Saints Row 2
Saints Row 2Saints Row 2 is an action-adventure video game set in an open world environment. It is developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It is the second title in the Saints Row series, after the release of Saints Row in 2006. It is succeeded by Saints Row: The Third, released November 2011 and Saints Row IV, released August 2013. It was released in North America, Australia and Europe in October 2008 for video game consoles and ported to Windows in January 2009. Before the game's original release, it was ported by G5 Entertainment to mobile phones.
Set in the fictional city of Stilwater, players control the same nameless protagonist, who has survived the yacht explosion from the first game, and leads the Third Street Saints gang. Assisted by the gang, the protagonist seeks to eliminate three rival gangs who have formed during the five-year period between Saints Row and Saints Row 2. The game is presented as an action-adventure in an open world with driving sequences, featuring online co-operative play and competitive multiplayer in addition to the single player campaign.
The initial release versions of Saints Row 2 were met with general approval. The Windows port was met with more mixed reviews. Praise was directed at the game's fast-paced action sequences and nonlinear gameplay; criticisms were directed at technical issues. In its first month of release, the game sold an estimated 400,000 units. It has sold in excess of 3.4 million units as of September 2010.
Saints Row 2 PlotYears after the explosion of Hughes' yacht, the player wakes up from a coma in a hospital ward of Stilwater Penitentiary, having received extensive plastic surgery. The player meets inmate Carlos Mendoza, who has had himself stabbed in order to meet the former. Carlos reveals that his brother was in the Saints, and the pair escape the island together. Upon returning to the Stilwater mainland, the player discovers that the Saints' old neighbourhood has been completely rebuilt by the Ultor Corporation, the clothing company, which, explained by Carlos, has grown into a powerful corporation while the player was in a coma. After that, and with the emergence of three new gangs who wanted control of the city, the Saints had disbanded.
The player arrives at a local bar, discovering that Johnny Gat is on trial, and that he is likely to be placed on death row, and that Troy Bradshaw, Julius' enforcer, was an undercover cop and is now chief of the Stilwater P.D. The player rescues Gat from the courthouse, and Gat explains that Julius has gone missing since the yacht exploded, and that Dex dropped his flags and began working for Ultor. The player drops Johnny off home, where he also meets with Aisha, Johnny's girlfriend, who has faked her own death to avoid police attention. With Gat's help, the player enlists three new lieutenants: Carlos, Shaundi and Pierce. The player, now referred to as the Boss, leads the Saints in retaking city with Gat as second-in-command.
Although the symbol and the gang color are still the same, the crew has changed. The player is now the leader of the Saints, Johnny Gat is the second-in-command, and Carlos Mendoza, Shaundi, and Pierce Washington are the new lieutenants. Since the church has been remodeled, the Saints meet up in the old 1940s hotel below the mission house, which was dropped below sea level year ago by an earthquake, and built over. Eventually, they rebuild the hotel in their private bordello and lounge.
The Boss and Carlos meet with Maero, leader of the Brotherhood of Stilwater, in the Underground Caverns. Maero wishes for the Saints to work with the Brotherhood to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but before things can be discussed, police discover the meeting and the three are forced to shoot their way to safety. Despite working together against the police, the Boss becomes enraged at Maero's offer of a 20/80 split of profits between the Saints and the Brotherhood, resulting in the two gangs going to war. The Boss shakes down Brotherhood mechanic Donnie, a former Westside Roller who use to have a crush on Lin, forcing him to rig several of the gang's trucks with explosives, and also burns Maero's face by poisoning his tattoo ink with radioactive waste. The Brotherhood retaliate by kidnapping and brutally torturing Carlos by dragging him behind a truck, forcing the Boss to euthanize him out of mercy. The Boss exacts revenge by kidnapping Maero's girlfriend Jessica Parish, and arranges for her to be inadvertently killed by Maero in a monster truck rally competition at the local arena. After interrogating and crippling Maero's tattoo artist Matt, leader of the local band called The Feed Dogs at a concert, the Boss begins to uncover information about the large weapons shipment. Maero angrily confronts Dane Vogel, the current CEO of the Ultor Corporation, demanding the release of arrested Brotherhood members, threatening to kill him unless he agrees to. Soon after, Vogel blackmails Troy to let them go. Although freed, the prisoners' buses are intercepted and destroyed by the Saints and Vogel dissolves further ties with the Brotherhood, taking over Maero's shipment as compensation for releasing the incarcerated. The Boss intercepts the shipment and launches an attack on the crippled Brotherhood's hideout. The assault is successful and the Boss kills Matt with a brick, but Maero is saved by his surviving gang members. Maero flees to the Ultor Stadium in a last-ditch attempt to ambush the Saints leader. The Boss survives the ambush and kills the injured Maero with a shot to the head, ending the Brotherhood of Stilwater.
Shaundi begins to gather information on the Haitian Sons of Samedi gang, and learns of their illegal drug trade. The Saints then target various assets in the production of the 'Loa Dust' drug, with the help of Shaundi's old protege and cellmate Laura. The leaders of the Samedi, known as the General and Mr. Sunshine, order their lieutenant, a popular DJ named Veteran Child, to kill his former girlfriend Shaundi, who had passed the information to the Boss. Veteran Child abducts her and takes her away in front of the Boss, later directing the latter to an ambush club. The Boss survives and threatens Veteran Child over the phone, then arrives at his underground club and saves Shaundi, killing him. The General then kidnaps and drugs the Boss and orders an attack on the Saints, but the Boss escapes and the Saints are able to hold off the attack. Through tips from an addict who was paid by Mr. Sunshine, the Boss uncovers Mr. Sunshine's hiding place, a meat-packing plant, and the Boss shoots him in the chest. Sunshine survives and Boss shoots him several times. When Sunshine reveals to be still alive, Boss uses the entire pistol magazine on him, and then cuts off his head. The Saints then co-ordinate an attack on the General's armed convoy, using the police camera system to track his limousine, and kill him in the mall as he flees.
Johnny and Pierce assist the Boss in taking down the Japanese Ronin gang, currently led by Shogo Akuji and his second-in-command Jyunichi. They successfully rob a Ronin-owned casino, prompting Kazuo Akuji, Shogo's father and leader of the worldwide operations of the Ronin, to come to America and handle the situation. Shamed by his father, Shogo orders an attack on Johnny. Several Ronin gang members are sent to his house while he is gone, where they tie Aisha to a chair and wait for Johnny to come home. When the Boss and Johnny arrive at the house, they are ignorant of the awaiting ambush until Johnny notices that the door is open. Aisha yells to him and as a result, her throat is cut open, and Jyunichi stabs Gat with a katana during the resulting shootout, hospitalizing him. In retaliation, Pierce and the Boss head to the Stillwater Airport to assassinate Kazuo, but Jyunichi spotted the Boss at the terminal and personally drove him from the airport before the shootout started, later accusing Shogo of leaving his father to die. In retaliation, Shogo makes an anonymous call to the Boss and reveals Jynuchi's location, leading the Boss to kill Jyunichi and several Ronin in a sword fight. Shogo vows to his father to avenge Jyunichi's death by taking out Johnny Gat. The Boss arrives at the hospital to check Johnny out, but is attacked by the Ronin. The Boss escapes with Johnny, and the Ronin cut off their deal with Ultor in the aftermath. In retaliation, Dane Vogel gives the Saints Kazuo and Shogo's hideout. The Saints attack and destroy the hotel, but the Akujis were not there at the time. Examining the wreckage, Kazuo once again tells Shogo that he is a disappointment. In a last ditch effort, Shogo leads an attack on Johnny at Aisha's funeral for humiliating his family once again, where Johnny and the Boss defeat him and bury him alive in the cemetery. Afterwards, the Boss is reintroduced to Mr Wong, an old friend and hated enemy to Kazuo Akuji. At the same time, Kazuo leads an attack on the Saint's hideout, attempting to collapse the sunken hotel. The attack is repelled but Kazuo barely escapes in the aftermath. Later, the Ronin make one last attack on Mr. Wong during the Chinese Heritage Festival, and the Protagonist fights through the remaining Ronin and across the burning junks in the harbor. The Boss and Kazuo have a sword fight, but as Kazuo gets the upper hand, the Boss draws a gun and shoots him. After torturing him for Mr. Wong to hear over the phone, the boss jumps off the ship, leaving Kazuo to burn to death.
Wiretap conversations in the Stillwater police station reveal that former Saints' leader Julius Little planted the bomb on the yacht, hoping to kill the Boss and let the Saints dissolve in peace after receiving threats of life-sentencing from Troy. The Boss also finds Dex's phone number and contacts him. Dex asks the Boss to meet him at the old Saints Row church to find out where Julius is located. Upon arrival, the Boss finds Julius, who was also told by Dex to meet there. The two are ambushed by the Ultor Masako Team and are forced to flee. Julius and the Boss drive around the city while being chased by Masako APCs, until they crash in the Amphitheater. After fending off the Masako, the Boss shoots Julius in the chest. Shocked, Julius explains that the Saints never solved a thing, having become the same as the gangs they had been fighting, and that his actions against the Boss were justified as he wouldn't have stepped down if asked to. The Boss, unmoved by Julius' words, takes revenge by shooting him in the head.
After the Brotherhood, Sons of Samedi, and the Ronin are defeated, Dane Vogel uses the Saints' overthrow of the other gangs to stage a coup d'état within Ultor, tricking the Boss into killing the rest of the board of directors after they had threatened to fire him. However, when Vogel attempts to take control of Ultor, the Saints stage an assassination attempt at a press conference. After fleeing to safety in the Philips Building, Vogel is met face-to-face by the Boss. After pleading with the Boss to let him live, the Boss shoots Vogel in the mouth, sending him flying through the top floor window of the building and down to the ground below. Vogel's death cripples the Ultor Corporation and ensures the Saints' control of the city.
Saints Row 2 GameplaySaints Row 2 is an action-adventure video game set in an open world environment, offering the player a large open environment in which to move around. The player's character is capable of maneuvering through the environment, utilizing weaponry and engaging in melee combat warfare. After successfully completing the first game mission, the player is able to explore the environment and choose how they wish to play the game. Missions are unlocked by earning 'respect' points from minigames and side-missions and although completing missions is necessary for game progression, players can complete them at their own leisure. The player is granted the option of instantly retrying the missions should they fail an attempt. Numerous checkpoints save progress in each mission, and missions can be replayed from locations within the environment. Aside from attempting missions, the player can explore the environment, purchase items at shops and participate in the aforementioned mini-games and side-missions. The player can also wreak havoc upon the environment which can provoke potentially fatal attention from authoritative forces. The player can recruit members from a friendly gang and use a mobile phone to contact friends and/or businesses, as well as to input cheat codes. Entering cheats will disable Xbox 360 achievements.
The player can drive a variety of vehicles which can be stolen, bought or unlocked. Aside from automobiles, the game contains boats and water craft, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, motorcycles, and other vehicle types. The player can activate a cruise control system on land and sea-based vehicles, which may aid in chases and drive-bys. Waypoints can be placed on the pause-screen map, leaving a GPS route between the player character's location and the set destination. Instead of having to manually drive, the player can hail a taxicab from cab services and pay a fee to travel to destinations on the map.
The player is granted the ability to alter the player character's appearance; modifying the gender, ethnicity, fitness, voice, facial structure and hair of the player character is allowed. The player may also modify the player character's interactions in the game, i.e. the player's movement, fighting style and personality traits. Clothes, tattoos and piercings can be purchased for the player character, and the colour or style of individual items can be modified. Set outfits can be bought or created and saved for later use. The game allows the player to modify land-based vehicles, after being taken to a chop shop. The player can equip performance modifiers like hydraulics and nitrous oxide, apply body mods and apply paint schemes to the vehicle. In-game safe houses, known as 'cribs', can be purchased by the player. At a crib the player can withdraw from the player character's earnings, alter the player character's outfit, replay missions/cutscenes and save game progress. The player may also alter the interior of cribs by applying themes and purchasing items like television sets and pool tables. Boats and fixed-wing aircraft can be stored at docks and hangars, respectively. The player can select from preset clothing fashions, vehicles, 'signs' and 'tags' for recruits of the player character's street gang.
The combat systems from Saints Row have been updated but many of the basics remain unchanged. While engaging in melee-based combat, the player character will perform combos and charge up attacks, and can execute a finishing move if three consecutive hits are dealt. With a gun equipped, the player can perform a groin attack, and can zoom in for a finer aim reticle. The player can also employ the use of human shields, and can use makeshift weapons pulled from the environment e.g. fire hydrants, cement blocks. Should the player either commit illegal activities or incite rival gang members, they will provoke potentially fatal attention from authoritative figures or rival gangs. The notoriety bar is a visual representation of the proactivity of the opposing figures' response and continual inciting of these groups will bring about a more powerful response, such as SWAT teams from the police. The player will continue to be chased by these groups until captured or killed and must reduce the notoriety bar by either hiding from the police or gang and wait for it to "cool off", or by seeking out a drive-through confessional which will clear the notoriety bar for a small fee. Should the player character be apprehended or killed, a small percentage of the player's earnings will be removed and the player will respawn at law or healthcare institutions. The game contains over forty different weapons, many of which have been recycled from Saints Row. The game allows the player to utilise new weapon types, examples of which include satchel charges, laser-guided rocket launchers, chainsaws and more. The player has the ability to dual wield handguns and submachine guns. Weaponry can be purchased by the player from specific stores or unlocked throughout in-game progress.
ReceptionThe console version of Saints Row 2 has received generally positive reviews. The PC version was relatively less well received due to frame rate issues and visual pop-in. 1UP.com gave the game a B, stating that it "relishes the hedonistic aspects of the open-world genre", that it has "plenty of innovation" and that the "excellence in the presentation makes the world of Saints 2 a great introduction for newcomers to open world games".
Eurogamer gave the game a 9/10, stating that it "is one of the most ridiculous and enjoyable games of the year". Game Informer gave the game an 8.75/10, stating that "in its own silly, b-movie way, it's a damn fun game" and a "profanely good time". GameSpot gave the game an 8.0/10, stating that "from beginning to end, this is one of the most fun urban chaos games out there" and that it will "keep you happily creating havoc for a long time". GameSpy gave the game four and a half stars out of five, stating that it "offers up a shooting and driving experience that is plenty of fun" and that it is "self-consciously funny in its irreverence" and "will definitely appeal to much of its audience".
IGN U.S. gave the game an 8.2/10, stating that "the core gameplay experience is extremely enjoyable". IGN AU gave the game an 8/10, stating that it is "big, dumb fun". IGN UK gave the game a 7.5/10, stating that it "demonstrates that there is still plenty of mileage to be eked out of open-world games" and that "there's certainly enough here to keep any fans of sandbox violence entertained".
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of The Escapist, in his Zero Punctuation reviews, gave the game a rare highly favourable review and awarded it as his personal Game of the Year, stating that he "had more fun with it than any other 2008 release". He referenced it a few times in other reviews, including as part of the opening of his review of Saints Row: The Third, calling it "...more fun than an entire swimming pool full of disembodied tits".
The game was awarded "Game of the Year 2008" by JustPressPlay.com. It also came runner-up in GameShark's "Xbox 360 Game of the Year" and "Overall Game of the Year".
Among positive acclaim, some publishers gave the game generally negative reviews. UK magazine Edge gave the game a 5/10, stating that "few of the game's details will stick in your mind for long, and its pranky focus means it rarely gives you anything interesting to do with the toys on offer".
GamingNexus.com gave the game a C+, stating that it "has to mature, or make a more convincing argument that it's never going to – and never has to – grow up".
Entertainment Weekly flagged the game as "racist, misogynistic, crude, cynical, humorless and stupid" and labelled it the worst game of 2008, despite previously giving the game a B and calling it "a larcenous good time".
The game did not gain a favourable response from New York City officials and police. City spokespersons requested that the game be pulled from shelves upon its release; NYPD union boss Patrick Lynch criticized the game, stating that "these horrible and violent video games desensitize young people to violence while encouraging depravity, immorality while glorifying criminal behavior".
Jack Thompson, a former lawyer and longtime critic of violent video games, called Saints Row 2 a "Grand Theft Auto ripoff", and said that "as is true with pornography, as is true with violence, the subsequent products tend to push the envelope even more". On Tuesday, October 14, 2008, the game's US release date, candidate Leslie Crocker Snyder and others spoke out against the game, surrounded by police union members who support her bid.
Governor David Paterson signed a bill in July 2008 requiring prominent display of age ratings on video games and mandating parental control on game consoles by 2010.
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