Today’s Play – Still Just Saints

Just Saints Row 2 again today, taking on the Brotherhood gang.  Obviously the following will contain spoilers for the Brotherood missions, so don’t read it if that matters to you.  Otherwise, read on for details.

Saints Row 2

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The Brotherhood gang of Saints Row 2 are a fairly macho bunch, all monster trucks, metal and tattoos.  They’re led by Maero, a giant tattooed man voiced by Michael Dorn.  Dorn is no stranger to videogame voice work, having done lots of work as Worf in Star Trek games, as well as key characters in games like Fallout 2Saints Row 2 has a few notable actors providing voice work actually, with people like  Neil Patrick Harris, Eliza Dushku and Daniel Dae Kim voicing characters.

The Brotherhood storyline starts off with an attempt at a peaceful resolution, with Maero (who is too big to be intimidated) suggesting that Stilwater is big enough for both gangs.  Police quickly interfere before any agreement can be made  so you team up with Maero to escape, and the mission ends with you taking Maero to his monster truck-filled layer.  While it’s not particularly realistic that they’d just give up, I did find it nice that there wasn’t any “lose your wanted level” nonsense before I could finish the mission, you just reach the final checkpoint and the mission ends, regardless of how many of Stilwater’s finest were after you at the time.

The potential deal falls apart in pretty much one conversation, with neither Maero or your character willing to back down.  Maero feels he’s being generous even offering a small cut, considering the Saints lost all their territory (although at this point I did control most of the city again and had destroyed two other gangs, which you’d think would be a factor in the deal), while your character feels that the entire city is still his, and people like Maero have just been keeping it warm for him.

With a peaceful resolution off the table – as if it was ever going to be otherwise – you’re quickly doing what the Saints do best: ruining things for their rivals.  The first mission has you using a Brotherhood mechanic to plant bombs on Brotherhood vehicles, and it’s a fairly awkward mission.

The mechanic gets stuck on anything in his way, so care has to be taken to make sure that there aren’t any obstructions for him to stupidly run into.  One time he got out of the car too early and got stuck running against a wall, so I had to kill him just so the mission could fail and try again.  There are no checkpoints either, which is rare for Saints Row 2, and makes it more tedious than it could have been.SaintsRow208

Another mission has you preying on Maero’s fondness for tattoos.  Being Saints Row 2, the Saints decide that the best way to use the tattoos against the Brotherhood is to break into a nuclear facility and steal toxic waste (killing dozens of police and guards in the process), escape by helicopter, and have the tattoo artist inadvertently tattoo Maero with toxic waste, which is admittedly a pretty original plan.

The mission itself is nice and simple, made harder only by my teammates, who have recently developed a fondness for rocket launchers despite not having an awareness of basic rocket launcher etiquette, such as not using the damn thing when you’re close enough to also be killed by it.  Still, nobody could argue that the Saints don’t keep things interesting.

The next mission involves the Brotherhood’s revenge, abducting Carlos (the man who helps you bust out of prison at the start of the game).  It’s fairly simple, and you eventually find him being dragged along the road, attached to a truck by a chain.  The cutscene at the end of the mission is one of the more dramatic moments in the game, and actually serves as a nice counter to the extremes of the radioactive tatoo mission before it.

The final mission of the day started with Shaundi discovering Maero’s girl, Jessica, walking into a bank, which leads to an impromptu bank raid to grab her. As Grand Theft Auto IV also had a mission involving a bank job it makes for a good comparison of the two game’s differing approaches to the open world crime genre.  In GTAIV it was probably one of my favourite missions (aside from the frustrating lack of checkpoints), and was an elbaorate affair of dressing up in smart suits, blowing the vault, stealing the money and fighting your way out through the SWAT-infested streets and subway, ending with a police pursuit all the way across two islands.

In SR2 you wander into the bank, take Jessica hostage and kill all the guards, fighting the dozens of SWAT troopers who storm in.  Once you’re out Jessica gets stuffed into the trunk of her car and you drive off with the police in pursuit.  I didn’t see how it ended, because I didn’t manage to complete the mission.

On my first try I got her into the trunk and drove off, but was a little rough with the car and it eventually exploded, and the only checkpoint puts you back before you entered the bank.  After that I had difficulty simply getting out of the bank without the SWAT killing Jessica, which seemed to go against the whole point of using her as a human shield.  Then, after several tries, the game froze.  I guess I’ll try it again tomorrow.

Image Sources:

Maero: IGN

Saints Crew: Team Xbox Forum

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