row of saints (2022) | Review – Cinelinx

Saints Row has been on an interesting journey through multiple games. At one point, Saints Row was nothing more than a clone of GTA. Then it turned into a superhero game that fights aliens, and then we fight Satan with the great Johnny Gat. It would be hard to go even further and make Saints Row even nastier, which is why we probably get a reboot that puts the series back on a level field where it shines best.

This series has some of the most divided fans. Some like the GTA-based structure of the first two games, while others (like me) think Saints Row 3 is one of the best games ever made. Personally, I think Saints Row shines best when it has a somewhat steadfast interest in things, but taking those aspects and going beyond them. Comedy mixed with heists. That’s where Saints Row 3 landed and that’s where this new reboot lands as well.

saints row (2022)
Developer: Will
Platforms: PC (Epic Game Store), PS4/PS5 (reviewed on PS5), Xbox Series X/S
Release date: August 23, 2022

Saints Row (2022) does a lot of things right that you might miss in the bigger picture of things. Right from the start, the game allows you to customize literally everything. You can adjust mission timers, enemy health bars, and there’s even a nudity button that has a variety of hysterical censorship options. All of this leads directly to the character creation menu, where you have a wide variety of options to choose from. You can make an average looking person or make a mascot style creation with weird body parts. Once inside the game for a while, even the clothing options get really neat with a huge variety of options to choose from.

The themes are not bad.

I’ll get this out of the way: I didn’t experience any major game-breaking glitches while playing the game’s dozens of hours. I could ride rides, fight and explore perfectly fine. The only technical flaws I found were mainly visual things. In intense areas of combat, frames would drop noticeably and be an even more noticeable issue at the highest resolution. Lowering the resolution helped some, but it still happened in many populated areas. The aiming mechanic in the game is a bit weird. It has a huge deadzone for some reason and trying to aim at finite areas becomes a pain at times, thankfully the game is pretty forgiving of where you shoot so it’s not a major issue.

That said, anyone who says the game is riddled with glitches could be down on their luck or platform-specific. The glitches seem more or less due to the sheer scope of the game in general which overlooks some minor issues. I’ve been playing the game nonstop on two different PS5s with no major issues.

However, there seems to be some cases where the game was delayed due to the technical restriction. The biggest example I can think of is the city itself. Instead of a bustling downtown district lighting up the night sky, we’re in the middle of a desert city with very few tall buildings. It is a city that reminds me of my own city in the Southwest… and living here I can say that our city is not interesting in the least.

The city isn’t too active compared to previous games, and it really isn’t much fun to fly around when you can’t weave between buildings and under bridges. This also made the return of “insurance fraud” even more difficult because there doesn’t seem to be that much to get into. For those who forgot, insurance fraud missions consist of you literally trying to get hit by a car and then stringing together multiple incidents by doing rags and getting hurt.

On the contrary, it felt very well done that the central location basically encompasses aspects of every major city in the Southwest. You’ll come across structures like Cardinals Stadium, the Alamo, and bridges connecting areas that are also quite familiar. Granted, none of these are direct pulls from real life for obvious reasons, but they did a good enough job of letting you know what they’re all about.

The only major flaws I’ve noticed are when you jump into co-op. Oddly enough, this is also where the game really shines. Co-op is seamless and full of great ideas which is something I hope other games take into account. The transition from single player to co-op, for both players, is quite unique. The joining player can choose which save file to play with and their world will evolve with them, just as it does with the host. Both players can basically be doing whatever they want anywhere on the map. The only time it joins you is when you do main quests or hit lists. The idea of ​​customizing everything even comes here too. You can adjust many settings, including who joins, how it affects you, and whether you want to enable team assassination.

The game is fully set up for co-op partner play because it has answers for each area for two people to progress through. For example, in one mission we are chasing a convoy, instead of taking the main road, your AI car will travel down a side road and the co-op partner will be on the other side. Drive to new alternate paths so that both players don’t get stuck behind each other.

The game intensifies when played with friends. It makes everything so much more fun, and the ability to explore and progress on your own and make it matter is great. It’s great that the entire campaign can be played cooperatively, and players can drop in and out at any time.

The downside of co-op is that it’s so fluid that when you have hiccups it’s very noticeable. For example, any connection issues will cause you to see the opposing player doing weird things like falling on the map or getting into a car and the car goes haywire and causes destruction along its way. There were also some random engine issues where a player would randomly alternate between night and day non-stop and I’m not sure what was causing it. However, these problems never affect your own game. One person could see the other player go berserk, but both players can still play normally and progress smoothly. Again, it’s mostly just a visual issue.

The game is full of amazing ideas.

I can’t get over the fact that the game just has some really fun and interesting ideas mixed in with the mayhem of Saints Row. Build your base with artifacts you find in the city. Call AI friends if no real co-op partner is available. Many of these features are quite common, but they all work well when combined in this game. My favorite feature is a dust storm that will randomly occur in the game. It is the Southwest, after all, but looking up and seeing a wall of dust coming is great. Next thing you know, you’re halfway through the mission and you can barely see 10 feet in front of you. Sometimes it is necessary to take cover behind buildings to try to see something.

This is Saints Row, after all, so the simple things are stepped up with out-of-this-world ideas. For example, when it comes to car chases, instead of leaning out the window and shooting, you’ll find yourself on the roof of the car lying face down shooting other cars. There are also some really cool vehicles and gliders to make moving around the city and attacking enemies more fun. You also have some takedown moves where you press a button and the boss will go into an animation to take down enemies. These takedowns are really cool animations, but one of my favorites is when your character slaps the enemy multiple times and then sends them flying.

I think the game is limited for some reason by being too far away, and I’m not entirely sure why. The game does a good job of embracing, yet provoking, the younger generation, but the comedy seems to change for them as well. While you may find a pop culture reference somewhat amusing, I found no joy in it. I found quick comments like characters choosing a truck and complaining about gas mileage amusing, but there wasn’t enough of a balance between the two sides. Which leads to more outrageous things like a game show killing people or running around with a non-existent sex toy. It seemed like the game was trying too hard to make jokes, or one character looked like a gangster, and it was just missing.

That said, it’s easy to hate these new characters from the start. They seem like hipsters with silly jokes, but the more you play, the more connection you make with each other. The fact that they all have their negatives and positives makes them really relatable and some of them go out of their way to be true saints. I ended up really enjoying almost all of the new cast because the writing did a good job of making them likeable characters.

The real fun is the game itself. It has a true arcade nature to it which leads to some really nasty cutscenes just playing the game. With my spouse as my co-op partner, we cracked up many times over random things we did or found around town. Outfits we made, driving mistakes, or just seeing her come with a bat to save my life. It’s a very enjoyable experience and the arcade nature leads to really strong gameplay. Personally, I am now afraid to go on the sidewalks because I know that a fire hydrant will shoot me up.

The gameplay is fast, easy to use and a lot of fun. Making progress is easy and I never felt frustrated with anything. Some enemies are harder to kill than others, but overall it’s a lot of fun working together with new weapons at your disposal. Also, there are different ways to approach everything. I like to set up ganks with a co-op partner where one person is ready to drive a large vehicle to take out multiple enemies at once, or fly from above with a prepared takedown.

I wish they made some nods to previous games. For example, in the opening sequence there is a graveyard, I wish one of the tombstones said Johnny Gat, that would have been great. Or just finding stuff from the previous gang would have been great. There seem to be some very small Easter Eggs in the game, but nothing too obvious.

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