The much-ballyhooed Saints Row 2 shipped today, and the New York City Police Department is not amused.

The new action game from Volition and THQ “boasts enough violence, guns and gratuitous sex to make Grand Theft Auto seem as tame as Pac-Man,” according to a report by the New York Daily News, qualities that have drawn both largely positive reviews from gaming sites and the ire of the NYPD. “These horrible and violent videogames desensitize young people to violence while encouraging depravity, immorality, while glorifying criminal behavior,” said NYPD union head Patrick Lynch.

The GTA-inspired sandbox game lets players take on the role of a gangbanger in the fictional city of Stilwater, dishing out violence and death while taking part in a wide variety of criminal enterprises and, of course, tooling around in the city in vehicles ranging from cars and motorcyles to planes, helicopters and jet-skis. But THQ said the game is “tongue-in-cheek,” and the article notes that along with the grossly-exaggerated gang activities, players can also fake injuries to commit insurance fraud, spray sewage on buildings to bring down property values or just strip and run around naked.

None of which impresses soon-to-be-former lawyer Jack Thompson, who called the game a “Grand Theft Auto ripoff” and said, “As is true with pornography, as is true with violence, the subsequent products tend to push the envelope even more.”

Saints Row 2 launched in North America today for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and will hit Europe and Australia later in the week. A PC version of the game is also in the pipe and scheduled for release on November 10.

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