Spare a thought for Saints Row. Despite delivering the same depraved, free-roaming gangster frolics that made Grand Theft Auto a global smash, THQs effort will only ever be seen as a poor cousin to Rockstars nefarious masterpiece; a murderous romp thats always a decent GTA alternative, but never a genuine replacement.
However, while Saints Row 2 lacks the Hollywood-style production values that made GTA IV a modern classic, its still a thrill ride from beginning to end. Moving in the opposite direction to Rockstars increasingly realistic take on gang violence, Saints Row 2 thrusts players into preposterous crime capers and lawlessness from the get-go, with players stealing gunboats, hijacking helicopters and wasting legions of cops while their GTA rivals are still driving the crime boss missus to the mall or delivering packets of Class Bs.
A sprawling concrete jungle thats completely open from the beginning and gripping multiplayer modes also make Saints Row 2 worth a punt for anyone suffering from GTA withdrawal, but occasionally ugly graphics, moronic enemies and the nagging feeling that this is more bargain bin Bruckheimer than top drawer Scorsese taint an otherwise delirious quest.