So I bought Saints Row 2 on the PC using steam about 4-5 days ago and just finished it a couple hours ago. It took me about 30 hours and I'm at about 90% completion according to my save file. The gameplay is basically a sandbox game but with a few quirky things unique to the game. Think of GTA: San Andreas but with enhanced graphics and improved gameplay. However don't buy the PC version it's an inferior port and unless you have a decent computer you're going to lag, especially during any driving part.
So if you've never played a GTA game or a sandbox game think of it like this: you're in third person perspective kind of like Super Mario 64 and you control your character and basically do whatever you want; hence the term sandbox game. Of course in these types of games it's not a true sandbox since there's missions with objectives, in this case you're trying to take over a city called Stilwater. GTA may have pioneered the genre but people have definitely added their tweaks and things about it as the sandbox/GTA genre went on.
A lot of the things that Saints Row 2 does is basically a parody of sandbox games. How people talk, the cheats, how you fight, customization of your character along with a variety of other things. Now the way I play the game is basically mess around and get used to the game for about 1-2 hours. Start mission, do a few side quests, start mission again and repeat till I beat the game. That's how I did it and I enjoyed it most of the way through. There's a few mini-games that pissed the hell out of me but that could be due to the PC port. The mini-game I played was a driving themed game where you use a quad and try to go through these checkpoints. It's already hard since you're timed and they give you very little time and there's tons of obstacles in the way. Not to mention your quad controls like ass and wants to fly into the air every few seconds where you lose complete control of the vehicle. You can also make cars explode and light pedestrians on fire but that just adds to the frustration. You basically get extra time for blowing up cars/people but the people avoid you and the cars FUCKING EXPLODE! This might not sound like much but the explosions cover your view and the fucking people... oh those FUCKING people just move out of the way whenever you want to hit them. Now I understand that that's just basic human survival instinct and programmed ai but it just pisses me the hell off.
Anyways I'm digressing since I still haven't fully completed all of the levels of that mini-game. Overall though it's a good game with a wide variety of things to do. Compared to GTAIV's more realistic feel this is better IMO. Not that GTAIV was bad but it wasn't as fun since they removed many of the fun cheats and activities and added boring realistic things that you don't want to do in a game. Saints Row 2 is all about doing insane things with the tools of the world. The weapons are fun to use and there's a nice variety of cars which you can customize. You can change the look of your character and the tools are simple yet quite pronounced. You can even change your walking style and you aren't limited to anything. For example, you can be a male but have a female voice and wear female clothing. The missions weren't grating and the police don't hound you for every little thing you do. The missions make you feel like a actual a badass since you go around fucking shit up trying to take back your city. The voice acting is good and I liked the comedy.
So I'll end it with a pro/con list and my score out of 10.
-Lots of things to do and you can customize tons of things
-Cheats are fun and there's definitely a lot of them
-Graphics are nice and fit the game
-It doesn't take itself too seriously which I personally like
-Nice variety of weapons
-Decent sized city
-The mission and activity variety is pretty good.
-Glitchy and laggy at certains parts(at least on the PC port)
-Sometimes the difficulty on some things can be frustrating
A solid 8.5/10