showed up for minutes, forcing me to foot it. Pretty annoying when I wanted to keep moving.

The courtroom level had me questioning whether my character even had a health bar, as I was rolling through there like Rambo. Police and guards were getting mowed down at every turn but I never felt threatened at all. In some ways, I don’t mind, some of Grand Theft Auto’s missions were obnoxious in how much you had to babysit your health, but a little life drain can go a long way in creating a challenge. This isn’t to say I did not have a lot of fun mowing down baddies, I had a blast.

But after the courtroom, I felt like the narrative abandoned me for a while. The game tossed me into the city with a billion icons to explore but no real direction. I was told to do something, okay, but shouldn’t someone be bugging me about the next mission too? Turns out, the game wanted me to try one of the little icons out, or a few of them. I’m honestly not totally on board with this and feel like a game should take a bit more control early on.

Bias: I don’t like the direction Grand Theft Auto has taken, so playing a game like Saints Row 2 is rather exciting.

Would I Keep Playing? Yes, this may just be the craziness I need in my life right now. But squirting poop also reminds me a lot of raising children.