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‘Saints Row’ Preview: Back To The Series’ Roots But Thoroughly Modern

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‘Saints Row’ Preview: Back To The Series’ Roots But Thoroughly Modern

As I glide through the air, wingsuit cutting a shadow in the sunshine, I spy a particularly flashy motor speeding below me. I turn to head it off at the intersection, and land with ease on the moving rooftop. A short skirmish later, I’m now behind the wheel of this fancy car, tearing through the colourful, sprawling streets of Santo Ileso. 

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2022’s Saints Row may be set in a new, California-esque location, but it’s very much in keeping with what we’ve seen before from developer Volition and publisher Deep Silver. The open world is fun to explore. The humour is irreverent and well executed. The gameplay is still as chaotic as ever (in a good way). Don’t get me wrong, it definitely feels more modern compared to 2013’s Saints Row IV, but the feel of the game is true to the franchise.

See Saints Row in action here:

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In an interview with the game’s associate UX designer Kenzie Lindgren, the developer described it as “closer to SR2 and 3”, and that’s immediately clear when diving into Saints Row. Similarly to 2020’s Saints Row: The Third Remastered, there are no superpowers to aid you in your quest to become the dominant criminal organisation. Instead, you will rely on a range of weapons, from melee to firearms, with much of the combat being third-person shooter.

The gunplay is silky smooth, especially when compared to previous games in the series, and I dare say it’s even more user-friendly than Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. Playing on PC with an Xbox controller (don’t @ me), I was in my element when it came to aiming, running around and driving an assortment of cars and bikes. Sadly, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. 

Saints Row / Credit: Deep Silver
Saints Row / Credit: Deep Silver
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It’s not uncommon for a pre-release build of a game to have a few mild bugs but I’d say about 20% of my shots that hit enemies didn’t register damage. The reticule was red, signifying impact, but foes were randomly indifferent to these shots. This was only the tip of the iceberg. 

Throughout my three-to-four hours with the game, I encountered teleporting baddies, T-posing NPCs, and a quest that glitched forcing me to restart. Despite all of this I still had a lot of fun with Saints Row, and I’m hopeful Volition can stamp these mild niggles out before the game releases on August 23, as they will get annoying if they persist. 

Saints Row / Credit: Deep Silver
Saints Row / Credit: Deep Silver
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As a fan of the series, I’ve never been too engrossed by the stories in Saints Row games. Moments will always stay with me, like fighting Keith David in SR4, but for the most part I’m there to kick ass and laugh myself silly. However, 2022’s Saints Row had me fully hooked on the plot from the word go. 

Playing as a gangster/mercenary, your character shares an apartment with three friends. This motley crew includes two members of different gangs, namely Los Panteros and the Idols respectively. Your story involves antagonising these two factions, and events ultimately result in your quartet starting their own organisation known as the Saints. 

Saints Row / Credit: Deep Silver
Saints Row / Credit: Deep Silver
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The bonds between your core gang members add a delightful depth to the game. Sure, there’s still plenty of goofy humour in and amongst the action, but the connection between our heroes makes it clear there’s something worth fighting for here besides the desire to cause utter bedlam, and I’m here for it. 

With a little over a month to go before the world of Santo Ileso is available to us all, I’m happy to say I can’t wait to dive back into Saints Row. I want to steal more cars and mess up rival gang members. I want to do more outlandish stunts with motorbikes and win

Saints Row releases August 23, 2022, on PC, Stadia, Xbox One, Series X/S and PlayStation 4 and 5. The game was previewed on PC.

Featured Image Credit: Deep Silver

Topics: Saints Row, PC, Preview

James Daly
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