Last week, I looked extensively at Volition’s reboot of the Saints Row franchise. The presentation walked us through a few different missions, a plethora of different customization options, and some of the open-world antics the series is known for.
Saints Row Is Shaping up To Be the Exact Game My Brain Wants Right Now
Sometimes you just want a game to be goofy, and the Saints Row series has delivered that to varying degrees of success. Going back to the drawing board seemed like the logical step after Saints Row 4, and based on what I’ve seen from this preview, it’s exactly what the series needed.
The title won’t revolutionize the world or the way we think about open-world design, but that’s fine, Saints Row is shaping up to be the type of game I want to play during the summer.
My initial impressions of the customization system have me excited. It seems the team at Volition put a lot of time into providing a ton of different cosmetics for players to customize their character the way they see fit.
The most notable addition is the ability to completely redesign your character at any moment by just opening your smartphone menu in-game. This goes beyond just the clothes they’re wearing, but their entire physical appearance. Couple that with more robust slider options allowing for more wiggle room with the size and shape of your character.
The team wanted to give players as much freedom within the toolset to make a character all their own. Saints Row also boasts a wide array of prosthetics in the creator.
During the presentation, we saw one of the game’s opening missions, which shows four roommates all from the different factions around town. They hold up a Cash Now shop in an attempt to make rent before quickly peeling out of the parking lot in a high-speed chase with the cops.
Here I saw your typical Saints Row missions structure, drive to avoid the cops, sideswipe them to send the cars flying in a cartoonish explosion. All leading up to a cutscene where the cops strip your tires with road spikes causing you to spin out.
Here’s where the real absurdism of Saints Row kicked in. Your other roommate hits a ramp full speed sending her car on top of a billboard. She rides the billboard with her car sending it crashing down onto the cops, and together you both escape within an inch of your life.
Anyone who is worried that the slightly more realistic setting won’t be home to some of Saints Row’s most over-the-top moments can breathe a little. Its clear Volition hasn’t abandoned its vision for a balance between the ridiculous and grounded story moments.
Combat also has some new tools to give players more freedom. A new perk system allows you to have four passive abilities depending on the situation. The one example used in the preview was adding fire resistance before going into a warehouse full of faction members throwing molotovs and other flaming objects around.
Pair this with the skills you can use to enhance your combat. One skill that Volition showcased multiple times was called “Pineapple Express.” This skill had the player attach a grenade to an enemy before throwing them into the crowd for a major explosion. Another one showed off gave your character a flaming punch for extra damage in hand-to-hand combat.
We’re also excited to announce there is a dodge roll in Saints Row now. Prima Games can’t give it the stamp of approval until we get our hands on it, but it looks promising.
Some weapons we saw consisted of a nerf-like football that attaches to enemies and sends them flying in the air before exploding, a weapon that lets you shoot through walls and marks targets, and a pinata launcher. There seems to be no shortage of zany weapons Saints Row is known for.
One of the last features we saw before the end of the presentation was the revamped Saints HQ. The headquarters allows players to customize the interior with a myriad of different options. Put a giant statue in the middle of the room, hang some sick neon signs on the wall, and really make it your own.
Here is where you can also talk to your team after missions to see how they felt about how things went down and get some more character development outside of the chaos.
Head to the weapon rack in the HQ to fully customize your arsenal. Change the paint on specific parts, decals, and even unlock some upgrades.
Upstairs in the HQ, you’ll be able to head to the War Table. Here is where you can purchase vacant lots around town to expand your criminal empire. This also unlocks some of the minigames fans of the series know and love. We saw a quick demonstration of mayhem which sees players blowing up and causing as much damage to rack up a high score before the time runs out.
The team mentioned that the insurance fraud mini-game is back, but we didn’t see it in action.
Saints Row is shaping up to be the type of open-world game my brain is looking for. It doesn’t look like it’s reinventing the wheel but it’s looking at what the franchise needs to move forward. It releases on August 23, 2022, for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.