Saints Row 2: Bigger, Badder, Still a Little Buggy

I know that Bigger, Badder, Buggier would be a better working title, but it’s just not the case.  Saints Row 2 is FUN.

The graphics are updated, but the game still suffers from the tearing that its older brother had.  To be fair, there’s a v-sync option in this game, too, but then you take a framerate hit, so it’s six of one, half dozen of the other.

The city was FUN to explore.  I spent a lot of time in Stilwater from the first game, and became pretty familiar with how to get around.  So I was excited to explore again, and find that the city wasn’t some crazy departure.  The map of the islands were basically the same, and the only difference was it has expanded north and west to have newly developed suburbs, a trailer park, a prison area and more.  The neighborhood that your ‘gang’ operated out of in the last game has been pretty much leveled and rebuilt as a bizarre utopian community of the future by what looks like an evil giant corporation that we’ll be going up against later.

The music is a significant improvement from the last game, minus a talk radio station. I REALLY missed that station.  It was an over-the-top political pundit chat show, similar to the WKTT station in GTA4.  I can only hope it will be added as DLC.

Really, the only ‘bugs’ I encountered were when I was trying to play Co-op with Chris.  We had a HELL of a time, each getting booted one time, and various buggy things happening when we WERE connected.  I honestly don’t think it would be such a big deal if the game’s autosave feature wasn’t so negligent.  We would get pretty far in the game, making some money and earning ‘respect’, but when a crash happened to one of us, when we came back, everything we’d done over the last half hour would be undone.  Now, part of that is our fault, because we could ALWAYS have just saved once a mission was completed, but sometimes it’s hard to get used to a manual system like that for the first few hours.

The driving was GREAT.  It wsa nice to come back to a driving game that didn’t feel like you were driving on heavily lubed clouds (I’m talking to YOU, GTA4).  The cars were responsive, braked better AND they added a cruise control system that let you set your speed, then just steer.  THAT, my friends, is a cool feature.

It’s still cornball, over the top, wannabe ‘gangsta’ action, but it’s FUN!  One of the missions Chris and I did last night was dress up like police officers, and go with a sketchy producer and cameraman to fake a “Cops” type show called “Fuzz”.  There, we’d go to various crime locations, and beat the tar out of perpetrators until the guy got enough footage. 

My favorite part about the game is the INSANE amount of customization, from the curve of your top eyelid to the walking animation your character will have, the game lets you tweak everything about your character, clothes and car.  You can even choose from a weak selection of 3 voice actors.  Not that the actors themselves are weak, they’re actually quite good.  I just couldn’t find one to suit ME.  There’s a Hispanic, a British, and a “Gangsta” voice, of which, I am none of those.  I picked the Brit, knowing I’d get plenty of the other voice types from other characters in the game. 

Overall, I KNOW I’m going to like this game.  I played the first one from beginning to end, and my first two sessions with the game have been a blast.  Hopefully there’s some patch work being don to add stability to the co-op, because other than the two lockups, the going in and out was seamless.  Playing through that game alone will be a blast, but having assistance from a buddy will be that much better!