Postat: 17 mai
All legends have to start somewhere. The Saints Row series has become a major brand name in its own right, arguably outclassing the GTA series which it originally imitated. Despite that, it didn't really rise to greatness in its first iteration. No, what put Saints Row on the list of truly great series was its second offering, a dramatic improvement compared to the first game. While later games in the series offered further improvements in some areas, there are several reasons why many Saints Row fans cite this game as the best the series has to offer, and one of the best Open World games ever made. I'm not convinced it's the absolute best game on that measure, but it is at the very least in the top 5.
Why such high praise? Quite simply, Saints Row 2 has a near perfect combination of gameplay and story elements which suit the Open World game style perfectly, some which are hard to find anywhere else. Customizable vehicles, customizable player character, rich and varied minigames/diversions, an organically laid out city with surprising depth and complexity, wide variety of vehicles, weapons, and enemies, on and on and on. There is an immense amount of content packed into this game beyond the core plot, which is long enough on its own. Factor in the actual plot, the numerous side quests, activities, and diversions, and then cap it off with the sheer number of unmarked random distractions that Stilwater has to offer, and it soon it becomes clear just how much gameplay there is here, all of it fun.
And speaking of the plot, let's talk about that briefly, without spoilers of course. The game picks up directly from the last game, more or less anyway given that the player character has been in a coma for several years. The former conquests of the Third Street Saints have come undone in the years since, and its up to the Protagonist to put the Saints back together and back on top of Stilwater's criminal heirarchy. From there it goes a variety of places, some cliche, some over-the-top, a great many comedic, but also a good deal of legitimately dramatic places as well. Many games have that variety of tone and seriousness, but I have to say that Saints Row 2 does one of the better jobs of balancing those elements.
Of course no game is truly perfect, and Saints Row 2 has some flaws to be sure. PC version and compatibility issues aside (which there are several), the game includes a few frustrating design choices, particularly when it comes to co-op play. There are minor issues which the following games fixed, things like a complete lack of on-screen instructions for certain special control situations, like operating Tow Trucks. Beyond that, one of the biggest issues is that virtually anything one player does in any kind of menu will in some way prevent the other player from doing certain things, or possibly will pause the game entirely. One person accessing a car garage anywhere means the other will have to wait, and the same goes for some types of player customization. The biggest issue though is the phone menu, a vital tool for certain side missions and diversions, will completely pause the game for both players, effectively locking one player out of the game entirely whenever the other dials the phone. This is also true for anything off of the main game menu, and there are a lot of things which are. It's honestly one of the worst problems in the Saints Row series, something which persists even through to the latest iteration. Outside of design choices, certain missions and diversions have rather uneven difficulties at times, with everything progressing at tolerable difficulty until you reach one frustratingly picky/difficult part. Many games have this issue, but the missions in Saints Row which suffer from it seem especially bad for some reason. Fortunately, none of these issues are absolute dealbreakers. The game is still amazingly fun from start to finish.
What anyone curious about Saints Row 2 should take away from my review is this: Saints Row 2 is a truly outstanding Open World crime game, one of the most fun examples of the genre. While there may be better games in the genre out there, depending on your tastes, this is still the game which put the Saints Row series on the map as it were, establishing it solidly as a direct competitor to the then-untouchable GTA series. If you like Open World games, you should give this one a try. If you have any love of the Saints Row series, then you absolutely NEED to play this game.