Saints Row 2 Review
Welcome to Stilwater. Don't let the deceptively tranquil name fool you, this is one of the most outrageous and incident packed metropolises in gaming.
The shadow of the Grand Theft Auto franchise is certainly a foreboding and unforgiving place from which to win the attention of the often fickle gaming masses. The undeniable similarities between the two series’ subsequently results in the inevitable comparing and contrasting process, an outcome that could quite easily discredit a game like Saints Row 2 both unfairly and unjustly. Citing influence is one thing, but SR2 is certainly not aiming to settle for being labelled as a direct ‘clone’ of Rockstar’s centre stage attraction. In fact, the title is jam packed with weird, wonderful and distinctly unique features that make it one of the most entertaining and accessible sandboxers on the shelves.
The fictional metropolis of Stilwater is once again the playground for the player to explore and eradicate, and the scale of the city is sufficient enough to avoid certain areas becoming overtly repetitive. Your primary objective is to break out of the Stilwater correctional facility after moulding your protagonist’s appearance and personality depending on your serious or comic persuasion. This could involve anything from a lean mean African American gangbanger to a morbidly obese, cockney transsexual.
The brilliantly in-depth customisation system that SR2 employs is in place throughout the city, and covers everything from car modding, crib renovation and gang style to personalised radio stations, tattoo parlours, clothing stores and perhaps the finest touch; the ability to completely reinvent your character’s features and attributes at a plastic surgeon. The result of the aforementioned is a real sense of connection with your character. As you’ve shaped him/her into the image of your choosing, the playing experience becomes a far more personal affair than attempting to forge a relationship with an otherwise mundane central figure. It’s highly likely that two separate players will twist and tweak the customisation options to such an extent that the overall feel of the game will differ greatly. Of course, there is a set storyline throughout meaning that that the actual plotline will always remain the same, however, depending on the age, race, gender or general outlandishness of your protagonist, the narrative will feel exclusive and unique in different individual playthroughs.
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