To quote one of the best scenes from Farcry 3 °Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something to change.” Now by the ever-lovable Vass’ logic Saints Row developer Volition is indeed insane. Every single game has been the same mechanics, the same plot, the same balance of absurdity and occasional serious moments with a few variations tossed in to keep it fresh. Not that I’m saying Volition is the only studio to do this, no not by a mile, but the point is if you’ve played Saints Row the Third you’ve played Saints Row 2.
Having said that, it was free at the time I snagged it and still reasonably cheap so it’s a viable option if you want to go back as far as it’s worth. It’s in no way a bad game and too many it’s absolutely a classic. To me, it’s a decent, if at times half-baked, GTA clone that does a wonderful job of giving player’s freedom. Saints Row is all about letting your hair down and going nuts, it somehow makes GTA feel restrictive and constraining by comparison. Even when the filler jobs are the dictionary definition of the phrase I still feel like a kid in a big steel playground with an RPG.
Story wise, well you already know what it is even if you haven’t played Saint’s Row 2. You wake up after the events of the past game, in a prison hospital bed and have to escape, rebuild the 3rd Street Saints and take back your city yadda yadda yadda. Yep, we’ve all heard it before, it’s nothing new but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, does it? Like a lot of games, you’re not playing Saints Row 2 for the story, you’re playing it to blow things up, shoot people in the face and do it all while driving a solid gold car in a solid gold suit (with a saints purple trim of course).
In terms of what you actually do well, you run around a blow stuff up. Somehow this loosens the grip of other gangs on ‘your’ city. That and someone pays you for it, not sure who, maybe in Agents of Mayhem we’ll find out that there’s some mystical sky demon paying gangs to go to war with each other for his amusement. Not a terrible reason actually, very Saints rescue. There are a billion filler side quests such as blowing things up for money, taxis, races, spraying poop on nice houses and playing in traffic. This would be fine if only I wasn’t forced into either these or running around attacking other gang members to actually access story missions.
I’ll be straight with you folks it’s a good game. That’s it. It’s just good. It’s not amazing, it’s not incredible but it’s also not awful. It’s a simple and enjoyable game that knows exactly what it wants to do and does it well. I’d honestly recommend 3 over 2 given that 3 is currently on sale over on GOG and it’s nice and shiny. But all the same, if you want to enjoy a classic then Saints Row 2 is a good way to go.