Saints Row 2 is a crime-themed, mission-based, open world game that looks to continue evolving the over-the-top gameplay formula of its predecessor. With many comparisons to the GTA series, it is no surprise that Volition have chosen to take the game in this direction to individualize it and perhaps gain an identity outside of all those comparisons. Saint's Row 2 has the player work his way through a vastly improved Stilwater, a 150% larger version of the city with new areas including a prison island, a power plant, suburbs, and some underground sections, dispensing of rival gang members and otherwise unruly denizens to reclaim the turf and respect his once lofty gang has lost.
Saint's Row 2 boasts many of the same features of the first game such as diversions (known as 'Activities'), as well as a host of new features such as varying degrees of customization including complete character customization, vehicle customization, and crib customization, a revamped respect system, new vehicles including jets, speedboats, jet skis, helicopters, and monster trucks, new weapons including rocket launchers, shock paddles, stun guns, and satchel charges, co-op gameplay, and online multiplayer.
Saints Row 2 picks up several years after the events of the first game. The Boss, the player's character who was thought to be dead at the end of the first game after being betrayed by his own gang members, awakes from a coma induced by a bombed yacht but is horribly disfigured. The game opens with a reconstructive surgical procedure, allowing players to freely customize the look of the player character. Upon returning to Stilwater, the lead character notices that much has changed, from building renovations that have added more high-rise buildings and apartments, to the situations that his old friends and gang members have gotten into. The player character must now deal with all of these changes and somehow restore the Row to its former glory.
There are four gangs in Stilwater.
3rd Street Saints - The player character's gang. The Saints were broken up after the events of the first game, and it's time to bring them back, stronger than ever. Their flag color is purple.
Brotherhood of Stilwater - A gang that largely deals with violent crimes and extortion. Led by Maero. Their flag color is red.
Ronin - A Japanese gang that deals with gambling and prostitution. Led by Shogo Akuji, though his father seems to really have most of the power. Their flag color is yellow.
Sons of Samedi - A gang that deals with heavy drug trafficking. Led by "The General". Their flag color is green.
The combat of Saints Row 2 is slightly different from that of other games in the genre. For starters, there is no lock on-targeting system, with the player having to free aim. This can be accomplished by either pressing the fire button when pointed at an enemy, or the player can click in the left stick for a more accurate, "zoomed-in" aiming mode. If the player has a gun equipped, the right trigger will fire, while the left trigger will melee attack. If the player has an inventory melee weapon available, it can be swung with both the left and right triggers. If unarmed, the player's melee has a sort of "combo" system; if the player successfully lands three hits on an opponent, the third hit will spin the camera around and cinematically show the character performing a special attack that ground his enemy. By holding either trigger, the player can also charge up his attack, making it extra deadly. A couple of interesting features of SR2's combat are the use of environmental objects and the human shield mechanic. There are certain objects in the game that can be picked up and wielded like melee weapons, like cinder blocks or chairs. These items can be dropped however, if the player is knocked down, and are not held in the inventory like normal weapons. Also, by holding the left bumper the player can take a nearby enemy hostage as a "human shield". While having a shield, the player is virtually invincible from the front, but moves slower in return. Also, by pressing the left trigger, the player will "execute" his shield in a way specific to the weapon he is holding. There are numerous weapons that appear in Saints Row Two, which include:
Saints Row 2 boasts quite a few activities for the player to complete, in order to get respect for missions and have fun.
The activities are:
In Crowd Control, you play as a bodyguard for VIPs. The activity requires you to meet a score by killing crazy fans that attack the celebrity. Special kills earn you more money, for instance, beating an attacker down with a baseball bat gets you $250, but throwing them into spinning helicopter blades earns you $1000!
Rewards: Clothing Store Discount, Pepper Spray, Chainsaw.
Race around Stillwater on a flaming quad bike, setting fire to everything and everyone.
Rewards: Explosion Damage -5%, Fire Fighter Suit, Explosion Damage -15%.
Drive around in a car and attempt to take out other rides, any way you see fit.
Rewards: Demo Derby Cars, Mechanic Discount.
You ride shotgun to protect a drug dealer as he makes his rounds.
Rewards: Infinite shotgun ammo, reduced Ronin notoriety.
In Escort, you drive around with prostitutes as they do their job in the backseat. However, the customers don't like media attention or a private detective, so you must avoid them at all costs. Sometimes, the client will order you to do something, like go buy some food at Freckle Bitch's or drive around at a high speed. Play this game in co-op mode, and one of you gets to be the prostitute!
Rewards: Vehicle Delivery, reduced Sons of Samedi notoriety.
Face off against other fighters in a fighting ring or prison block. You can't use firearms, but anything thrown into the ring by onlookers can be used to bash and break your opponents.
Rewards: Legal Lee, Troy, Increased Melee Damage, Pumped Up.
Dress up as a cop and take out criminals and college students for Stilwater's hot new police reality show, Fuzz! The variety of violent ways you use to "enforce" the law in Stilwater is limited only by your imagination. Rev up those chainsaws boys!
Rewards: Kobra Pistol, Unlimited Pistol Ammo, Police notoriety reduced.
Fly around in an attack helicopter with heat-seeking missiles and protect your crew members down below. Learning how to properly use the missiles can cause you to rain death and destruction from the sky.
Rewards: Reduced Bullet damage.
Just like in the original game, you throw yourself in front of vehicles in an attempt to rack up as much insurance money as you possibly can.
Rewards: Sprint increased, Reduced Vehicle damage.
Infinite RPG rockets at the ready, blow up anything and everything in an attempt to cause as many dollars of damage as possible.
Rewards: Crib Customization Discount, Flamethrower, Annihilator RPG.
Lower the value of real-estate by spraying everything in sight with fecal matter. Unfortunately for the cops though, they have to attempt to stop you by driving up to you and shooting at your truck. A mouth full of diarrhea is what they get in return!
Rewards: Improved Weapon Accuracy, Food and Liquor Discount, Septic Truck.
In Snatch, you take out pimps and steal their prostitutes. Be careful of the shotguns those pimps wield though.
Rewards: GAL 43, Infinite SMG ammo, Health Regeneration.
In Hitman, you receive a list of targets. These targets appear as crosshairs on your map when you get in range, however, unlike in the first Saints Row, you can kill them with any weapon, which makes this one quite a bit easier.
Rewards: Infinite Assault Rifle ammo, Hand Grenades, Satchel Charges.
In Chop Shop, you need to collect the cars that the garage wants and bring them back there.
Rewards: Buggy, Mechanic Discount.
The game also has Diversions, these are random things for you to do to get some rewards and just have fun.
Tagging has been redesigned since the last game, now you need to fill a part of the wall with paint, but you can't spray too much outside of the lines.
There are a few thing to collect in Saints Row 2, like CDs and other things.
Jump out of a plane or helicopter and deploy your parachute to start the Basejumping diversion. Land on top of the Saints' car in the middle of the bullseye to receive invincibility from falling damage, no matter the distance!
Taxi driving, firefighting, vigilante and towing vehicles. You saw 'em all before on GTA, and they're pretty much the same here.
Simply go to any of the clothing stores in Stillwater, or one of your cribs, hit the X button to go into your own wardrobe, then go to the very last menu option and choose to remove all your clothes. Then go out in public and a Diversion will start that will give you a time limit to offend as many people as possible. As the levels go up, the more people you're required to offend with your nakedness.
Only located in one or two spots around the city, generally at public toilet stops, strip clubs, or adult bookstores in the Red Light District. You and a prostitute occupy a toilet cubicle for sex. Pleasure your lady for up to 10 levels to unlock a pimp outfit!
Meet and greet the friendly citizens of Stilwater with some cold hard steel. Who knows, you might make a buck or two.
Saints Row 2 features a large selection of music from a diverse background. The music is organized into radio stations by genre.
We Are Rockstars - Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Death Of A Moralist - Daniel Mansury
Don and Sherri - Matthew Dear
Give Me Every Little Thing - Juan Maclean
North American Scum - LCD Soundsystem
Sexy Results - Death From Above
Special Effect - TRS-80
Street Justice - MSTRKRFT
Over and Over - Hot Chip
Through The Hosiery - Crystal Castles
Crossover Appeal - Guns N Bombs
Love Fades - Amnesty
Trespasser - Bad Medicine
Gotta Get Your Love - Chocolate Star
Keep Running - Cliff Nyren
Drugs Ain't Cool - Ebony Rhythm Band
Street Scene - Leon Mitchison
You Can Be A Star - Luther Davis Group
Wake Up Pt. 1 & 2 - Pure Essence
Look What You've Done To Me - Sheila Skipworth
Funky In Here - Dayton Sidewinders
Put A Smile On Time - The Rhythm Machine
The Cissy's Thang - The Soul Seven
Don't Get Discouraged - UPC Allstars
Anthem - Trivium
Bat Country - Avenged Sevenfold
Colony of Birchmen - Mastodon
Milk Lizard - Dillinger Escape Plan
Nothing Left - As I Lay Dying
Ghost of Perdition - Opeth
Stars - Hum
Resurrection - Chimaira
Unsung - Helmet
What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse - The Black Dahlia Murder
Redneck - Lamb Of God
Deadly Sinners - 3 Inches of Blood
Barnburner - The Agony Scene
Woman - Wolfmother
And She Would Darken… - The Twilight Sad
Cheer It On - Tokyo Police Club
Dead Friends = The Saps
Don't Call It A Ghetto… - Architects
Every Single Line Means Something - Marnie Stern
For Real - Okkervil River
Hazel Street - Deerhunter
Here's Your Future - The Thermals
Shoot The Runner - Kasabian
Western Biographic - Bound Stems
Call In The Debts - South Street
Terror - The Rakes
House Of Cards - Shipwreck
Third Gear Scratch - Shiner
All That I've Got - The Used
Lying Is the Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off - Panic At The Disco
Rock And Roll Queen - The Subways
Teenagers - My Chemical Romance
Hate ( I Really Don't Like You) - Plain White T's
Hole In the Earth - Deftones
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - Jet
Knights - Minus The Bear
Let Me In - Hot Hot Heat
Makedamnsure - Taking Back Sunday
Face Down - Red Jump Suit Apparatus
Coat of Arms - The Life and Times
What You Need - Galactic
Misery Business - Paramore
Trick Me - Kelis
One Thing aka 1 Thing - Amerie Featuring Eve
Tell Me Bout It - Joss Stone
Fandango - DJ Quik Feat. B-Real
So Sick - Ne Yo
Me & You - Cassie
Hands Up - Lloyd Banks
New York State of Mind - Nas
Gangsta Bitch - Apache
Sucker MCs - Run DMC
Ridin In That - Wale
Twinz - Big Pun Feat. Fat Joe
What A Thug About - Beanie Sigel
Good Girl - Chrisette Michelle
I Luv It - Young Jeezy
The MixDown Under - Men At Work
Karma Chameleon - Culture Club
Pretty In Pink - Psychedelic Furs
Take On Me - A-Ha
The Reflex - Duran Duran
Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
Out of Touch - Hall & Oates
Sister Christian - Night Ranger
Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears
Everybody's Working For The Weekend - Loverboy
The Final Countdown - Europe
420Hey Boy - Buju Banton
Stop the Fussing and Fighting - Dennis Brown
Boom Shaka Tak - Born Jamaicans
Who Am I? - Beenie Man
Ganja Smuggling - Eek-A-Mouse
Guns Out - Ninjaman
Heads High - Mr. Vegas
Here I Come - Barrington Levy
Krazy - Elephant Man
Picture This - Vybz Cartel
Murder She - Chaka Demus & Pliers
The WorldOver The Moor To Maggie - Greg Knowles and Mike Taylor
El Viento En La Isla - Liza Carbe and Jean Pierre Durand
Bangara Dance - Ravi Shani
Zahrat El Sahra - Roger Abaji
The Drunkard's Song - Viktor Mastoridis
Schenkt's Ma Mal Was Boarisch - Karl Barthel
Mountain Hut Landler - Martin Beeler
Mandilatos - Robin Jeffrey
Mambo De Fito - Liza Carbe and Jean Pierre Durand
Hungarian Sundance - Friedrich Sehl
Humours of Glen Dart - Greg Knowles and Mike Taylor
Hot Nights - John Leach
Gypsy Dance - Laszlo Borteri
Good Morning Polka - Jan Schneeberg
Friss A Rozsa - Niko Radic
Emerald Jig - Ian Clarke and Simon Painter
Drumjig - Greg Knowles and Mike Taylor
Connaught Chase - Greg Knowles and Mike Taylor
Cigany - Niko Radic
Barasilian Fiesta - Claudia Figueroa, Forbes Henderson, Tony Hinnigan, and Martin Taylor
Baidoushka - Robin Jeffrey
KlassicCoppelia Ballet Suite, Act 1, No. 1 - Leo Delibes
Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major - Handel
Sleeping Beauty Waltz - Tchaikovsky
Nutcracker Suite - Tchaikovsky
Hungarian Dance No. 5 - Brahms
Arrival Of The Queen Of Sheba - Handel
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 - Bach
Concerto No. 4 in A - Bach
Eine Cleine Nachtmusik - Mozart
Four Seasons No. 1 - The Spring - Vivaldi
Four Seasons No. 2 - The Summer - Vivaldi
Haffner Serenade No. 7 in D Major - Mozart
Moonlight Sonata (First Movement) - Beethoven
Music for the Royal Fireworks - Handel
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 - Anitra's Dance - Grieg
Ride of the Valkyries - Wagner
String Quartet in G Major - 2nd Movement - Mozart
Symphony no. 40 - 1st Movement - Mozart
Symphony no. 5 in C Minor - Allegro Con Brio - Beethoven
Symphony no. 5 in C Minor - Allegro - Beethoven
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - Bach
Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major - Overture - Handel
Marriage of Figaro - Overture - Mozart
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 - In The Hall of the Mountain King - Grieg
EzzzyNaughty But Nice - Walt Rockman
Marvellous Singers Remix - Marc Durst and Laurent Lombard
Love For Life - Sammy Burdson and John Charles Fiddy
Kalamazoo Style - Olivier Andres and Christian Seguret
Just Strolling Along - Sammy Burdson and John Charles Fiddy
Coconuts - Gerhard Narholz
Dancing On The Avenue - John Cacavas
Dolce Vita - Bruno Bertoli
Face To Face - Sammy Burdson
A Girl Like You - Norman Candler
Jarabe Tapatio - Carlos Periguez
Tooba Boogie - Otto Sieben
Walkie Talkie - Gerhard Narholz
Whistle Happy - Colin Baldry and Tom Kane
Tchoupa Twist - Nicolas Folmer
A Sunny Day In Heidelberb - Horst Jankowski
Swing Paname - Angel Debarre
Stereo Cha Cha - Umberto Pagnini
Colonie Celeste - Jean-Jacques Perrey
A Cielito Lindo - Carlos Periguez
Chanson Pour Toi - Alfred Jack
Bossa Cubana - Gerhard Narholz
Berg Und Tal - Gerhard Narholz
Bachelor Samba - Marc Durst
It's also possible to buy individual tracks, and put them together to make your own radio station.
Pack 1: Ultor Exposed - Matches you up with Tera Patrick, a disgruntled Ultor employee, trying to get rid of the corporation by exposing its seedy operations to the citizens of Stillwater. It also contains three all new co-op enabled missions. Also new air and ground vehicles, new customizations, and new Strong Arm multiplayer maps. This is priced as 800MS points ($10)
Pack 2: Corporate Warfare - A new civil has brewed in the Ultor corporation as Dex, a former partner from the first game, is appointed Ultor's head of security and is running a black market nuclear weapons operation. Meanwhile, an Ultor executive offers the Saints a chance to take down the corporation. It features new vehicles, customizations, multiplayer maps, and an all new Co-Op competitive mode. It is priced at 560MS points.
Pack 3: The Unkut Pack - It features over 60 customizations from clothing to tattoos. It is free content.
Saints Row 2 requires 6.8GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.
Saints Row 2 could only be released as a heavily censored version in Germany, since the USK determined that the game might be harmful to minors and likened it to criminal activity. The game has been so heavily censored that on Xbox Live, gamer scores for the game appear separate for the International version and the German version (which appears as Saints Row 2 BRD). The game is however still available from surrounding countries.
A thorough list of differences to the uncensored version (in German) can be found at schnittberichte.com. The save games of the censored German version are not compatible with the uncensored version.