I kicked off last night's THQ Gamer's Day with a look at Saints Row 2 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As we reported earlier today, the release date has been set for August 26th and, from the looks of it, THQ and Volition have packed it full of new features.
The first thing I checked out was the character customisation which was quite rich, aside from the absence of nipples on the male characters. You can take your gang banger from ripped hardbody to overweight and flabby in a matter of seconds. I was actually pretty impressed by the fat character models which were nicely detailed, rather than just looking like a big balloon. Volition also added the ability to create a female character if you so desire, though as they were wearing bras, I couldn't tell you if they had nipples or not.
Another new customisation feature was a series of taunts and compliments that can be done by your avatar, prompting appropriate reactions from non-player characters. And yet even more customisation can be had through decorating your gang's crib, featuring a ton of new items like pool tables and even a pole dancing stripper.
Once we got into the nitty gritty of actual gameplay, even more changes were revealed. A new over the shoulder view allows those of us who are disabled in the ways of first person shooters to get a better handle on the game. One new weapon feature was a remote sticky bomb that can be placed anywhere, then detonated whenever you see fit. Just make sure you're far enough away or you may find yourself blown up along with everything else.
Probably the most gruesome and yet hilarious new mechanic was the ability to use a human shield. Any NPC can be grabbed and held in front of you to take the gunfire intended for you. When you are done with them, you can simply toss their limp corpse through a plate glass window. You know, just for grins.
A new mini-game type deal was also present, allowing you to hop in a helicopter and fly around the city blowing up cars. It seemed pretty cool, although I really only got a glimpse of that particular mechanic. The game also includes a co-op mode that will allow you and a friend to play the game as a team from start to finish.
During my brief time with Saints Row 2 I was really impressed with the graphics and the control scheme. The aforementioned over the shoulder view made the shooting an easier time for me and much more enjoyable. If you were a fan of the original title, there will certainly be a lot of new content for you to discover and enjoy.
And of course, the inclusion of a pole dancing stripper is always going to put any game at the top of your list. Or it should anyway. I just wish she looked like Elizabeth Berkeley.