Game News Saints Row: Much more than just GTA?
The Saints are back in force on August 23, 2022 on PC and home consoles. Can the reboot of Saints Row dethrone the boss of open world games… GTA? Here are our first impressions after 4 hours of gaming on PC.
Saints Row tells the story of The Boss and the Saints gang. Nothing new on the horizon you will say to me and you would be in a sense right, because Saints Row version 2022 is actually a pure and simple reboot of the Volition studios franchise. Say goodbye to The Boss who has become, among other things, President of the United States and superhero in Saints Row IV, and make way for a new protagonist in your image… or not for that matter. Always desperate to pay the rent, our hero and his roommates go all out and skim Santo Ileso, even if it means making a lot of enemies along the way. It must be said that the city is surrounded by three gangs – Los Panteros, The Marshall and The Idols – who make it rain or shine. Following a combination of circumstances, a lot of bad luck and even more bad faith, The Boss, Eli, Neenah and Kevin decide to strike out on their own and form the Saints gang with the main objective of taking revenge and conquering the city by all means.
The Saints Row saga unleashes heavy artillery with this reboot, and lands on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, but also on older generation consoles with style. Volition studios have developed for the occasion a brand new engine designed for this open-world action-adventure game. From a purely technical point of view, the title published by Deep Silver provides the essentials. The framerate is stable and guarantees optimal gaming comfort, and the same goes for the resolution which follows current standards. It should be specified that Saints Row sometimes suffers from relative draw distance, clipping, and stiff animations. For the rest, the title offers players a sound and light show worthy of the name with its partially destructible environments, its vehicles that are quick to explode and its flashy visual effects. The artistic direction halfway between realism and cartoon influences breathes a pulp side into the epic, and underlines the escapades of a The Boss more excited and determined than ever. Saints Row has no ambition to become a new technical standard, but tries to do it right. The small dishes are put in the big ones, sometimes in an awkward way.
Saints Row is an open-world third-person shooter. Players therefore evolve freely in Santo Ileso, and complete various missions to advance the plot and improve The Boss. Volition’s game here recites the formula of the perfect open world without really daring to go off-road, and of which GTA V and Red Dead Redemption II are proud representatives. The adventure unsurprisingly takes on the air of urban guerrilla warfare with its nervous action sequences conducive to great anything 100% assumed. it farts in all directions and especially for nothing during regularly renewed situations. Fortunately, the Saints have the answer, and can count on a most devastating arsenal to master, skills to unlock and cars to buy.
Faced with three other gangs, law enforcement and an ever more devious bestiary, The Boss and his allies prove their supremacy time and time again on the streets of Santo Ileso. However, their epic is not easy. To rush into the heap without thinking, death often points the tip of its nose. The confrontations are intended to be dynamic, a bit tactical, and above all fun from the first exchanges, although rough at times. Volition relies on full arcade gameplay both during gunfights and chases, and this state of mind is found throughout the game. Special mention to the weightless moments in a Wingsuit, to the Mad Max-style convoy attacks and mechanized rides. This reboot begins a new era for the Saints, and logically wishes to be accessible to as many people as possible. To do this, it has 5 levels of difficulty, just to live an adventure always on the wire regardless of your player profile.
Saints Row shines neither by its scenario, nor by its staging which do not deserve anything, but turn out to be elementary. No sequence shot installs the story. No cinematic-gameplay transition smooths the experience. The narration is innovative in nothing, which does not prevent Volition’s game from thinking big. The life of The Boss is clearly worth the detour, controller in hand. The very structure of the game connects the story to a succession of main missions or not, sometimes spaced out by several hours, resulting in a totally disjointed story. The strength of a Grand Theft Auto lies in this fragile balance between a feeling of total freedom and a scripted campaign with great potential, a real nod to the 7th Art.
With Saints Row, the story slips away in order to let the video game experience express itself fully and not the other way around, which slows down the cinematographic impulses of the work. Nevertheless, fans of The Boss and his gang expect the franchise on a completely different register, that of humor. In this domain, the screenwriters spread schoolboy jokes, swing salty turbo punchlines and dare at the risk of shocking the puritans. And to dare Saints Row dares everything and its opposite. Admittedly, this reboot is more down to earth than its predecessors, but does not deny its origins. On the contrary, the Saints go through the faults of our contemporary societies with a flamethrower with this caustic tone which characterizes the saga. Better still, the gang of The Boss does not neglect any community of players in 2022.
Saints Row has nothing to be ashamed of when compared to other games in the genre. The size of the map, the number of weapons and vehicles, the lifespan etc. are important data that testify to the ambitions of the studios in charge of development. Santo Ileso is clearly not the largest open world ever created, but it is above all intended to be dense. In terms of activities, there is plenty to do between the main missions, the secondary quests, the random encounters, the mysteries scattered within the 9 districts that make up the city, the businesses to be acquired, etc. Be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of similar objectives. The quantity can quickly take on the air of copy-paste and make the experience (too) repetitive.
Speaking of customization, Saints Row sees things big, and that’s saying something with dozens of weapons of all kinds to modify and more than 80 fully customizable cars to collect. The adventure begins with the creation of an avatar, and level options the title of Volition clearly does not make fun of the world. The style also goes through the undermining, and once again the opportunities to create a unique The Boss are legion to the point of spending long minutes in the character editor. The fact of not imposing a gender is to be welcomed. A hero, a heroine, both or none of these, in Saints Row it is possible. The gameplay is also impacted by various skills to be unlocked as the adventure progresses, just to survive on the street. To finish, Saints Row is cross-play and fully playable in two-player co-op.
Saints Row might just be a credible alternative to GTA. In any case, this is what the first 4 hours spent on the game lead us to think. See you on August 23, 2022 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series in order to get to the bottom of it.