Saints Row 2 Preview
With the absence of a Grand Theft Auto game in the next-gen world, THQ was able to put the talent at Volition to good use with the release of Saint's Row for the Xbox 360. Saint's Row was one of the first big next-gen games, and because it was the only proper sandbox/free roam adventure available for the HD crowd, it sold very well. And hey, the fact that it was actually a solid game helped quite a bit. So now, THQ has got a solid foundation to build on and here's what you can expect out of Saint's Row 2.
First, you'll be happy to know that Saint's Row 2 will arrive on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 simultaneously later on in 2008. The game is once again being developed Volition, but with an improved graphics engine that specifically focuses on minimizing the appearance of pop-up and draw-in issues that plagued the original.
More importantly, the storyline continues from where the original left off, albeit with a much darker tone. THQ describes the story as even 'more sinister...with betrayal, revenge, and redemption'. What sounds spectacular is the ability to play the campaign via online co-op or with a friend using the second controller. There'll be a plethora of new ways to get around in the game, with the inclusion of new vehicles, including boats, motorcycles, helicopters, and even planes. And with the new set of vehicles comes new territory to experience, as the city of Stilwater has undergone a plethora of changes as well as an expansion in size, with an all new locale to explore.
The city will feel more alive, as Saints Row 2 will feature civilians that respod to the weather cycle - so, for instance, when it rains, you'll see umbrellas pop-up. Moreover, the civilians will also crowd around a fallen victim, and you'll even have the ability to take someone hostage or use as a shield.
Then there's the customization aspect which will allow you to personalize your character's appearance, and it will also feature female characters. And when you're not customizing your appearance, you'll have the ability to customize your crib.
While this may sound like a random bit of info, THQ noted that you can feel free to plant mines anywhere you wish, including cars - which only adds to the game's scope. That feature should come particularly handy when you're playing a competitive online event.
"Saints Row set the bar for next-gen open-world development, earning praise for its unmatched customization, controls, and the genre's first-ever online multiplayer," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of sales and marketing, THQ. "The team at Volition, Inc. is leveraging invaluable experience gained on Saints Row to build Saints Row 2 into a game that sets the standard for combat, player freedom, customization, vehicle game-play, team-based co-op and the most compelling online open world experience to date."
Thus far, Saints Row 2 has almost everything going for it. And with the face of Grand Theft Auto IV well in the minds of Volition, expect the gang to put in as much effort into the sequel as they can. No release date has been set for Saints Row 2, as THQ does not wish to rush Volition. But you can most likely bet on seeing it this Fall of 2008.
1/26/2008 Arnold Katayev