As mentioned yesterday, I sunk a lot of time into Saints Row 2, so much so that I didn’t end up having time to make a Today’s Play entry. I finished off the entirety of the Brotherhood storyline and began the game’s final set of missions, so spoilers follow for those two.
Saints Row 2
The bank raid that gave me problems the day before went much more smoothly this time, with the SWAT for some reason no longer happily shooting my human shield. The mission ends with a cutscene of Maero leaping cars in his monster truck, not realising that there’s an extra car at the end containing his girlfriend. He crushes the car in his landing, killing her, with your character coming in at the end to let him know.
Note: You make your own character in Saints Row 2, who can look how you want and be male or female, and for that reason they have no name and are referred to as ‘boss’. Wikipedia calls them The Boss, and I’m going to use that because it flows slightly better than repeatedly saying “your character” all the time.
Not content with simply having Maero kill his own girlfriend, the Saints next go after Matt, his tattoo artist (and gang lieutenant), who is at a concert with his band. Being the Saints, they go to the concert in one of the least subtle ways possible, hijacking a fireworks truck and taking it to the concert, killing the pursuing Brotherhood and police on the way by throwing crates of fireworks at them, leaving a pretty trail of destruction in their wake.
Using the fireworks was initially awkward because they explode on a delay if they land on the ground, but after discovering that they explode on impact (proximity fireworks?) it went better and the mission was quickly completed. Rather than kill Matt, The Boss ‘settles’ instead for burning his hand, ending his music career and probably his skill as a tattoo artist as well.
After that there’s a fairly standard mission involving stopping the Brotherhood terrorising the city. It ends with a vehicle chase that ends when you destroy the vehicle with gunfire or crashing. Now, I’m pretty bad at this sort of mission because I’m not good at driving. GTAIV had several missions that involved the same – including one particularly horrible one on bikes – and they were always difficult for me and not much fun. Saints Row 2 is better in that respect because you can have allies in the car with you who will shoot the vehicle whenever it’s in range, so I can focus on just keeping up.
This also helped with the next mission, which involves destroying several boats and buses filled with Brotherhood gang members being released from jail. I just needed to get near and rely on my team to do the damage while focusing on the driving. The next couple of missions are essentially about finishing off the rest of the brotherhood – stealing their valuable shipment (which had already been stolen by Ultor, meaning fight with Ultor first and then the Brotherhood) and launching a final assault upon the Brotherhood stronghold, which was quite tricky as the Brotherhood defend themselves with everything they have.
It ends in a battle with a mingun-toting Maero on the rooftops. He still just about manages to get away, but $25,000 and the miningun make for good consolation prizes. Once that mission is complete, Maero requests you come to the Ultor Dome (the large arena) to end the conflict once and for all. For some reason The Boss decides to go alone, and is then surprised to find Maero in his monster truck, as well as the last remaining scraps of the Brotherhood, also in vehicles.
Now, the order you chose to fight the gangs in probably has quite a big effect on the difficulty of this mission. Having saved the Brotherhood until last I was well equipped with explosives, so I simply attached four remote bombs to Maero’s truck and detonated, and that was it. Maero and the Brotherhood were defeated and I controlled 44 of the city’s 45 controllable territories.
I really liked the Brotherhood storyline, more so than the other two. The others were mostly about rival businesses, whereas this one was almost all about the clash of personalities between Maero and The Boss, with them both going after the people important to their enemy, and it had some good, dramatic moments to it.
Saints Row 2: The Final Enemy
As expected, the final enemy are the Ultor Corporation, who have made appearances several times throughout the game, and since The Boss has been away they have grown from a small business into a large corporation that controls whole portions of the city, and employs enough security personnel to constitute a small, private army.
The first cutscene – and it’s just a cutscene rather than a mission, which was a little annoying after having driven halfway across the city for it – details their plan, using gangs to drive down property values so that they can snap up everything cheap and redevelop, using their sizeable security force to then push the gangs back out.
With three gangs dead and only the Saints remaining, Ultor’s Head of Special Projects, Dane Vogel (the man behind Ultor’s plan) decides it’s time to deal with the Saints themselves and sends in Ultor’s SWAT equivalent to bring them down, separately targetting each of the prominent gang members – The Boss, Johnny Gat, Pierce and Shaundi. They come in heavy numbers but the mission itself isn’t too complicated.
With Ultor having identified themselves as a threat, the Saints quickly respond. The final territory to claim is an Ultor-owned shopping mall that’s quite heavily guarded, and after that you infiltrate a hidden underground Ultor facility and destroy it.
The final mission I played yesterday was one that I didn’t complete, because I found it quite annoying. You have to reach a ship out at sea, and for some reason it doesn’t let you use any of the helicopters or planes you have access to, putting you instead on a flimsy little jet ski. Admittedly there’s nowhere near the ship to actually land an air vehicle, but crashing them into the sea is a surprisingly painless process. Anyway, as soon as you start riding the jet ski a helicopter comes. With no obvious warning or chance to avoid it the helicopter fired a missile and killed me, and did exactly the same every time I tried.
In the end I got off the jet ski immediately and shot the helicopter down before trying to cross the water, and this worked much better. I also stole a police boat rather than use the crappy jet ski. Aboard the ship you’re tasked with killing everybody on board, and then chasing down the last one who flees on a boat, while Ultor boats swarm you and attack. I failed at this point and discovered that there are no checkpoints in the entire mission, sending you back not just to the start with the jet ski, but to standing outside your base before you even drive to the jet ski.
Incidentally, while on the chase section of the mission my boat was capsized, but The Boss (and the one ally I had with me) didn’t get out or react in any way. They just sat in the boat, completely submerged (and would still try to steer if prompted), until I manually made them get out. These two could give Guybrush Threepwood a run for his money.
So, being hit with a GTAIV level of annoyingly bad checkpointing, I decided it was time to stop playing. There can’t be much left of the game though, so if I can struggle through this mission I could have the game completed in my next play session.
Helicopter & Plane pics: Eurogamer
The Boss posing: Primotech
Police under siege: 1UP