All for Freedom, and for Pleasure - Let's Play Saints Row 1 and 2

Doing Crimes for Fun and Profit… and the Community Too, I Guess - Let’s Play Saints Row

When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back. Here’s why that’s a good thing:

Stilwater is plagued by three powerful gangs: the Westside Rollerz (yes, with a “z”), the Los Carnales, and the Vice Kings. Peace isn’t an option, so the next best option is violence. Julius Little, the leader of the small-time 3rd Street Saints, wants to put an end to the terror bearing down on the people of the city. And one night, he meets a man who is both the solution and an entirely new problem.

Hey, you’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto, right? Well what if you had an open world game kinda like that, but it was about gangs or something! This is the first Saints Row, a game where you can see the bits and pieces that make the later games stand on their own two feet, but also the bones of the games it was derived from. But the nice thing about this one is that it does have a character customizer, though if you’re expecting the MC to talk, you’re a game too early. Still, it was definitely a novelty at the time, and there’s something to be said about being able to customize the character who’s going to be sent to commit terrible/wacky atrocities.

Episode List


A few things have changed. No, it’s not just Playa’s hair.

The Saints’ victory was short-lived; after Julius disappeared and Playa exploded on a boat, the last gang of Stilwater was left without a leader, and before long its remains scattered. However, Richard Hughes wasn’t the only one with eyes for “improving” the city. With the Alderman dead, the Ultor corporation moved in and finished what he’d started. Over the course of five years, the Saint’s Row district has been rebuilt completely. Elsewhere in Stilwater, though, new gangs have moved in to fill the power vacuum left in the city’s crime scene. How could things get any worse in this city, which has so long been mired by gang violence? Well, today’s the day where a certain patient in the city jail’s medical wing finally makes a miraculous recovery…

Welcome to Saints Row 2, the one people actually talk about! With the first game as a base, 2 really shines as its own thing for capitalizing on what was good about that one, while really developing its own identity as well. Customization is even better in this game than it was in the first, both for what you can do with your character and in how the Saints look as a gang. And if you’re here for the story, you’ll be happy to know that the script also builds well off the first game’s while also coming into its own identity. It’s a lot punchier, and having the main character be a more active participant does wonders for the game’s presentation.

Episode List





One night in Stillwater, a sudden eruption of violence nearly kills some random citizen. But the timely arrival of the 3rd Street Saints’ leader saves the doomed fellow, and earns the gang a new member. Or at least it will once he’s canonized, which involves a lot of punching.

Playa’s part of the Saints, but taking back the Row isn’t going to be easy. And it won’t be straightforward either, because before we can start taking territory, we need to make sure everyone respects us first. So… let’s steal some cars first, I guess.

The Saints have established themselves as a credible threat, and now it’s time to go on the offensive against the other three gangs. Or at least it will be when Playa does enough miscellaneous activities that people respect him. Once that happens, though, it’ll be time to solve a kidnapping.

Our first mission went pretty well, so why don’t we take on three more this time around? After all, with three gangs operating in Stillwater, we’ll need to hit everyone’s operations if we want to see them all go down.

We’ve got some jobs to do today, and a lot of them are car-based. It’s a good thing we have the good 'ol, reliable Saintsmobile to get us through them!

We’ve pushed against the Los Carnales for long enough, and now they’re tired of our shit. Angelo, Victor, and a small army of grunts have attacked the Row and everyone wearing purple within. Thankfully for anyone who’s actually important in this game, the higher ups have left, and the only remaining invaders are far more susceptible to bullets than their enforcer.

We’ve got a busy day ahead of us, because there’s plenty of businesses for us to ruin in the name of taking back Stilwater. Whether it’s pushing drugs into the sea or just blowing up a lab, Playa will make sure the other gangs are hit with as much violence as humanly possible.

We’re on a roll with the Vice Kings, so why not keep on wrecking their stuff? After all, Johnny thinks it would be a good idea to keep the pressure on him, and I see no reason to doubt his instinct.

The Vice Kings have kidnapped Johnny Gat, and other than the requisite fucking around we have to do in order to start missions, we aren’t taking that sitting down! Our warpath starts with tracking down where the Kings are keeping Gat, but why keep our rampage contained in one territory when we could mess everyone up?

Hector’s death was a major blow to the Carnales, and it seems the Saints are determined to not let their opportunity go. With one brother down, Dex has plans to court the Colombians and kick the Carnales out of the game completely. But, unsurprisingly, our local drug lords aren’t going out without a fight.

With the main brother and the enforcer out of the way, the time has come to cut the Carnales out of Stilwater. And it turns out that getting the Colombians to side with the Saints is pretty easy. All we need to do is steal a ton of drugs from a police evidence room. Easy, right?

The Carnales have lost the more competent of the two brothers, their enforcer, and now their connection with the Colombians. For all intents and purposes, they can no longer function. But they aren’t giving up on what few holdouts they have, and the Saints don’t plan on letting Angelo make a comeback. Today, we hunt down the last Lopez brother and ensure the Carnales stay buried.

Alright, we’re done with the Carnales. So with them out of the way, which of the remaining two gangs looks close to collapsing? Why, it’s the Vice Kings! We need to figure out how to break the bonds between the Kings and the cops, and it seems both Dex and Johnny have some conflicting plans on how to do so.

King is resting, and his gang’s in total disarray. While they have a few operations to disrupt, it seems like a good time to focus on the Westside Rollerz. Lin and Donnie have come up with a new scheme to make up for the cars the gang failed to obtain, which means we better immediately ruin that idea too.

It seems subterfuge has failed. Which means the only option left for the Rollerz is an all-out conflict.

King’s been laying low after reaching the row, but with the other two gangs down and out, it’s time to discuss where he stands with regards to his gang. Or at least it will be once Playa’s done going around doing the activities he hadn’t visited before.

Benjamin King is ready to finish what little remains of the Vice Kings. Tanya’s done a good job running them into the ground, but there’s still enough members left to make taking them on directly difficult. And unless we want to scale the outside of her penthouse, we’ll need to figure out the passcode to the elevator.

The gangs are gone, but Stilwater’s troubles aren’t over. The chief of police, Richard Monroe, has arrested Julius, and doesn’t plan on giving him back unless one of the mayoral candidates is permanently taken off the ballot. The only question now is, “is Monroe really prepared for Playa’s unique problem solving skills?”

A few things have changed. No, it’s not just Playa’s hair.

The Saints’ victory was short-lived; after Julius disappeared and Playa exploded on a boat, the last gang of Stilwater was left without a leader, and before long its remains scattered. However, Richard Hughes wasn’t the only one with eyes for “improving” the city. With the Alderman dead, the Ultor corporation moved in and finished what he’d started. Over the course of five years, the Saint’s Row district has been rebuilt completely. Elsewhere in Stilwater, though, new gangs have moved in to fill the power vacuum left in the city’s crime scene. How could things get any worse in this city, which has so long been mired by gang violence? Well, today’s the day where a certain patient in the city jail’s medical wing finally makes a miraculous recovery…

Welcome to Saints Row 2, the one people actually talk about! With the first game as a base, 2 really shines as its own thing for capitalizing on what was good about that one, while really developing its own identity as well. Customization is even better in this game than it was in the first, both for what you can do with your character and in how the Saints look as a gang. And if you’re here for the story, you’ll be happy to know that the script also builds well off the first game’s while also coming into its own identity. It’s a lot punchier, and having the main character be a more active participant does wonders for the game’s presentation.

Playa has finally woken up after the incident on Alderman Hughes’s yacht. Oddly enough, he hasn’t washed up on some shore, he’s in the medical ward of a prison that may or may not have existed since the last time he checked. Did Stilwater always have its own Alcatraz? Questions like that will have to wait until after he’s escaped alongside his fellow inmate and Saints-sympathizer, Carlos Mendoza.