A little buggy and unpolished, but an absolute blast to play
Saint's Row 2 is without a doubt one of the single meatiest and tastiest experiences I've had on the Xbox 360 to date. It's an absolute kick in the pants from the very start. Whether you're blowing your way out of prison, customizing a bevy of vehicles, throwing down in an MMA arena, or kicking the tar out of a rival gang, there's always some fun to be had with Saint's Row 2.
If there's one complaint I have with the game, it's the graphics. The car designs can look a little ugly at times, especially in comparison with a game like GTAIV. Player models are surprisingly well-detailed, and the environments look good, but the ugly car models will stand out like a sore thumb. There are also some small graphical bugs and glitches - I found myself getting stuck on a stairwell with two downed light poles. It was easily remedied, since the game autosaves whenever anything of note happens, but still mildly irritating.
The game's controls are tight and crisp. Whereas cars in GTAIV felt almost too heavy, Saint's Row's cars can spin on a dime and halt at a moment's notice. They'll fly through the air like birds. Oh, sure, they'll look like ugly carrier pigeons doing it, but birds nonetheless. Gunfights are tense and plentiful, and are as easy to control as any third-person shooter I've ever played.
When I say this game is meaty, I'm definitely not kidding. The main quest line will take a while to accomplish, if only because you'll need to fill a respect meter between missions. Yes, it's a cheap way to pad the game's length and force you to play the mini-games, but the fact of the matter is that those mini-games are an absolute blast. Mayhem is still a personal favorite, as are the chop shops, but I've had fun with all the mini-missions so far. And there are enough that you won't feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of some of the later stages - if you can't get that 500,000 score on Mayhem, just go do a demolition derby or an MMA fight instead.
The customization in the game is just awesome. Everything about your character can be tweaked to your liking, and a huge amount of clothes and accessories can be purchased. Cars can be customized, as can your cribs and your gang styles. It's a riot to see an army of pimped out gangsters following my character around Stillwater.
The story is basic good fun, but I'm not going to spoil anything for you here. Like the rest of the game, the story is wild, over-the-top, and a hell of a ride. And really, that's the best way to describe Saint's Row 2 as a whole.