Saints Row 2 Impressions

It’s the sense of immersion and scale, really.  Saints Row 2, continuing directly on from the first game, offers up more from the off than any other similar ‘sandbox’ game.  Once you’re through the tutorial you’re essentially free to explore and take advantage of the entire city, which is loosely based on Detroit and Chicago, and it seems everything Volition have done since the original has made this game a better one.

Firstly, the visuals have been switched up a notch.  Sure, there’s occasional tearing if you play the game at 60fps, but if you switch the v-sync on it’s a rock solid 30fps, and given the massive draw distances and boosted textures at times Saints Row 2 looks stunning, given the genre.  The world just looks grittier, more realistic, and the animation, shadowing and dynamic weather (and time) all add to the experience.

The AI is also much better, with pedestrians going about their business and reacting better to your actions and the environment around them, and although the acting is intentionally hammy, the cut-scenes hold up well and the script is dry and witty.  We’ve only got through the first few hours of the story mode, but already we’ve been taking part in some crazy missions interspersed with some fun activities, of which Saints Row 2 has a number of new ones.

The game has loads of variety, plenty to see and do and a huge sense of fun.  It’s quicker and slicker than GTA IV, has far deeper customisation (car modding!), is massively more entertaining and sports a killer co-op mode that enables two players to play through the game together.  We’ll have the full review once we’ve beaten the game, but just wanted to let you know that it’s great so far, and look forward to some TSA games online in a few days.