Version tested: Xbox 360
Seeing as it's been more than six months since the game hit the shelves, you might have expected Volition to beef up Saints Row 2 rather more substantially than it has with this lightweight serving of DLC.
You also might have expected more content for your cash - Ultor Exposed carries a price tag of 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80), or GBP 7.99 on PSN. The hard sell is that you get to play with (or rather, alongside) US porn star Tera Patrick in three new campaign missions. It's headline-grabbing rather than crotch-grabbing stuff, and shockingly each mission can be romped through in around ten minutes. Ker-ching.
There's little to recommend about Ultor Exposed - even to players who agreed with Rob's exuberant assessment (9/10) back in October. As with many of Saints Row 2's campaign missions, the story arc feels like a by-the-numbers exercise in every sense.
Apart from wondering how Ms Patrick ended up as an ex-microbiologist working for low-life gangsters, it's a struggle to care why she's got a grudge against the Ultor Corporation. Instead you'll dive headlong into more drivin' and shootin' mayhem with nary a pause. That's why we're here, clearly.
The problem is the missions fall into dreaded openworld cliche from minute one. These sort of things may look great in edited trailers, but when it comes to actually playing the game it's the same old scene. Drive there. Shoot those guys. Drive after that truck. Shoot it. The ten minutes required to play the entire opening mission includes the time it takes to watch the cut-scene. Pulse-raising this is not.
The second mission's even shorter. Unless you feel compelled to crank up the difficulty level, just seven minutes of your life will be taken up by chasing after a truck and shooting it repeatedly. After that you hop in the back for a bit of regulation on-rails shooting gallery nonsense, where an endless supply of helicopters and manic police cars line-up to be blown-up by your big gun with infinite ammo.
I would apologise for the spoilers, but anyone who has played either of the Saints Row games (or GTA-style openworld games in general for that matter) won't be surprised by the scenario. Any attempt by the developer to come up with anything remotely new is conspicuous by its absence.
By the third and final mission, you're losing the will to live. Drive to a hilltop. Shoot the nasty AI-deficient men in the face. Shoot the most hapless helicopters in the history of videogames out of the sky with a machine gun while they rain missiles on you.
OK, if you forget to avoid said missiles in time the climax can be a pain in the 36 double-Ds. But even if you're playing the game with your feet you'll eke no more than an hour out of Ultor Exposed's missions. It's little more than pointless fluff on the end of an already uninspiring campaign, where dire combat and lemming-like enemy AI conspire to make large portions of the game truly forgettable.
As with the original, there's no question that the most fun to be had in Saints Row is engaging in the many activities found scattered across the map - not to mention the diversions built into almost every square inch of the game. Shame none of this applies to Ultor Exposed, however, as Volition opted to not add any new mini-game content this time.
Elsewhere, the new competitive co-op mode is an interesting addition - assuming you have the inclination and the opportunity to play the missions through again with a companion. As you kill members and destroy vehicles during missions you'll accrue points, with extra ones for getting headshots and so on. When the mission ends, the player with the most points gets a cash bonus.
All well and good, but this mode is near enough useless to anyone who's already played the game - which will be almost everyone buying this. A minority of players will be coming to Saints Row 2 fresh, having just bought the game and the DLC, and to them it might be of interest. Real obsessives might welcome the challenge to pit themselves against like-minded obsessives - but again, they're likely to be in the minority.
So what else does Ultor Exposed have to offer? New clothing options are hardly headline material, nor are ten new hairstyles. Of far greater interest are the six new vehicles. These include the EDF Scout vehicle, complete with roof-mounted multi-rocket Annihilator, the Vulture chopper and AB the Destroyer aircraft. Then there's the crazy three-wheeled Pulse, Stallion racing car and super slick Temptress car. Fun, sure, but only of use for general sandbox play.
And finally, there are a bunch of multiplayer maps for the online community to play with. Two each for gangbang/team gangbang and the rather appealing Strongarm mode. At present, it's hard to even get a match going to test them out. Unless you're able to schedule matches within your own community, you'll struggle to get any kind of online play going.
As always with DLC reviews, the question of value for money creeps into the equation. There's no doubt that Saints Row 2: Ultor Exposed falls down badly here. With three uninspired and ludicrously short missions forming the meat of the package, it's a huge let-down. The other elements are only worth it if you haven't already played the game extensively.
It's hard to think of a reason why you'd part with good money for the limited extra entertainment offered by this DLC. There are two more downloadable packs on the way for Saints Row 2, but Volition has much to do to convince players to part with their cash next time.
5 / 10