So I played Saint's Row just about constantly this last week. It was my first playthrough (I borrowed it from a friend) so I figured I'd put together my thoughts on that game and see what could be improved.
*Driving Physics - One of my main turn-offs from the game. The driving was so stilted and it didn't feel like i was in an actual car. I never got that sense of speed when I was driving. The car's would stop on a dime and wouldn't make it over anything higher than a curb. It was too cartoony and awkward and made racing practically impossible. If Saint's Row 2 had driving similar to GTA4 (that's right; I liked the car physics in GTA4) it would be easier for me to get into. Also, for some reason, whenever you were being chased, the car that was chasing you was automatically just as fast as your car. It's just silly.
*Character Creation - I have no gripes about this. I played as an obese black man with a giant nose and a very high flat top haircut. Plastic surgery places were pretty convenient. If it's unchanged from Saints Row 1 in the second, i wouldn't be disappointed. As long as I can be incredibly racist about it.
*Respect System - This was another huge thumbs-down. It was frustrating to get into a storyline and then be halted because I have to do another round of drug trafficking, or steal another car for the chop shop. I'm hoping that the side missions in Saints 2 are just that: side missions.
*Activities - Hit and miss. I really liked the insurance fraud activity (though sometimes the hit would register as an actual hit and I'd die) and the chop shop was alright. I couldnt get into the racing locations at all, and drug trafficking was just tedious. The pimp and snatch activities were also repetitive and boring. Hopefully Saints 2 will introduce better stuff (though there was one in the trailer where you spray people with septic water (dookies). why the fuck would I be doing that?) and take away the bad ones.
*Story - The story was pretty weak, though the Vice Kings twist was pretty good. I read something about a darker story for Saints Row 2... though it's probably not going to be very dark when the cutscenes feature whatever character I can dream up. The high point of the game for me was the two occasions when my character talked. "Hope you like hepatitis" and "I just got run over by a motherfuckin' truck." Try figuring those out without playing the game.
*Rocket Launcher Splash Damage - Seriously, why should I have to hit my target head on? I have a Rocket launcher. It makes large explodies. Blows shit up. What were they thinking? Pls to fix, thanks.
*More Fun Than GTA? - I hope so. That's what that trailer was pushing. I vividly remember seeing a plane crashing through a building. I'd like to do that. Anything with realistic plane flight is pretty fun. I played San Andreas for hours, just getting that huge plane from the hangar, and parachuting out of it, or trying to land in the water.
*The City - I really disliked the city's design. There was nary an alleyway, and most of the time you'd have to follow the GPS route religiously. In GTA I could take alternate routes, go through parking lots, through alleyways with ease. But in Saints 1 you could become stuck because you took a turn into a one way street. Most barriers can't be knocked down, no matter how short or small they are. It really makes you feel closed in. In the Saint's Row 2 stories I've read, they're supposedly redesigning the city. So, good.