🤩 It’s here! Take a look at the awesome #SaintsRow Story Reveal trailer, giving you a taste of the Saints’ formation, rivals, rise to power (don’t worry, no spoilers) and a whole load of 💥💥💥
— Saints Row (@SaintsRow) August 16, 2022
It’s been around seven years since the last instalment in the Saints Row series. Here we are in 2022 and the Saints Row series has been rebooted. However, is the reboot for better or worse? Well, that depends on the individual.
If you were hoping to chase NPCs naked with a purple penetrator, sadly you’ll have to reserve that for real life. However, that’s not to say that Saints Row isn’t over-the-top silly fun, because it most certainly is. It just might be best to go into this release with slightly lowered expectations.
So, what’s the story morning glory for Saints Row in 2022? You play as a nameless “Boss” and if you’ve not already created your character in the Boss Factory, you will be treated to an in-depth creation suite. You can create a character as close to you or as wacky as you want. Seriously, I lost a good hour creating my character and in truth, I could have spent longer.
The story kicks off with a party being crashed by an anarchist gang known as “Idols”. You and your crew have their backsides handed to them, before jumping back several weeks prior to these events.
Here begins your rags to riches campaign as you one day aim to dominate the fictional city of Santo Ileso, loosely based upon Las Vegas. District by district your crew will take over the city by completing missions, beginning new business ventures, wiping out enemy gangs and more. By the time you’ve finished the Saints Row campaign, you’ll be the kingpin of your own criminal enterprise. Probably.
At its core, Saints Row is a dumb third-person shooter and that’s pretty much what fans of the series would expect. There’s nothing overly complicated here, you pick up the controller and away you go. The elephant in the room is that Saints Row is inspired by GTA. To be fair, just about everything is inspired by something. However, following on from the first two original Saints Row games, the series has done a decent job in deviating itself into its own alternative.
Football fans might prefer FIFA over PES. FPS fans might prefer Call of Duty over Battlefield or fighting fans might prefer Street Fighter over Mortal Kombat. My point is that Saints Row offers an alternative to the likes of GTA. Is Saints Row better than GTA? The sales figures might give you one answer, however, as are most things in life, it’s all about personal preference and Saints Row 2022 is no exception.
For the most part, you’ll be causing chaos mowing down enemies to your heart’s content with at times, little attention from the law. Saints Row has plenty of weapons on offer and it’s very satisfying causing over-the-top destruction with its side-arm, machine gun or RPG. Likewise, driving is just as chaotic and in some ways, is more fun than combat. Whether you’re being chased by a rival gang or the police, cars will be blowing up left, right and centre, as you fling your car 50ft in the way courtesy of a conveniently placed ramp.
However, as fun as the gameplay can be in Saints Row, it’s not without its flaws. For starters, the map has one too many filler missions for my liking. Such as icons on your map enticing you to search bins for loot. As with most open-world games, you can expect some filler content. However, rooting through bins for loot and XP screams filler more than just about anything that I have seen in an open-world game.
Furthermore, you will notice a fair share of texture pop in, especially when driving through its open world. I’ve also noticed a fair share of bugs and odd NPC behaviour, such as being stuck in the environments or clashing with objects. I’ve even encountered enemies that stand ideally by as I shoot them dead. Hopefully, the developers at Volition will patch out many of the game’s bugs via upcoming updates.
In terms of voice acting and soundtrack, Saints Row can be considered an acquired taste and perhaps in some respects, lacking. At launch Saints, Row has 10 radio stations ranging from dance, pop, country, classical and more. To be honest, not a single song popped out for me and the track list is somewhat forgettable. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the likes of GTA in this department and a bit of classic 80s music would have tickled my fancy. Hopefully, additional radio stations could also be patched at a later date.
Saints Row also has a total of five main performance options. The lower-scale options will offer a balance of 1080p and varied framerates. While the top option offers a full 4K resolution but consequently suffers in the framerate department. Personally, I found that the 1440p/High FPS option worked best for me, offering an in-between compromise of resolution and frames-per-second.
— Saints Row (@SaintsRow) June 9, 2022
The dialogue and voice acting are another area of acquired taste in Saints Row. Throughout the series, the humour has been crude and borderline, which isn’t a knock, far from it. I’ve always been a fan of comedy that pushes the boundaries. However, Saints Row 2022 is toned down a lot compared to previous games, likely to appeal to a broader audience.
That being said, the humour and dialogue might be comedy gold to one player but complete trash to another. At the end of the day, just like the music in Saints Row, the dialogue and humour are subjective to the individual. It also has to be noted that I’ve not had the opportunity to play Saints Row co-op multiplayer at the time of writing.
Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with Saints Row. Even though it’s very toned down compared to other games in the series, I might be enjoying this more than the others. However, perhaps I need to revisit other games in the series to rekindle my memory. Saints Row doesn’t offer large-scale productions, ground-breaking animation or award-winning storytelling. But seriously, who would honestly expect that with this series?
The watered-down nature of Saints Row 2022 might be off-putting for veteran fans of the series. However, on the other hand, it might appeal to new fans of the series. Saints Row is far from a perfect game, it’s buggy and has some repetitive side missions. Yet, it’s got a certain charm about it and at times, it’s surprised me how immersed I’ve been in its janky world. I’d advise going into Saints Row with lowered expectations. If you can do that, Saints Row brings chaotic fun and over-the-top mayhem to the world of Santo Ileso.
- A review code was provided by Deep Silver