In Saints Row, the combat system is fairly basic.
Hand to hand combat is used by selecting the Fists. Against a standing opponent, the Left and Right Triggers are used to swing the left and right fists respectively, and holding both triggers down at the same time performs a block. Pressing the Left Bumper kicks, which can break through an opponent's defense. Successfully pulling three punches in a row without the target blocking causes Playa to utilise a special third move which immediately knocks down and kill the target. Against an opponent lying on the floor, the Right Trigger performs a light stomp while the Left Trigger performs a heavy stomp. Pressing the Left Trigger with any non-melee weapon but the McManus equipped hits an enemy with the butt of the gun.
Because the McManus is a sniper rifle, it has the unique ability of zooming in on targets by pressing the Left Trigger. Pressing the Zoom button zooms in three times, with the fourth press causing the sniper rifle to zoom back out to normal view.
Blocking is achieved by holding the Primary and Second Attack buttons at the same time while unarmed. It is not possible to block while using a weapon.
Saints Row 2
Hand to hand combat is used by selecting the Fists. Against a standing opponent, the Primary Attack button performs a right punch/kick and the Secondary Attack button performs a left punch/kick. Depending on the Fighting Styles selected, the properties of these basics attacks vary in speed, range, start up and recovery. Holding both attacks buttons down at the same time performs a block. Pressing and holding the Primary Attack button performs a critical move, which can break through an opponent's defense. Against an opponent lying on the floor, the Primary Attack button performs a light stomp while the Secondary Attack button performs a heavy stomp.
In Saints Row 2, there are four different fighting styles:
- Brawling (Default)
- Professional Wrestling (The Brotherhood)
- Tae Kwon Do (Ronin)
- Capoeira (Sons of Samedi)
At the beginning of the game, only the basic Brawler style is available, with additional styles being unlocked after completing the sixth mission in each gang's arc. Techniques vary in speed and power, as do individual finishing moves.
Saints Row 2 has more unique attacks, activated by landing any three melee attacks in a row without the opponent blocking. There may also be finishing moves for grounded opponents.
- Superman Punch - a sucker punch (holding the victim's head forward by their shirt, jumping up and punching them in the face)
- Kick to the groin
- Knee to the Face (holding the victim's head, pulling it down to knee them in the face)
- Backhand Slap - a Pimp Slap (swinging the back of a hand into the victim's face with a little flick at the end)
- Lifting Side Slam (The Rock Bottom)
- Side Slam Backbreaker
- Three Headbutts in the face (Holding the victim's head, and hitting it with three headbutts)
- Death Valley Driver (Fireman's Carry)
- One Middle Kick Spinning Jump-Kick (kicking them in the low torso to weaken them, and finishing them with a round-house kick)
- Two Middle Punches Spinning Jump-Kick (two punches to the torso to weaken them, finishing them with a round-house kick)
- Two Middle Kicks, and a Body Slam
- Two High Spinning Kicks to the Head (The Boss spins around while kicking the opponent in the head, stunning them, and then knocks them down with a stronger follow-up spin kick)
Sons of Samedi
- Sweep Reverse Hurricanrana
- Spinning Handstand
- Mounted Punches