Saints Row 2 Multiplayer Details Revealed Xbox 360, PS3

With just three weeks left until the release of Saints Row 2, THQ has allowed us to now reveal the details of the online multiplayer modes that you’ll be able to experience come 17th October.

Matches are played out within one of seven maps that are themed around various districts such as Chinatown and Beverly Hills. There are, of course, the standard Deathmatch modes which appear to be mandatory for any online first- or third-person shooter. Here they are named Gangsta Brawl and Team Gangsta Brawl and are pretty self-explanatory. The goal is to kill as many of the opposing players as you can, with the player or team with the highest score at the end of the match being the winner.

So far, so standard. But Volition have an ace up their sleeves with the other mode we were able to play back at the start of this month. Strong Arm takes the activities playable in the main game and combines them with the competitive teamplay of multiplayer to create one of the most varied and fast-paced online games that we’ve had the pleasure to play.

Two teams are pitted against one another for control of a neighbourhood. To win, players must earn enough cash to buy out the district. Cash can be earned in two main ways; killing members of the opposite teams provides a cash reward, but participating in the various activities is the best way to rake in that precious moolah.


Strong Arm begins as a normal deathmatch, but after a few seconds a countdown will begin for the start of the first activity. Most of these challenges require teamwork to win, and collaboration is essential as the team which makes the most money from each activity gets a nice bonus on top of the money that they’ve earned.

The activities that came up in our hands-on session included Hitman, which saw teams fighting to be the first to kill various marked gang bosses that are scattered across the map. A Destruction activity rewards players for smashing up vehicles, lampposts, buildings, street furniture, fences and whatever else is lying around. The Race activity was pretty straightforward, but it was nice to see that if you finish the course early (which we did) then you can run around and create problems (of the explosive kind) for those who are still racing. And, of course, teamwork can be applied here with some players from each team choosing to obstruct opponents rather than race. Snatch sees players fighting over the control of prostitutes who need to be rescued from their abusive pimps. The ‘Ho’s’ will then follow you and need to be protected and taken to their destination (the next client.) This can get quite tactical as several players can choose to protect one Ho, or each player on a team could attempt to protect their own. And why bother protecting your own Ho when you can just try to kill or steal one from the other team?

Probably the most enjoyable activity we tried though was Insurance Fraud. Players must fling themselves in front of traffic and try to break as many bones as possible so they can claim some compensation for their personal injury. It didn’t take long for us to realise that the best way to rack up the cash was for one team-member to steal a car with which to flatten his comrades. Having to avoid enemies who are throwing themselves before your speeding vehicle, and trying to get your teammate who has been flung into the air to land onto your bonnet makes for refreshingly different gameplay.


Adding some extra flavour and strategy to the mix is the presence of four graffiti spots that are dotted around each map. When these spots are sprayed by a player on either team they confer special benefits to the whole team. These range from unlimited sprint and increased damage to police support whereby the cops will attempt to take down your opponents for you.

These benefits can be the deciding factor that turns the tide in a heated battle. Deciding whether to allocate one person to solely control these tagging points, or to just try and get them on your way past, or to risk forgetting about them altogether and to concentrate on the activities means that constant communication and teamwork is essential.

To sum up, we really enjoyed our time with the Saints Row 2 multiplayer. We found the constant switching of objectives and gameplay styles kept things fresh, and many of the matches we had were closely fought and exhilarating games. It remains to be seen whether the variety of Strong Arm makes up for the relative lack of other online modes, but this is a vast improvement over the frankly boring multiplayer of the first Saints Row. We’ll have to wait another few weeks to find out if Saints Row 2 has staying-power, but the signs are positive thus far.