Life as a gangster must be tough at the best of times, especially when you’ve been blown to smithereens and the world has forgotten all about you. Saints Row 2 is the successor to Saints Row, a game that explores the world of Stilwater, where crime and violence is a way of life.
Saints Row concluded with a massive explosion, which the character you play in Saints Row 2 was lucky enough to survive. After receiving a complete facial reconstruction through plastic surgery, you wake from your coma in a prison hospital. After some serious customisation of your character, your first mission is to escape the prison.
One of the best things about Saints Row 2 is that you have almost complete freedom to decide what to do and when to do it. The boring linear style of gameplay (go to point A, do this mission, proceed to point B, etc.) is almost non-existent in this title. You can abort missions you’ve started at any time and there are truckloads of assignments to choose from. One of my favourites (albeit a little smelly) is the Sewer Truck mission, where your task is to spray everything in sight with sewage (human excrement, to be exact!). The missions come in several stages and completing them unlocks achievements and further objectives, as well as much-needed cash. Some of these tasks are also so over-the-top that you just can’t help but laugh.
The virtual world of Stilwater has also been considerably expanded in Saints Row 2. There are hidden missions to be located (Hint: check out the mall), a variety of vehicles to play around in (helicopters, trucks, cars, motorcycles) and an impressive array of weapons – everything from your standard shotgun to razor-edged katana blades.
The vicious gang rivalries that result in territorial battles for supremacy over Stilwater are still the primary focus of the game. But you’ll probably find that messing around in the multiplayer modes with up to eight friends will be the most satisfying part of Saints Row 2.