To start this blog off with a bang, I am going to talk about my favorite game of all time. Saints Row 2.
It’s tough to sum up the game, but I think the best way I have ever seen is with a random line of dialog shouted by various pedestrians as you race past. “Saints row, Bitches!”
This game is honestly at its best when you have no idea whats going on. The story is amazing of course, but I find I have the most fun when I am not doing the story (by the way, you don’t have to have played the first to enjoy the second, most of my friends haven’t). Hijacking a plane, flying up as high as I can, being harassed by military helicopters, then bailing out at the last-minute and falling well over a thousand feet before hitting the ground with a bounce. Attacking random pedestrians with a huge cleaver, while other pedestrians take pictures with cellphone cameras. Running an incredibly sexy car head-on into a gas station and watching it soar through the air, to collide with a building (and barely surviving); these are all moments I will never forget. That all happened on my first play through. Shortly after, I discovered co-op.
Me and my friend played random co-op for a bit, but with no objectives it was just wanton violence. As fun as this was, we wanted something to drive us. We started brand new characters, deciding to run The Saints together. We chatted while making our characters, but neither could see what the other was making. When the game began, he was playing a big, fat, bearded, monster of a man, and I was a scrawny white teenage girl. We couldn’t have been more opposite and that just made it funnier.
As the game progressed, our characters changed little yet evolved. He became more of a lumberjack in a bowler cap, and mine looked like she wanted to be part of some anime so hard it hurt. The game itself also helped evolve our characters; mine became an egotistical psychotic bitch, while his seemed calmer, yet much scarier for it. His favorite way of murdering people is to slam his bearded head into theirs. My favorite involved racing by on a futuristic motorcycle with a katana. The story felt so much more real when it was me and my friend blazing through. This wasn’t just about ruling the saints, I found myself thinking less “What should I do” and “what would my character do” (the answer to which was usually “get drunk, kill people, repeat”).
I would tell you about the story, but really I don’t want to spoil it. The writing is intense. More than once after a mission I have exhaled and simply said “Holy shit”. Between burying one of his chief rivals alive, and kidnapping another rival’s girlfriend and tricking him into executing her, your character is brutally cruel. At the same time, the death of a close friend leaves them broken temporarily, and the fear of losing another is enough to make them lash out at others. As I said up top, the writing in this game is fantastic, both the story and the random dialog, I have never seen anything like it.
If you have already played it, you know nothing I say here is hyperbole. The biggest complaint I have ever heard about this game is its in-game soundtrack, but even that I enjoy. Having spent long periods of time sitting at the main menu, some songs are permanently lodged in the deepest areas of my brain. I have also heard the PC version is worse, but I wouldn’t know (I played X-box 360). I honestly cannot recommend this enough, if you get a chance, give it a rent. If your willing to overlook its flaws, it’s now about 30 bucks on steam (Canadian!), but most stores sell it cheaper for the 360 (my friend tells me they have a two pack of the first game and the second for 30 bucks total).