Saints Row Review

Saints Row by numbers.

The superpowers are gone and the sex toys are safely back in the socks drawer. This Saints Row has reverted to its open-world gangland roots. This back-to-basics approach has produced a primitive type of crime spree. The reboot’s design inadequacies and technical shortcomings have been exposed. There is no modesty censor large enough to conceal its junk. There’s plenty of fun in chasing collectibles, causing chaos and it was enjoyable. However, the outdated mechanics and repetitive mission design made me long for something that would surprise me.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the film for some time. The rags to riches story of the Saints gang in Santo Ileso is nothing but a retelling of Uncharted. There are a convoy chase and a train robbery as highlights, which lead to the campaign’s disappointing end. Between these high points is a constant rinse-and-repeat of wave-based shootouts with a few rival gangs, which are all uniformly bullet-spongy and largely indistinguishable. Only the neon-soaked, garish Idols stand out. They seem to be waiting for Ubisoft’s new Watch Dogs.

Combat is quick and easy to manage. In the absence of a cover system, it focuses heavily on circle-strafing and occasionally performing execution moves to replenish your health. Although it doesn’t create a ballet of ballistics that rivals Doom Eternal in force, it is a well-designed system that allows you to recover from any damage without needing to search for lost medkits and fumble with a consumables list. You can also use the recharging skill system to allow you to assign special abilities to four hotkeys. Once I had leveled my character, I was able to access everything from flaming punts to the ability of shooting through walls. However, I rarely used them to replace the more conventional skills such as throwing grenades or activating temporary armor which resulted in a fairly traditional brand of firefights.

It doesn’t create a propulsive ballet ballistics that rivals Doom Eternal.

Saints Row Review

It’s also fairly conventional in its approach to driving. Though there are a handful of aircraft and boats to discover, most of my time in Santo Ileso was spent behind the wheel of a healthy fleet of land vehicles, from motorbikes to monster trucks and everything in between. The floaty and largely homogenized handling meant that I never really grew to favour any one vehicle over the other (aside from the glorious hoverbike unlocked late in the story), but the ability to drift and sideswipe other cars at the tap of a button does give chase sequences a welcome burst of Burnout -style gratification. The fact that you can scramble onto the roof at speed and launch into a wingsuit glide (a move straight out of Just Cause ) also makes for some spectacular getaways, although it seems like an oversight that you can’t do the same thing from a motorbike’s saddle.

Purple Reign

Your boss character is a self-described “walking killer party”. Three other foundational members are also part of the new Saints. They accompany you on certain missions as AI partners and provide some cringe-inducing banter between the cutscenes. You can summon them via your phone’s contacts and they will fight alongside you on the streets. This is useful later when you are trying to eliminate rival gangs from your territory.

Although none of these criminal partners have interesting personalities, Eli, the brainy pacifist was my favorite. His side stories involved him wearing cardboard armour, swapping my assault rifle with a Nerf gun, and participating in live-action role-playing combat battles. These sections were essentially the same as any other shooting gallery sequence. However, it was quite funny to see the characters making gunshot sounds with the mouths or performing pretend executions. It was also hilarious to watch enemies refusing to admit that they had been shot and then lying down and playing dead. It reminded me of the sticks-and-stones-style warfare of South Park: The Stick of Truth, and provided an enjoyable shift in tone from the more murderous mayhem found elsewhere.

Although I would have preferred Eli to accompany me on more missions, you cannot change the person you are stuck with. You can change your appearance, however, with Saints Row’s powerful character customization tool. This can be accessed via the in-game telephone. I am a simple man with simple tastes so I bought the mariachi outfit and equipped the Three Aigos pelvic thrust salute. I kept them for the 30 hours of playing. You can really let your imagination run wild with all the clothing options available, no matter if you are looking for high-end fashion, or just a simple taco hat and tissue boxes.

You can extend this cosmetic customization to your weapons arsenal, garage, and even Saints’ Headquarters. This abandoned church evolves and expands throughout the journey. It can be enhanced with dozens of decorations that have been hidden across Santo Ileso. These decorations range from abstract art to large-sized pieces of Americana such as cowboy boots and giant football helmets. This is a great way to display Saints Row’s collectibles organically. It also answers the question: What would Animal Crossing look like if its residents were 100 per cent more violent?

Repeat Business

You will be able to buy more criminal enterprises as you move through Saints Row’s story. The Saints’ hourly income will increase by purchasing these businesses and completing the associated missions. This will give you more cash to buy weapons and clothing. While you don’t have to purchase all the ventures to complete Saints Row, it is necessary to buy roughly half of them in order unlock the final story missions. It’s a shame because very few of these ventures are worth their weight in gold.

Saints Row IV: What We Said

Playing Saints Row IV is a lot like playing Saints Row The Third with its redesigned map and overpowered abilities. The absurd story, quirky characters, self-aware humor and incredible character editor make this game a success, especially for those who have played previous games. Its appeal is cut by its ridiculous speed and inability to challenge it. Dan Stapleton August 14, 2013,

Score: 7.3

It will be a lot of fun, even though it is a bit silly. It was also a novel way to unlock new customisation options by photographing and tracking down specific materials on the map for the Cutting Edge Fashion Designer.

The majority of ventures are uninteresting and unevenly weighted. However, lower-quality tasks seem to be more common than the higher-quality ones. The Eurekabator is a gadget incubator that lets you test hoverboards, rocket-propelled sticky balls, and other gadgets. It’s a disappointingly short-lived experience, with only three missions. Then you consider the Bright Future venture which requires you to drive a truck loaded with toxic waste barrels through the city for 13 trips. This venture feels like a truly toxic waste of your time.

It’s always a lot of fun to bounce your anti-hero hundreds up in the air during the Insurance Fraud challenges.

Completing the setup for these shady businesses is also rarely as fun as it sounds on paper. I thought that the opportunity to open up a Cobra Kai -inspired karate dojo would be worth the grind required to raise the $1.6 million asking price, but my reward for doing so was a mere handful of wonky beat ‘em up sections that handled like the yuckiest form of Yakuza ’s street fights. Then when I finally unlocked the late-game heist missions, I was crushed to find out that you don’t get to perform the actual robberies. Instead, you complete the setup phase by taking surveillance photos of security cameras and entrances at the target facility, only to be forced to wait in the car while the rest of your gang straps on the ex-Presidents masks and goes inside to commit the crime. It’s like Point Break minus the whole entire point, and although I was the designated getaway driver it honestly felt like I was the one being robbed.

It is just so disappointing to see that almost all of these venture-based missions have the exact same objectives repeated over and over. Do you want to own a food truck company? You can rent a lot of food trucks. You want to open an automotive chop shop. You can buy a lot of cars. You want to build a clothing empire. You can buy a lot of delivery trucks. You can also increase your earnings from each business. You can then do the same repetitive handful of mindless, enemy-clearing protection gang jobs in each district. This is a huge test of endurance and there’s no real challenge. It was hard to believe that running a criminal empire would require so much work.

Grand Theft also

The new Saints Row is feeling burdened by repetitive sandbox missions. This is just one example of many. You will be prompted to return to a previous mission if you move too far from your enemies. There will also be annoying instant-fail stealth sections. If you are faced with an ever-increasing wanted level, there is no need to engage in a game of cat and mouse to break the line. You can drive straight for a few blocks, and the Santo Ileso cops will give up. This makes them look less like super cops, and more like Super Troopers.

It’s not the same level of interaction we have come to expect from open worlds in modern times, especially post-Grand Theft Auto V. The arcade game cabinets are not available for you to play or withdraw cash. Bicycles can be taken off of stands, but they cannot be ridden. A large portion of Santo Ileso has a string of huge casinos that you can’t even enter, let alone gamble in. Although some functionality may be added via DLC, for the moment your only interaction with the world is to shoot at it and jump off it or to smash it to pieces. Santo Ileso was a nice canvas for my carnage but it wasn’t a place I felt like I could really immerse myself into.

Saints Row Review Screens

Although I appreciated a lot of the design elements, I was not able to appreciate the large-scale street art that adds colour to otherwise dark alleyways. The occasional sandstorm and the occasional backyard fireworks stopped me from moving. I think it was mostly because I couldn’t see through the orange haze that made it feel like I had stepped into Blade Runner 2049.

The new Saints Row isn’t without its problems. I found regular bugs in the PC version. My IGN colleagues also saw similar problems on consoles. It could take damage every time I got out a car or accidentally smash the windows and fire my gun every time I get in. Some buttons, like activating a GPS route, or picking up a hidden package of drugs, were not responsive. At other times, I would ride my motorbike with my character in a standing position, and others, just riding alongside the bike. Sometimes missions would fail, like when my gang failed to emerge from the bank during a heist mission. I had to force a restart as I couldn’t trigger escape. The final showdown against Saints Row’s main villain turned into an absurdity when he took a T-pose and began flailing and stretching like a used car yard tube man. Ironically, this was the closest to the absurdity of the old series that the new Saints Row got. It’s just a shame.Unfortunately, the rough edges of the new Saints Row are not limited to the Santo Ileso area.

The AI isn’t the only thing prone to misbehaving, and indeed Saints Row’s two-player co-op allows you to play silly pranks on your partner by completing certain challenges – like racking up a set number of melee kills or vehicle drifts. The effect of a prank is random, yet while temporarily transforming your partner into a toilet or a vending machine may cause a few modest laughs at first, the novelty quickly wears off and I basically ignored the pranking system from very early on. Otherwise my experience with co-op has been rife with connection problems with my partner regularly dropping out mid-mission and resulting in failure, and even when it works having a second player in tow does little to elevate Saints Row’s more menial tasks. Still, at least I had someone to wait in the car with me during the heists.


Saints Row is a game that allows us to be who we want through its amazing customisation options. It’s strange that it struggles to find its identity in relation to the wanton criminal activities that it offers. Although there are plenty of shoot ’em-up thrills here, it is a rather boring and predictable sandbox game that won’t wow anyone who has ever played a Saints Row or GTA version. While there are some great story moments, the sprawling city of Santo Ileso is a new playground that offers a lot of non-interactive and antiquated amusements. However, this Saints Row feels more like an old game than a new one. Although it’s a new group of Saints, they still commit the same old crimes.


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