Saints Row 2 rollin' out August 26

Sequel to THQ's well-reviewed would-be GTA will take to the streets on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at end of summer.

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Before Saints Row was released in 2006, many dismissed the game as just another Grand Theft Auto copy. When the game was released, reviewers agreed it was a GTA clone--one of the best GTA clones yet and the first released on a then-next-generation console, the Xbox 360. The game went on to sell over 1 million copies, joining Microsoft's Platinum Hits line.

Now, THQ has announced the release date of its follow-up to Saints Row, Saints Row 2. The sequel will ship on both the 360 and the PlayStation 3 on August 26, four months after Grand Theft Auto IV and five days before another high-profile sequel, EA/Pandemic's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.

Saints Row 2 is set a few years after the events of the first game, which saw the Saints gang take over the city of Stillwater. As a fully customizable male or female character, players will lead the Saints against three new rival gangs bent on seizing control of the streets. However, unlike the oft-comic original, the new game's main storyline will reportedly have a much darker tone.

Besides open gang warfare, the game will offer a series of mission types, including such felonious acts as insurance fraud. It will also add Gears of War-style over-the-shoulder aiming and the ability to use foes as human shields. Most significantly, Saints Row 2 will allow two gamers to play through its entire length in co-op mode, as outlined by GameSpot's recent hands-on preview.

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