Well, it’s almost the weekend (three day weekend time for me), and I’ve yet to follow through on my threat to post something else in the blog… So, I suppose that – while it’s a bit slow around the office – I’ll post a few thoughts.
Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of Saint’s Row 2 on the PS3. I bought it on a bit of a whim – LittleBigPlanet was pushed back a week for some rather dubious reasons, but I still wanted something new to play. I had really enjoyed the first Saint’s Row, and since I had just traded in Grand Theft Auto IV for store credit, I figured what the heck, it wouldn’t cost me a thing to pick it up.
I’m really glad I did.
To be frank, I didn’t enjoy GTA IV much: It was a Serious Game about Serious Things, and it reminded you of that fact every chance it got. When allowed to play the damn game, it was fun – driving was good, weapons were good, the AI was good – but the story was Serious, the acting was Serious, and a good chunk of the humor that I really liked from previous installments were missing. I spent the majority of my time playing in the multiplayer mode sans other people, just so I could do the fun stuff without the damn in-game phone going off every three minutes trying to launch some side-mission or another, or some assclown trying to go bowling with me.
SR2 does none of this. It is not a serious game, it’s a humorous game. There are some Serious Moments (Which are actually pretty damn striking plot twists), but all in all the game never loses sight of the main thing a game should be: Fun.
First, the whole city is open from the start: No lame ass road-blocks or other stupid shit preventing you from going wherever you might want to go. Secondly, the missions are done at the pace you set for yourself: The phone only rings occasionally, and even then you can ignore it with no major hindrances…
Where GTA got rid of the “crazy” weapons, SR2 gives you more than you could need. Where GTA took out flying stuff, SR2 gives you a rather nice assortment of them. Where GTA had clothes that do nothing for you, SR2 relies on them to boost your stats so you can move on in the story.
Biggest of all: GTA starts you off as a peon, who must work his way up the food-chain, SR2 starts you off at the top of your gang, and you must lead them to victory.
Basically, in my mind, it tries to distinguish itself from GTA by being – in some ways – a parody of GTA, and in other ways the opposite of GTA. It’s a game with a bit of a bad rap, but a game that deserves an honest shot because you just might enjoy it.
Is it perfect? No.
But it’s a hell of a lot of fun.