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Author Topic: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)  (Read 2640 times)

Mark

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Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« on: December 05, 2008, 05:53:21 PM »


The very first thing I need to do here is clear up the co-op situation since the GameStop clerks gave me incorrect info (I know, shocking right?).  The back of the box says 2-player offline co-op.  It also says it is system link compatible.

This game DOES NOT have split-screen co-op for 2 players to play on one setup.  In fact, you cannot even access the multiplayer option in the menu without having a live ethernet connection.  Period.

I can kind of see how this game would be a technical pain split screen, but it was disappointing nonetheless.

Unfortunately, this meant that Tina and I could not play the game in co-op and so I can't directly review that portion of it.  Reading other reviews, it looks like you can play the campaign in co-op and it allows you to also partake in activities/diversions together.  I'm not sure how it all works, but the consensus seems to be that it is executed pretty well and is fun.

That said, I might as well review the single-player game since the co-op is the same (only better).

First off, you need to get acclimated to the fact that you are playing what is more or less a douche-bag simulator.  For some people, this is right up their alley.  For others, they'll be irritated and put off at first, but eventually will succumb to the ass hattery since the game is actually pretty good.

The first thing that you'll notice, once you get used to the F bombs being thrown around like rice at a wedding, is that the cinematics are pretty awesome.  The writing is excellent.  The voice acting is spot on.  Even the cinematic direction is top notch with characters moving realistically and creatively.

How good?  They are so good, you could splice all the cinematics together (and there are a lot) and make a movie better than 75% of the shit out there on DVD.  I'm not even kidding.  After playing through the game, I sat there with Tina and watched all of them over again.  It's probably as close to a Tarantino film as you will ever see in a videogame.

The gameplay.  The driving is solid.  The shooting is pretty good.  I can't really say anything is executed badly in the gameplay department.  Some of the stuff may come off as shallow, but this is more than made up for in the sheer diversity of what you can do.

Even the standard "pick up and drop off" quests are done with style.  Instead of pick up package X and deliver it to place Y, you pick up a high-profile client who has "relations" in the back of your car with a prostitute while you drive around madly trying to avoid the paparazzi.  It's genius, really.

There are just so many things you can do outside the story (and you are actually required to do many in order to gain enough "rep" to continue on the missions, although you can certainly finish the story without doing all of them).  From lowering property values by spraying the city in crap to competing in a destruction derby to becoming a professional hitman and stalking targets... you are likely to pass by five other things you can do while you are in the middle of doing one. 

Even the cars you hijack grant you new optional minigames.  Hijack an ambulance and you can drive around performing CPR on accident victims (and earn cash).  Of course, you'll probably kill about 20 people on the way to save one, but that's collateral damage (you'll get over it pretty quick after your first hundred or so accidental road kills).  Heck, hijack a tow truck and you can be a repo man.  Hijack any car with passengers and you have the option to hold them for ransom if you can avoid stopping while getting rammed by cops.

The story seamlessly flows with the mission objectives.  In one scene you need to figure out a location to establish your base of operations.  The next mission has you forcefully evicting hobos out of their lair, which then becomes your base of operations.  In another scene you've just found out the location of a competitor's drug farm.  The next mission has you in a helicopter with a machine gun laying waste to the entire area.  Everything just flows and is setup so well, it doesn't feel so contrived.

There are just a couple significant flaws I want to mention besides the lack of split-screen co-op. 

First, the game is somewhat buggy.  It froze up on me at least once a day without fail.  Just random lock ups.  Things worked fine after a reset.  Still, quite annoying, especially when you are in the middle of a long mission.

Second, the car mechanics can be a pain in the butt sometimes.  The physics engine is really inconsistent.  I can be driving a 10-ton APC and a small sedan will still cause me to float into the air as I run it over.  You also will get stuck or stopped on obstacles more often than you would like.  Still, you get used to these things and they don't ruin the fun for very long.

I give the game an 8.5 on the single player scale.  If you have the right setup to play it in co-op, I can only imagine that will only add to the fun and variety that this game already has in spades.

In case it wasn't already clear, this game is not to be played by impressionable children or adults.  Terrible language, lots of sexual innuendo (it's all indirect, but it's still pretty flagrant), brutal violence, and pretty much the whole "I get what I want regardless of how it affects anyone else" mentality.  Keep it sealed away like porn.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 05:57:07 PM by Mark »

Mark

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Re: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2008, 06:39:14 PM »
I just want to add one pet peeve to this review.  After finishing the game, I actually watched the credits roll so I could see who wrote the story and other stuff. 

Once it got past the developer (Volition) credits it went on with a whole section for the publisher credits (THQ).  What the hell is this crap?  What in the world does the human resources director of THQ have to do with the development of this game?

I don't know, I just feel like the only people who belong on the product credits are those directly involved in the development of it.  They've got like "THQ East-Asian marketing assistant" on there.  Yeah, she was definitely pivotal in making this game what it was.

I guess I'm thinking from the developer perspective.  If I work my ass off to create and develop a landmark product, I don't want the CEO boner polisher having his/her name slapped next to mine.

Guild Navigator

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Re: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2009, 09:26:53 AM »
I've been enjoying this game quite a bit myself. I hope it bodes well for the new Red Faction that's coming out.

Alchemeron

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Re: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2009, 12:24:38 PM »
A friend of mine played through the single player campaign and really liked it.  Co-op is supposed to be keen, though... because when it goes through the in-game cutscenes, each person watches the scene with their own character, and then it switches back to gameplay with the both of them.  I think the guy from CAD played the game with a giant, overweight black guy in a pink jacket and hat on a small scooter.  I think I would really enjoy watching those cut-scenes.
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Mark

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Re: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2009, 12:28:33 PM »
That's funny.

Another cool thing is that (I've read) in co-op missions they split up the duties depending on the task at hand.  For example, there is this one mission where one person drives while the other is in the back using a rocket launcher.

This game definitely surprised me by how good and just plain fun it was.

Mark

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Re: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2009, 12:51:19 PM »
For those of you who might have been holding out for a better price, the collector's edition is on sale at Amazon today for $35.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_6716412_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000208101&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_r=0E8VYSKCD3RJ9ST3KNGT&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=457286001&pf_rd_i=468642

Pretty good deal!

Alchemeron

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Re: Review: Saint's Row 2 (Xbox 360)
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2009, 02:31:09 PM »
A friend of mine rented it for PS3 and loved it, so he recently bought it for PC.  Apparently the port is absolutely atrocious.  Oh well.
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