The Grand Theft Auto series, one of the most popular and often imitated series of all time, is rarely matched by it’s level of innovativeness or success. Saints Row 2 feels more like a spiritual successor to the Grand Theft Auto titles of the PS2 rather than an outright imitator. One could even say that Saints Row 2 feels more like a sequel to these titles than GTA4 does. Everything GTA4 lacks, Saints Row 2 has in spades – property acquisition/income, adjustable difficulty for more casual gamers, and what SR2 really excels at, customization.
Just about everything in SR2 can be customized. Owned vehicles can be fitted with peripherals such as gladiator-style tire shredders and painted with custom paint jobs and vinyls. Music featured in SR2 can be purchased at record stores and selectively arranged in a personal playlist to ensure only the tunes you like will be heard while driving. The biggest area of customization lies in the creation of your personalized character. Every detail of your character can be selected including gender, voice, social and movement animations, and countless combinations of clothing which can be saved as outfits and changed whenever at a safehouse.
Saints Row 2 is decidedly lighthearted and wackier than GTA4. Flying ufo’s, encountering a giant stuffed rabbit in the ocean, and randomly dancing in the street like Michael Jackson is perfectly normal for the Saints Row universe. SR2 is different from from GTA4 in other ways as well. Metal is offered as a music choice with such bands as Opeth, Trivium, and As I Lay Dying. The authorities are surprisingly more realistic and aren’t around every corner, willingly giving their lives kamikaze-style just to take you down. One more difference is in how SR2′s story unfolds by playing self-contained story missions that don’t follow a singular path and can be played in any order at any time.
With it’s easy accessibility (even if never experiencing SR1), high fun factor, multitude of unique activities (including co-op), and entertaining combat mechanics, Saints Row 2 is highly recommended to fans of the anarchistic sandbox genre made famous by Grand Theft Auto. Some may even find Saints Row 2 a better alternative to Grand Theft Auto 4. Saints Row 2 is available on disc and as a digital download from the PlayStation Store.