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Saints Row 2 Linux port report, not good

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Now that I've had a chance to play some Saints Row 2 on Linux (purchased personally), here are some thoughts on the performance.

Warning: May have spoilers.

Linux performance
Performance wise, it's really not all that great. I've been testing it only at 1080p (1920x1080) and the performance is all over the place.

On a 980ti I saw drops down to 20FPS with major stutter when it loads in new sections. The specifications do state:
QuoteDue to issues surrounding the original engine, some stuttering may be observed during gameplay. These types of streaming issues may be improved with faster HDD units.

They are at least warning people, and this was an issue on Windows too, but even so it's still pretty bad. Some of the stutter brings the game right down for a momentary crawl, and it really does detract from the experience. If you're running the game from an SSD, you will probably see better performance.

For the first section right up to when you get on the boat my 980ti was struggling to stay at even 40FPS. I don't normally care about the FPS counter, but you could feel it and see it struggling.

Once I got to the city, it got even worse. Sometimes struggling to stay even around 30FPS. Some games I can handle that, but a 3rd person shooter? No way.

It makes fire-fights a bit of a nuisance, but the worst thing is driving around. The stuttering and sluggishness of it loading in the resources really kills the game and my enthusiasm for it.

To be frank, the performance is terrible. It's not entirely Virtual Programming's fault, they have their own overhead on top of an originally poor console port, it was never going to be a pretty scene. I'm not surprised they didn't reply to my request for a key, like they didn't for the other Saints Row games.

General issues
The first give-away that it was originally a console port is no mouse support in the main menu or when setting up your character, annoying, but not a major issue. That's true on Windows too.

When you hold down Q to change weapon, it shows a gamepad stick for where you're moving the mouse, and it's really fiddly to select what you want. Also another give-away about it being a console port originally.

Is it worth it?
I'm not really sure. The main point about gaming is "are you having fun?". It's a pretty decent game as far as gameplay goes, but the overall performance and the repeating stuttering is a major issue. An issue that is badly noticeable too. For the sale price it's not bad, but I'm not sure how long I can personally put up with this performance.

You can find Saints Row 2 on Steam.

I will look to cover Saints Row: The Third soon too, possibly today or tomorrow. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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37 comments
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edo 14 Apr, 2016
I have read about tweaks to make the game run better on windows, I guess those should also work on this port. And I guess this explain why still no mac version lol, since they have a limited hardware.
chimpy 14 Apr, 2016
Damn thats too bad; this was next best thing to GTA on linux. Hopefully it'll get better.
ElectricPrism 14 Apr, 2016
I'm stuck in the city in SaintsRow 4 it fulfills my basic GTA thirst on Linux very nicely.


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 14 April 2016 at 8:01 pm UTC
omer666 14 Apr, 2016
I'm downloading it now, my GPU is way more modest than yours (GTX 660), so we'll see what it looks like.
poke86 14 Apr, 2016
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SR3 isn't doing too well either, I get anywhere between 20 to 100 FPS but mostly around 40. After playing SR4 I can't really enjoy the game without superpowers anyway ^^.
Luke_Nukem 14 Apr, 2016
I seem to recall that even on Windows, SR2 and SR3 had atrocious performance. SR2 in particular was very bad.

Probably not a very wise choice of game for Virtual to bring to Linux tbh.
DaVince 14 Apr, 2016
Quoting: LukeNukemI seem to recall that even on Windows, SR2 and SR3 had atrocious performance. SR2 in particular was very bad.

Probably not a very wise choice of game for Virtual to bring to Linux tbh.

SR3 performed better than SR4 on Windows. SR2 wasn't great, but was clearly faster on my Windows system, until it decided to crash. Which was always within 3-4 minutes.
Keyrock 14 Apr, 2016
The performance is pretty dismal and I have a high-end machine with a i7-4790K and a Titan X. At 1440p with max settings minus motion blur, v-sync, and anti-aliasing at 4X I bounce around the low to high 40s. Turning off AA seemed to do nothing for FPS. I could deal with those framerates, but even with a reasonably fast SSD I get the occasional stutter. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen way more than I'd like.

I don't know how much can be done about it as SR2 is famous for being one of the worst PC ports ever made. It's been so long since I played it on Windows that I don't remember how much the various tricks floating around the web helped, but I suppose I should hunt those down and also see if the Gentlemen of the Row mod works on Linux.

It's not unplayable for me, but the occasional stutter is really annoying. It's too bad because SR2 is a really really good game.


Last edited by Keyrock on 14 April 2016 at 8:43 pm UTC
grenadecx 14 Apr, 2016
I managed to play through the SR2 without any performance problems at all. Buggy cutscenes and some mission gamebreaking bugs however, but that's about it. I'm not surprised that the performance here is terrible however. After playing the port of SR4 on Linux I lost all hope.


Last edited by grenadecx on 14 April 2016 at 9:10 pm UTC
Keyrock 14 Apr, 2016
Quoting: grenadecxI managed to play through the SR2 without any performance problems at all. Buggy cutscenes and some mission gamebreaking bugs however, but that's about it. I'm not surprised that the performance here is terrible however. After playing the port of SR4 on Linux I lost all hope.
That's the thing about the SR2 Windows port. It was originally a XBOX 360 game and it seems like no thought was put into it ever being anything other than a XBOX 360 game when it was originally developed, so Volition used a bunch of tricks to squeeze performance out of it that worked great on that one specific piece of hardware but on other hardware like PS3, the game had problems. On PC, though, it was a complete crapshoot as some of the game's logic was tied to the XBOX 360's processor speed and other nasty hacks used to make the game run great on the 360 worked okay on some machine configurations, so so on others, and utterly horrible on others still. A machine having more horsepower wouldn't necessarily make the game run better, it would make it worse in some cases, because of the way the engine was programmed. It was a mess. Worked just fine on some PCs, not so much on others.


Last edited by Keyrock on 14 April 2016 at 9:32 pm UTC
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