I’ve been occupied for the past couple weeks playing SAINTS ROW 2 on my PlayStation 3.
I haven’t had much exposure to the Saints Row franchise previously, given that the original game was an Xbox 360 exclusive title (and all my consoles have been from Sony!), though I do have the mobile game version on my phone (which oddly, plays a lot like the original top-down Grand Theft Auto).
It’s impossible (and silly) NOT to make comparisons with the Grand Theft Auto franchise. However, Saints Row 2 plays more like GTA: San Andreas (PS2), rather than GTA4 (PS3), due to its’ in-depth character customization and gang-war mentality.
I have just finished the main story-mode (approx. 35 hours play-time), but I am only about 60% in completion of the total game.
In direct comparison between SR2 and GTA4, Saints Row 2 is much more light-hearted than GTA4. I would consider the high levels of violence, sexual references and overall humor to be of equal. It still manages to have moments of much seriousness and emotional impact.
I love the map of SR2. Every location can be visited very quickly, and though the old-style driving controls took some time to perfect (I much prefer GTA4’s shoulder button layout of hand brake/accelerate/reverse), the vehicles handle a dream and it always feels great traveling around.
Which game is better? It’s too hard to say and probably pointless to really judge. They both offer the same kind of thing and can certainly co-exist together for my valuable video gaming time.
Saints Row 2 story was quicker for me to finish, but that could be because I raced through the second half ASAP! GTA4 has provided me many fun hours extra with online multiplayer, so time will tell if SR2 can match that. Online Co-Op mode had been good fun in SR2, so long as you do it with the right person!
One thing I GREATLY loved about Saints Row 2 was the ability to play the main character as female (see below). Sadly, the female option is only available in GTA4 in the online mode.