Even though I’m a bit of an XBox junkie, I’ve never actually played the original Saint’s Row for the 360, though I’ve consistently heard good things about it. The Saint’s Row 2 booth at PAX is almost impossible to miss, given that it’s got a giant gangsta’s head about twenty feet in the air, with 3 large HDTV’s plastered to the walls for people to play.
I’m a fan of open world games (too much of a fan), so I was pretty excited to see this one here. I stepped up to an open controller, wondering if it was going to be a thugarific good time, or just a GTA clone. I got a little bit of both.
What was being shown at PAX of Saint’s Row 2 is actually the start of the game, which just throws your character into the mix. It picks up right where the original game left off, and your character wakes up in a prison cell from a coma. Your first mission: beat the female doctor senseless and escape with your new purple-hoodied homie.
The first thing that struck me about Saint’s Row 2 were the graphics, which weren’t all that impressive. To be honest, when I was watching the person before me play, I thought they were in a multiplayer game, not the actual single-player story. After driving through the lush Liberty City, the Village just wasn’t doing it for me.
One thing that did work well though, was the shooting and fighting mechanics. Left trigger uses a melee attack (even with a gun in your hand, which is a nice touch) while the right trigger fires your weapon. Pushing B brings up an easy to manage weapon inventory so that you don’t have to scroll endlessly for that one thing you’re looking for.
The developer at the booth told me a few things about the game, namely that the world has been expanded in Saint’s Row 2 to include a couple of islands, so now planes and boats are both driveable. In addition, the game is going to sport several multiplayer modes, including a 16 player deathmatch a la every other game ever made for XBox Live. I swear, even Uno has a 16 player deathmatch.
Another cool feature was the character creation, which allowed for a bevy of customizable options. Seriously, there were so many that I just didn’t even know what to do or what to play with. I settled on a huge hispanic dude with a fro, huge chops and a child molester moustache.
All told, the playable demo was pretty short, but I did have a good time shooting up some cops as I escaped from prison. The shooting works well, though I was kind of missing the lock-on feature that GTA had, plus these seemed to be the cops from the retard branch, as they didn’t take cover and often stood out in the open in the most random places. Perhaps I’ll be renting this one when it hits in October.
Did you play the first Saint’s Row? Were you a fan?