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Saints Row 2 Diary

April 29, 2010

Ever since 2001, Grand Theft Auto has been enabling spoiled white teenagers to pretend they’re ghetto badasses.  Apparently, there’s a lot of money in that, which is why everybody keeps trying to copy the GTA formula. Enter Saints Row.  Much as it tries to be original, this series is always being described as “like Grand Theft Auto, but…”  This is entirely Volition’s own fault; good or not, the original Saints Row game was a pretty shameless knockoff.

Then they released a sequel.  And man, did they get it right.  This one is “like Grand Theft Auto, but good.”  And in the interest of sharing the wealth, I’m going to be writing a travelogue of my experiences with the game.  It’ll be broken up into several parts, and they will be updated When I Feel Like It.

Hit the jump for Part One and observe as I, a middle-class white kid from the bowels of suburbia, embark upon a quest to become the most notorious gangster in Stillwater.

Game Start: Just like I would in an RPG, I just spent the intro cutscene trying to decide whether I wanted to play as a man or a woman.  The character creator comes up, showing the default character splashed across the screen in nothing but his underwear.  Woman it is, then.  I take some time to mess around with race and body types, and spend a minute or so resisting the urge to give my new lady gangster a comb over and mutton chops.  Then I come to the real meat of the creator: Customized personalities.

There’s a great option in here to mess with your character’s default expression.  Obviously “blank” would be the only one that looks remotely natural, but you can pick from a list that includes “haughty,” “quizzical,” and four of the seven dwarves.  This is the expression that will be on your character’s face the entire rest of the game. I know some people can manage to look “inebriated” all the time, but…geez:

My willpower is severely tested once again, but I go with the sane option in case I ever need to be taken seriously in this game.  I almost make it through the whole character creator with this attitude, but then I get to the voices.

See, Saints Row 2 gives you a choice of three male and three female voices for your character, which gives the whole character customization a nice touch.  But whichever sex your character is, you can still choose from all six voices.  I try to pick the sane choice again; I really do.  But then my rather effeminate character snaps “the fuck you lookin’ at, mate?” in an angry English baritone, and I just know I can’t go any other way.  Looks like I’ll be playing as a post-op transvestite.

Here’s a video someone put together of the whole creation process.  For reference, the voice I’m using is #1:

When I exit the character creator I’m treated to a cutscene of myself waking up from a coma.  In the basement of a maximum security prison.  Yyyyeah, maybe I missed one or two plot points from the first game, but whatever.  I think they tried to recap everything in a conversation I had with another inmate, but as soon as my character opened “her” mouth I was laughing too hard to pay attention.

As soon as the cutscene ends I’m on my feet, apparently feeling unusually spry for someone who was in a coma thirty seconds ago.  I mean, damn.  These doctors must have done a really good job healing me!  I see one of them from across the room and decide to go thank him.  Then a mission objective pops up on my screen: “Kill the doctor.”

Eh, what the hell.  I was supposed to be a bad guy anyway.  One doctor down, several dozen armed prison guards to go.  A lot of games like to give a tutorial at this point to ease you into things, so let’s see how that goes.

0.5 hours: Huh.  That was…substantially more eventful than I’m used to in a tutorial.  Let’s recap:

Carlos (the “other inmate” I was ignoring earlier) and I decided to “bust outta this place, man,” but we ran into a guard with a nightstick the moment I opened the infirmary door.  So I beat him to death and took the nightstick.  Then a bunch of other guards in the next room saw us, and started shooting.  So I beat one of them to death, took his pistol, and shot the other three.  Then I kicked open the door to the outside, and took a shotgun blast to the face.

…Which, apparently, doesn’t slow you down much at all in this game.  I grabbed the offending guard and used him as a human shield while I gunned down four more of them, then hijacked a nearby police car and ran over an additional two officers as I drove away to freedom.

Then I realized we were on an island.  Full of cops.

Fig. 1: Ahh, shit.

I raced around the island for a bit while my buddy Carlos (whom the game refers to as my “homie”) fired out the window, probably trying to hit any nearby nuns.  Then a half dozen other police cars managed to box us in, so I bailed out and started firing completely at random to see what would happen.  As it turned out, that sort of reckless behavior tends to make cars blow up, specifically mine.  And the six or seven others that were right next to it.

“That was totally awesome,” I thought to myself, as I and an entire unit of policemen caught fire.  Oh, whoops, looks like I killed Carlos too.  Fortunately the game allowed me to revive him by walking over to where he had landed and pouring alcohol on his flaming corpse.  Thus healed by my miracle cure, Carlos sprang eagerly to his feet.  Sensing it was time to leave, the two of us reloaded our stolen guns, strolled away from the smoking wreckage of our stolen car, and hopped into a soon-to-be-stolen police boat.

That’s when the helicopters showed up.  Sensing my urgent need for excessive personal defense, the gods of gaming bestowed upon me a particularly nasty-looking fully automatic machine gun.  Seriously, it just appeared in my hands.  So after a quick prayer of thanks, I set about lighting up the night sky with my new toy.  Strangely, the police pursuit helicopters’ strategy of blowing up and raining helicopter bits into the ocean failed to slow us down, and Carlos and I soon escaped into the nurturing safety of another cutscene.

Check back later for Part Two of this series, featuring pirates, electricity, and some more of my fabulously sociopathic behavior.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ren permalink
    April 29, 2010 1:18 am

    This game sounds either ridiculously amazing or amazingly ridiculous.

    Also, Fig. 1 makes me think “Down with the Sickness.” Don’t know if that was intentional. But probably.

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