Saints Row 2 is about a gang named the Saints (obviously) and they are building themselves back to be the strongest gang in town. You encounter 3 rival gangs who give you a hell of a lot of stress when going through the game. During this game you complete missions and strongholds. Strongholds tie in with the missions, so in all there are 56 missions in the game (42 missions + 14 strongholds).
The story line is somewhat kind of hard to follow seeing as it's in no particular order and each gang has their missions separated. I wish it were more like Grand Theft Auto in that it's easier to follow. In my opinion, the game should have revolved more around Ultor, who is trying to take over and rejuvenate the city blah, blah, blah. The gangs could have come together or something, but it took a whole different turn. Let's call this San Andreas with slightly better graphics.
Saints Row 2 has many features and side missions. In order to do the missions and strongholds you have to do side missions to gain respect. Yes it's annoying, but that's the way they make you come back to play it more and more.
You make your own character and he has no name. It made me laugh, but whatever. Your comrades are Johnny Gat, Peirce, and the lovely Shaundi. They get involved in a lot of your missions. Johnny is your right-hand man. Peirce is the back-up buddy. Shaundi is the one who gets the 411 (information) to lead you to taking over the city.
I played the game on Hardcore and I must say it's what I liked; however, I tried Casual (easy) and Normal for a few minutes and I must say the AI is horrible. I mean, you can be surrounded by 20 gang members and walk right by them. On Hardcore I doubt you would get past the first 10. If you're going to play the game, play it on Hardcore as you get the most out of it.
This game had a pretty interesting soundtrack. Minus the rap that is. I enjoyed listening to The Mix 107.7 as it had my kind of music on the stations from the 80's. Hall & Oates, Europe, Tears for Fears, Psychedelic Furs, Duran Duran, and more. I also liked the Ultor station, it featured Jet, Paramore, and Plain White T's. The soundtrack was a little better than Grand Theft Auto IV's.
Game Play is Pretty Fun
It was realistic in some ways like when you wreck your car it gets dented bit by bit. When you are traveling at high speeds and run into something then you go through the windshield. You have the climbing physics. If you run for a long period of time you can hear your person breathing very hard. If you walk into a car it takes time to stop and little bumps actually hurt you. Some times if a person is in your way and you hit them they go through the glass and they will stay in your car; that stood out. What I didn't like was how the damned cars blow up just because it's getting rammed over and over. In GTA IV that never happened; your car just stopped working. Also your car blew up like totally quick and you had almost no time to move out of the way. I have a question, how in the hell can a tank explode? That really ticked me off when it did.
There are a lot of extra activities that you can do to gain respect and money. Fight Club (UFC Fighting) was my favorite, Suwage Control (you spray crap onto others houses), PIMP, FUZZ (you dress up as a police officer and you let your buddy get footage of you being a bad cop for ratings), Escort (you drive others around while they have sex in the back of your car), Pleasure Fulfiller (you have sex with women and make sure you do the sex positions they want you to do), Hitman, Races, and many more.
Comparison to GTA IV
I preferred GTA IV as it renovated and did some things that Saints Row 2 does not. The driving in GTA IV was better, but hard to get used to. Saints Row 2 had some things that GTA IV didn't, such as house buying, buying businesses, car buying, planes, player customization, and car customization. It seems as if Saints Row 2 went back to San Andreas for its ideas. The story was almost the same as San Andreas to be honest. GTA IV's graphics were more polished as Saints Row 2 took more of a cartoony look. Saints Row 2 had more weapons and that's something I liked. Throughout the game my favorite weapon was the Tombstone (shotgun); it was awesome. I liked that if one of your buddies died you could revive them (revive your homie) instead of failing the mission because someone died. When it comes to map size they both seemed about even. I liked Saints Row 2 map a little better than GTA IV's for some odd reason. If we combined these two together you would have a swell sandbox game.
Saints Row 2 is not a perfect game at all. I never got a freeze or frame rate drop, but this game suffered some ugly glitches. Like when I am in a plane and I have a homie (funny right?) when I get into the air he some how glitches into the plane. Another was when I was on a ship for a mission and I was shooting this guy in a boat and he glitched right into my face and was shooting me. Another was my car got stuck into the ground. There are a lot more, but that's just some.
IGN gave Saints Row 2 an 8.2 for some reason that I do not know, but it would last you a while if you ask me. It's not Vice City or any GTA (3D Versions) for that matter. IGN was comparing it too much to GTA IV. Yes I know I compared the two, but not like IGN was.