Saint´s Row 2 Discussion
Nothing says sexy like fuel economy. Feel the wind in your hair on a practical and stylish scooter while marveling at the tight turning radius and the non-existent risk for speeding tickets. Sure, the lightweight body means that even low speed collisions with chipmunks will probably result in certain death, but at least those pesky environmentalists won't give you any grief about non-renewable resources.
Stock factory setups are for chumps. If burning rubber with a unique look is your thing, this bike is guaranteed to turn heads. Custom sprockets and shocks come in handy for aggressive violation of traffic laws.
Step aside, pretenders – this rumbling beast is the original king of the road. Double your overcompensation with ferocious amounts of both girth and length as your custom-built exhausts create air and noise pollution with each and every rev. Intimidation on two wheels never looked so good.
Heavy weapons are reserved for the special times when only the biggest and baddest weaponry will suffice. Here are four common examples when a pistol or shotgun must be thrown aside for something with a little more kick:
The Annihilator Laser-Guided RPG
When facing a high notoriety level, it's common for the SWAT team to unleash their highly powerful assault helicopter. Nothing solves the job better than the Annihilator. Simply lock-on to the target using the laser-guided tracking system, pull the trigger and watch as the fiery wreckage plummets to the ground.
In Stilwater, well armed gang members always travel together in clusters. If faced with this situation while walking down the street, the best way to clear a path is to fire up the trusty flamethrower and host your own private BBQ.
The Chain Gun
Missed the train? Bring it to a stop by unloading your chain gun's 200 round clip into the speeding locomotive, then get out of the way.
In one-on-one melee weapon combat, the person with the biggest advantage is always the guy with the chainsaw: it cuts through metal, wood and bone, and leaves you with a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
June 4, 2008 - In Stilwater, players won't get very far if they don't command respect. Fortunately, in Saints Row 2 (SR2) there are plenty of ways for up and coming gang members to make their mark on the city. Some of these are within the bounds of the law, such as acting as a bodyguard for celebrities, while others like drug dealing are more illicit (or completely illicit, depending on how loose the player's morals are).
When players want to take a break from the story campaign, activities and diversions are available throughout the city for them to build up their respect levels. As they do so, the clout of the 3rd Street Saints increases and even more story missions become unlocked against each of the enemy gangs that have muscled in on their turf.
Activities are the fastest way for the player to earn respect in SR2. Throughout the city, several unsavory characters are looking for someone capable and tough to do their dirty work for them. The player visits these characters and agrees to perform certain tasks, which each have several levels of difficulty to provide long-term challenge over the course of the game.
SR2 features all the favorite activities from SR, plus several new activities, giving the player twice as many opportunities for over-the-top chaos. Some examples of available activities include:
- Fight Club - Players step into the ring with hardened convicts and mixed martial artists as they slug your way to supremacy in a network of organized underground brawls. Would-be challengers can be finished off with a flourish to show that toughness doesn't require a gun, just a willingness to snap some bones.
- FUZZ - Players are starring on a brand new TV reality show about the Stilwater PD. The cameraman is in need of exciting footage, the kind that only a gang member posing as an officer can provide. Nothing is out of bounds for the long arm of the law when the Saints get involved.
- Insurance Fraud - The most popular activity from SR returns, once again allowing players to throw themselves in harm's way by literally playing in traffic. The new adrenaline mode allows for extra spectacular pedestrian-on-car collisions, and co-operative play allows two gang members to team up and rack up special expanded combos and extra cash.
Aside from activities, players also earn respect through the game's new diversion system. SR2 tracks the player's actions throughout the entire game and builds up their reputation accordingly. Respect is given for exploring new areas, winning gunfights with enemy gang members, finding jumps and stunt areas in different vehicles, and many other events over the course of the story. With diversions, players are able to continuously advance the Saints' interests – even when just messing around for fun, every action in the open world sandbox is a meaningful one.
There are several categories of diversions. Here are just a few of the many things the player can do to pick up extra respect as they play the game:
- Combat Diversions - Shooting people in the head or groin, running them down with a car, beating them senseless with mailboxes, or tossing them into moving traffic are just a few of the ways players can earn respect when fighting their enemies. No points are awarded for sensitivity.
- Stunt Diversions - Whether it be by powersliding through corners in a sports car or barnstorming in between buildings in a plane, players earn respect when they show their prowess behind the controls of SR2's many different vehicles. Races are scattered throughout Stilwater to give the player extra opportunities to test their mettle.
- Criminal Mischief - Not all trouble found in Stilwater involves going head-to-head with the other gangs. Players can gain respect through a number of spontaneous crimes to commit, ranging from good old fashion felonies like store holdups or hostage taking to smaller acts such as street muggings or even funny misdemeanors like streaking in the buff.
Australia, July 22, 2008 - THQ Australia told us today that Saint's Row 2 has come through the OFLC's classification process with an MA15+ rating, and that no changes were made to the game to attain that rating. That's good news for fans of insane mayhem, and to celebrate, we asked our local THQ rep to give us the low-down on some of the craziest stuff you can do in the game. Here are five of his responses.
* Over the top activities: "Some of the new activities include the Septic Avenger (where you are asked to spray sewage on to buildings and people), Crowd Control (where you must protect a celebrity from deranged and violent fans) and Fight Club (taking part in illegal underground fist fights)."
* Committing Insurance Fraud: "Insurance Fraud sees the player faking accidents by throwing themselves in front of vehicles, off buildings etc. The player can enter a rag doll mode moments before the impact to avoid any actual damage. The great thing about Insurance Fraud in Saints Row 2 is that, now you can play the whole game in co-op, new opportunities open up. So for example, you can throw your buddy into an oncoming train."
* Insane diversions: "These are mini-activities you can participate in almost anywhere. These include streaking, car surfing, tagging, base jumping, stunt jumps and loads more."
* Escort Missions: "The Escort missions in Saints Row 2 are very similar to those in the original Saints Row. As previously, the player drives around an escort and their client, avoiding the paparazzi, TV crews, private detectives and jealous husbands or wives. Meanwhile the conversation between the escort and client implies all kind of things are going on in the back seat."
* Violence and Weapons: "The violence in Saints Row 2 is very much an over the top affair. Everything is exaggerated but it's not about splashing the screen with blood or gore. The choice of weapons in Saints Row 2 is much bigger and alongside your traditional pistols, shotguns etc., you've got all sorts of weapons such as samurai swords, fire extinguishers, flash grenades, stun guns, sledgehammers, assault rifles with underslung grenade launchers, the list goes on. There are some great new weapons too, including shock paddles, pepper spray, flamethrowers and, of course, satchel charges."
July 30, 2008 - Saints Row 2 is on the home stretch of development at Volition. With an October 14 release date, the development team is fine-tuning and smashing bugs at this point. I recently went hands-on with a few new levels in the gang-fueled romp. This marked my first time getting to play some of the combat-heavy missions in the later part of the game, as well as delving a bit deeper into the customization options for you and your gang.
First thing that you need to know, if you don't already, is that Saints Row 2 is not Grand Theft Auto. If anything, it's like SR2 is GTA's ornery brother who is out to cause nothing but mischief. The game's activities are more over-the-top and the action follows a similar suit.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the world of Stilwater, let's start with a few of the more outlandish customization options. For starters, there are three custom vehicle types that you'll be able to get once you've progressed far enough. These vehicles automatically spawn in your garage and there are tons of different types.
There are fighting styles that you can unlock including one in the vein of drunken boxing and one that will remind you of scenes from Karate Kid (called Ronin fighting style). Beyond that there are also several outfits for your gangsters, from the standard slacks and button-downs to an outfit that is described as "Pimps and Hos." I'll let your imagination be your guide on that one. There's also one that puts ninja garb on your hardasses. Combine that with the Ronin fighting style and a katana and you're a force to be reckoned with.
The first real mission that I got to play was one of several "on rails" missions in the final game. My ninja clad character hopped in a helicopter and manned a Gatling gun, firing down on incoming enemy boats and cars as we traveled across different types of terrain. The mission was fun, but I wanted to get my feet on the ground and cause some real chaos.
Before getting to that I had to try my hand at a Jet Ski race, one of the thirty races in the game. For this I made use of the PS3 SixAxis control mechanic which proved to be slightly unruly for a vehicle with such responsiveness. I slammed into walls left and right at which point the THQ rep on-hand explained that the sensitivity can be tuned and that it's still being tweaked to find a balance for the yachts and speed boats that are in Saints Row 2.
There are also multiple weather systems that will influence things like the mood of the ocean during a race and the lighting of a given scene.
After I was through making a fool of myself on the Jet Ski, it was time for a firefight. The developer demoing instantly warped me to a Stronghold mission against The Brotherhood. Anyone who played the first Saints Row knows about Strongholds. There are four or five of them per rival gang and they are tough.
The Brotherhood stronghold that I was faced with required my gangster to break into a building, divert funds via an electronic transfer into my own account, and then blow up their getaway vans and drug-carrying planes. There was plenty for me to do.
Breaking into the place and fighting off the men in the airplane hanger as I made my way up to the office and into the computer room was easy enough. The drug money was a simple score. It was making my way back out that was the problem. Even with the developer feeding me ammunition for my weapons and the auto-recharge system that is Saints Row 2's way of dealing with health, it proved to be a challenge.
There was one door as a usable exit that lead to The Brotherhood who was waiting with open arms. Male and female thugs took aim at my noggin as I pumped off shots with my AR50 complete with grenade launcher. I took one of the few innocent bystanders as a human shield and proceeded to whip out my automatic shotgun and blow my assailants limb from limb.
As soon as my attention veered towards the drug planes, Brotherhood-owned SUVs came careening out of nowhere, unloading enemies as they stopped next to me. I didn't last long.
My strategy changed on my next life. I decided that it would be a better idea to stay inside and shoot at enemies from a distance. I lured bad guys in one at a time until they wizened up to my game and bum rushed me with everything they had. Planted satchel charges and automatic shotguns helped in the tight, indoor quarters, but the planes still proved to be too much.
No one in my demo was able to beat the mission, only getting as close as blowing up two of the four planes. Maybe a better strategy would have been turning my car into a makeshift bomb with satchel charges and then jumping out of the driver's seat once I had set its course. I'll have to wait until I have more time with the game to know for sure.
Had I been able to beat the stronghold I would have been granted ownership of one neighborhood. There are 45 in all of Saints Row 2. Within each neighborhood are any number of activities and businesses. Gang leaders (you) can buy stakes in these businesses and thus will get a cut of their profits. Buy enough of the same type of store (liquor store, gun store, etc.) and your face will adorn their billboards. While I didn't get to see my ninja's face on any signage, the incentive for investment in the businesses of Stilwater seemed to be in place.
The demos that I've seen of Saints Row 2 have certainly ramped up the intensity as the game has progressed through development with this being the most frantic. I had no problem beating the introductory portions of the game or in any of the rail missions, but that Stronghold was a real challenge.
UK, July 31, 2008 - You have to feel a little for Volition, for every time they bring Saints Row 2 out of its stable to show the great unwashed that constitutes the games press, there's always going to be a tirade of questions regarding that other open world game that so recently wowed everybody with its assured move onto the current generation.
Indeed, the first Saints Row was perhaps unfairly seen as a stopgap until Rockstar had readied its latest instalment of Grand Theft Auto, but those who dared dip into the anarchic world of Stillwater were met by a game that actively went to solve many of the criticisms laid upon the GTA series, and in the face of extreme cynicism managed to mark itself out as a game that stood out by its own merits.
But that was back in 2006, since then we have seen Grand Theft Auto IV go on to receive so many plaudits. It's therefore a profoundly different landscape that Saints Row 2 struts into, yet Volition and THQ aren't afraid to invite comparisons to Rockstar's game, judging by its recent tongue-in-cheek campaign highlighting Stillwater's credentials over Liberty City.
And it's not just in the marketing department that GTA IV is being referenced -- Saints Row 2 even has its own phone on which you can invite your "homies" to indulge in various leisure pursuits. While we didn't get to try the phone in action -- it was hidden away in a submenu, so doesn't look to be as ubiquitous as Niko Bellic's cell -- it's certainly a brazen acquisition from the competition, and as opposed to Niko's somewhat worn model, Saints Row 2's phone sports a look that's not dissimilar to the gadget du jour that is Apple's iPhone.
But, again, there's a lot here to mark out Saints Row 2's own distinctive territory, not least of which is the wealth of customisation that's on offer. Nearly everything that comes under the player's command in the game can be twisted to their own ends, from the vehicles to the cribs through to fellow gang members -- it's even possible to run with a troop of ninjas if you so desire. How this will complement the supposedly gritty and dark storyline is anyone's guess, though the fact that the player's choices regarding their appearance will be reflected in the cutscenes should add a little light relief to an otherwise grim tale.
Saints Row 2's story opens in prison, whereupon the first requirement is to kill the doctor. Why? Don't ask, just pummel them with your fists, which are controlled independently with either shoulder button. There are a number of cinematic finishers, triggered by performing three of the same punches in a row, and most animations continue Saints Rows giggling predilection for well placed strikes to the nethers. Different fighting styles can be unlocked throughout the game, adding another layer of customisation to an already malleable game.
It's also possible to use people as a human shield in a gameplay trait shared with the forthcoming Gears of War 2, with the idea being that moving cover means levels can be attacked with more pace than is possible in other, more stilted action titles. It certainly ups the tempo of gunfights, giving the game an arcade lilt is pronounced throughout much of the game, from the luminous palette that brings Stillwater to life, to the stocky handling of the cars.
Click the right analogue stick and the camera will swoop in over the character's shoulder, with a free-roaming reticule at the player's disposal to unload any of the sizable arsenal into Stillwater's inhabitants. There's no lock-on system in Saints Row 2, Volition being of the belief that it would lead to more confusion than continuing the tongue-in-cheek feel that distinguishes the game. There are some truly outrageous inclusions, none less so than a laser-guided rocket launcher -- the sort of fare we're more accustomed to in the likes of Call of Duty 4 and Ghost Recon -- that's an endearing addition.
In fact, Volition claims that much of the technology is shared with the Red Faction team, allowing Saints Row 2 to share that game's destructible environments. While it's certainly the case with certain buildings -- well, from our brief experience it was just one, a water tower that was all too happy to tumble under rocket fire -- elsewhere the scenery remains stubbornly sturdy under even the most extreme duress, despite our frenzied attempts to unload a small militias worth of firepower into the side of a skyscraper.
There seems to be a general obsession with explosions through much of what we saw, and one of our most cherished moments taken from our time in Saints Row 2 was witnessing a helpless goon having numerous satchel charges attached to him before being ruthlessly juggled in the air by a succession of blasts. Flair in gunplay -- and, indeed, throughout the game -- is rewarded with respect, which works to unlock missions in the game. It's there to negate any of the bottlenecks that were seen to taint the original Saints Row, and with a constant influx of score updates on the games HUD, it's another signifier of the game's more action oriented disposition, with certain action sequences playing out like a hyperventilating mix of The Club and Grand Theft Auto.
Underlying the whole affair are a number of worrying problems, however. Not only does the setting of Stillwater lack the charisma of the likes of Crackdown and GTA IV, it's execution is also decidedly underwhelming. The code we've seen was alarmingly broken -- normally a problem we'd happily accommodate when seeing an unfinished game, but the level of bugs combined with the proximity of the proposed street date this October leads us to believe that the finished article won't be the smoothest of operators.
But for all the accusations we'd like to level at Saints Row 2 -- it's currently broken code, some of the more dubious attempts of its PR campaign to acquire notoriety, and its out and out crassness -- we can't deny that playing through the game did, more often than not, engender an ear to ear grin. If Rockstar is aspiring to the Martin Scorceses and the Michael Manns with its open world opus, Volition is the mischievous Lloyd Kaufmann of the scene, and if Grand Theft Auto IV is Goodfellas, Saints Row 2 feels more like The Class of Nuke 'Em High. Never shying away from the crude, and revelling in the insanity of its venture, there's no doubt Saints Row 2 will have its fans, but it's still got so much to prove before it comes out this October.
Australia, August 26, 2008 - Saints Row 2 is hitting Australian stores on October 16, and it's going to do so with a bang, thanks to the "Initiation" and "Collector's" Editions/Packs, announced today by THQ. Yes, that's two different Special Editions for each platform, with the Initiation packs exclusive to Australia and New Zealand.
Want to know where to get them? The Collector's Editions for 360, PS3 and PC will be available from selected retailers, including EB Games, GAME, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and most independent games retailers. The Initiation packs for all three platforms, however, will be "extremely limited" and only available from EB Games.
Here's what you can expect in each:
Xbox 360 Collector's Edition - SRP AUD $129.95
The Xbox360 Collector's Edition is packaged in a unique 'gun' box and includes:
* Saints Row 2 game for Xbox360
* Exclusive Art book
* Double-sided poster/map of Stilwater
* Bullet shaped 1GB USB key containing Xbox360 wallpapers and more
Xbox 360 Initiation Pack - SRP AUD $149.95
The Saints Row 2 Xbox 360 Initiation Pack is exclusive to Australia/New Zealand and is only available from EB Games. The Xbox360 Initiation Pack includes:
* Unique 'gun box' packaging
* Saints Row 2 game for Xbox360
* Exclusive Art book
* Double-sided poster/map of Stilwater
* Bullet shaped 1GB USB key containing Xbox360 wallpapers and more
* High quality Saints basketball singlet
* Saints Row 2 Money clip with bonus money off vouchers for your next trip to EB Games
* Saints Rule Book with details on the new gangs, where to shop, and more
* Saints ID card
* All packaged in a Freckle *****es Pizza Box
Planes, Helicopters and Base Jumping
Saints Row 2 not only gives you a huge city to explore on foot and behind the wheel of some fast rides, but it'll also give you the keys to aircraft for nice views of the city from up on high. But of course, what fun would flying be without some weapons and a nice assortment of bullets at your side?
When you gain access to the hanger, you'll be able to hop over and choose from any of the planes in your arsenal and then take to the skies. There's a sleek private jet for you to fly, a bi-wing plane for some classic Red Baron action, and even a WWII fighter jet, armed with a fairly powerful machinegun.
But planes aren't your only option. Helicopters too are part of the mix, allowing you hover and focus your viewing (read: gunfire) on a smaller target for longer. Some choppers also come equipped with the latest in homing rocket technology, great for taking out the bad guys, or even good guys if you find yourself on the other side of the law.
And in either case, when you've had enough of the whole flying business, you can drop right out of the ****pit and test out your parachute. Here's to hoping it opens.
Can You Pick It Up? Then it's a Weapon
Handguns, rocket launchers and heavy assault machineguns aren't the only thing you can use to subdue your opponents. If you see an object in the environment that looks like it can be picked up, it probably can be. Mailboxes, newspaper stands, garbage cans and even fire hydrants can be removed from their spot where they serve the people, and instead be used as weapons of utmost brutality.
When it comes to fashion, Saints Row 2 has you covered. While anyone can wear a sport coat or a T-shirt while hurling signposts at people, it takes someone will major cajones to do it while wearing a hot dog costume. Or perhaps you want to go all Alexander on someone in full Roman getup. Head over to the local museum gift shop, and they might just have what you're looking for.
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