Saints Row Review - Woop-Woop! That's The Sound Of Da Police

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 | September 30, 2022
 |  ,

Approaching almost a decade since its last outing, Saints Row is back, it's hanging up its superhero capes, ditching the war on aliens, and this time taking a more serious tone… kind of.

Having been rebooted from the developers at Volition, Saints Row is returning to its roots. Instead of superpowers and alien invasions seen in Saints Row 4, the game takes on a more grounded approach but not without its sense of humor. Set in the American southwest, the story takes place in the beautiful city of Santo Ileso and follows four close friends living together, struggling just to afford rent. The solution to their problems? BE YOUR OWN BOSS! Here, they decide to put all of their skills to use to form their own gang and rise to the top of the criminal food chain under the name... you guessed it, The Saints.

After creating The Saints, you must build a criminal empire from the ground up. However, before you can do that, you get to play around with what is most likely the game's best feature, the boss factory. The possibilities for customizing your character are endless. You could easily end up spending hours in it. What's even better is that you can download or upload your Boss and share it with other players around the world. I personally could not decide whether to be The Rock, Willy Wonka or Handsome Squidward. But in the end, I took a more classic approach and made one from scratch.  

Hopper from Stranger Things is ready to hit the streets as a Saint.

Speaking of guns, there is an abundance of ways to take down your enemies through a vast array of weapons. The Thrustbuster is a personal favorite of mine; think of it as a nerf football that once it sticks to a target, it will fling them into the air like a bottle rocket and explode. Additionally, I was very impressed with the new takedown system, where you deal damage to enemies to fill up a meter which will allow you to instantly kill them and recover some health along the way.

As with previous installments, this game offers some wild and chaotic setpieces, among which the train heist is one of the most memorable, where you ride hoverbikes, jump between cars from one to another, and even board a tank. Players will also discover new gameplay features and abilities. Climbing out on top of your vehicle's roof and firing at enemies is one of the game's most appealing features. It makes you feel like you're in a summer blockbuster movie. A wingsuit can also be equipped that glides you across the city or allow you to take down enemies. It was a bit difficult to control at first, but after flying into a wall a few dozen times, you'll get the hang of it and have a blast.

Firefights on top of vehicles are a fun way to cause havoc across the city.

Although I did enjoy my time in Saints Row, I did have my fair share of issues with the game. While the open world of Santo Ileso is stunning, it also felt pretty empty. It would have been nice if the game brought more life to the NPCs, perhaps providing shootouts between rival gangs or the cops busting a drug deal. Anything would have been better and more interesting than pedestrians mindlessly walking the streets. It also would have been nice if we had got to know a bit more about the rival gangs you are up against. You come up against 3 different factions in the game. Marshall, a private military corporation, Los Panteros, a gang made up of muscle and car enthusiasts, and The Idols, an anarchist group. All who I feel are just there to shoot and move the plot along. If the game spent more time explaining the backgrounds of these groups, I might care more about taking them down.

Hello…is anybody out there?

I did run across a few bugs along the way, which sometimes made playing the game a bit unpleasant. I had multiple encounters where the camera zoomed in too far whenever I entered a helicopter, making it difficult to see anything. At times, I was clipped by the car door when I tried to exit my vehicle, which was frustrating. Then for the majority of the game, I wasn't able to access the music playlist option on your phone, which was a bummer because who wouldn't want to steal a car, jump out while airborne into your wingsuit, and fly right into a power line all while listening to "Party Up" by DMX?

Saints Row offers an impressive selection of accessibility settings that players of all types can enjoy. There is an aim assist option where as soon as you press the aim button, you can choose how you want to lock on to enemies. Snap lock will direct your crosshairs quickly to an enemy while short and full lock stays on targets for longer periods of time, but you can also manually aim by toggling the option off. Another cool feature included is a chat bubble that can be added to display over the heads of the characters that speak, allowing you to identify who is speaking and where they are speaking from. The game also includes color blind options, button remapping, and an in-depth difficulty option that lets you customize certain aspects of the game, such as how durable enemies are or how much ammunition you receive upon picking some up. Even with all these just listed, there are even more settings to explore, which I think is a great feature that gives players of all backgrounds a fair opportunity to play this game.

Overall The Saints Row reboot plays it safe this time around and delivers what most people would expect from a Saints game, as it doesn't deviate too far from how previous entries were played. I enjoyed the story for its fresh and grounded approach. The new cast of characters are a bit cheesy when it comes to their personalities. As the series continues to evolve, I believe there is a lot of potential for their characters to be fleshed out. Now that the Saints have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, I'm curious to see what the city of Santo Ileso has in store for them next (For the love of God, please don't be aliens).

I give Saints Row a 7/10.

If you want to join in on all the mayhem, you can pick up your copy of Saints Row down below https://game.page/saintsrow/CouchSoup

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