The first two games on the outside might have seemed like blatent GTA clones, but really what they managed to do was offer the same freedom of experiences you got from san an on the next gen consoles, and when IV became so heavily reliant on pointless realism with tedious and slow gameplay, SR2 was a great alternative to have some fun like we used to.
The addition of full story co-op made it perfect, a lot of customization options and endless fun.
Why I felt that SR3 ruined the series was not entirely that the game went utter batsh*t. But it was that the new map and environments weren't the same at all.
I used to love just dicking around at the airport in SR2, you could have so many laughs there, be it shooting down landing planes, trolling ones taking off, throwing airport staff around, messing around in the surrounding areas. Messing around in the sea with peds driving boats around, f*cking around on the beach with people sunbathing. Going into interiors such as the sports club and throwing elderly people into basketball nets.
All that was gone in 3. It was fun in 2 because it felt like you were causing mischief and messing up someones day. But in 3 that didn't exist. It was just a weird dream world where peds would randomly breakdance in the street without warning. There were no peds driving boats in the sea, there was no beaches, there was no life at the airport, infact it was all overgrown with weeds and had broken pavement, it was a f*cking mess.
They didn't care about making a world that was somewhat believable or sane in any way. Because pulling down someone's pants infront of people is funny, but doing it when you are both alone, is just weird.
It lost many other great features I would use all the time, like picking up random objects and throwing them at people. As well as being able to choose a fighting style acompanied by the heavy power melee attacks by holding one of the triggers. I could endlessly power boot some f*cker up the ass all day with those. No such thing in 3.
There was also WAY more options in SR2, I loved playing as a ninja with a color scheme to match subzero and scorpion. I was utterly shocked when I first played 3. I had created just a placeholder character with the character creator before I got the game, tried to make something look as good as possible, then found out that was the entire clothing stock for the game. It was such a sh*t selection I ended up just playing as a female character for the rest of the game.
They spent so much time on the dildo and wobbly tit physics that I thought, may as well try and make use of it.
All the guns sucked ass, at least in 2 they were actually more true to life than even GTAV's are right now. But in 3 they were just giant sh*t looking joke weapons. That had upgrades that I could never take off and was stuck with if I ever wanted to play with them in that form I would have to make a f*cking backup save.
They killed an entire part of the already small map by making it a zombie hoard section, which it was entirely not needed.
The driving somewhat improved but was still pretty f*cking sh*t, especially collisions.
The only thing I enjoyed from it was the dive button. I could spend hours diving off the roof of the main safehouse into the pool.
Sure 3 jumped the shark hardcore, but it was just that it no longer cared about what originally made it great, I just wanted a lot of choice and options and to let ME decide on what and when I choose to be funny. They made a big mistake by forcing those things on you.
A joke is not funny if you are forced to tell it and everyone knows it is coming.
It is funny when someone falls over in public when they didn't mean to, but SR3 is just that clown at a kids birthday party so desperate for you to laugh at it that it just becomes so unfunny that it becomes sad.
And the bottom line is, there wasn't even a day and night cycle or the f*cking insurance fraud minigame.