Saints Row returns with another iteration of the ever-loved franchise! This game is purely titled “Saints Row” No extra title, so no nod to previous characters. It is purely living in it’s own gravity. It actually allows you to take a refreshing look at the series.
Saints Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Releasing on Xbox, Playstation and PC via the Epic Store, Saints Row is about to change the way we play games. Well, that’s the hope anyways. Read on to find out more, and don’t forget to find us on social media.
Set in the fictional city of Santo Ileso, in the American Southwest. A city plagued with crime, factions are battling for power. You play as a group of young friends trying to make ends meet by balancing between the factions. However, something happens and you are then thrust into the journey of the creation of the ‘Saints’.
After a brief introduction to your character via an intro video, something happens and then you are thrust into the past to play out the story prior to the video. It’s a clever way of telling the story. Knowing what is going to happen to your character has a certain godlike feeling to it.
Your band of friends each have their own role in the group, whether its Eli the king of planning, Kevin who seems to know everyone in Santo Ileso, or Neenah who constantly comes to your rescue as the getaway driver. The story evolves as you play and also makes you come to like each character and their own little nuances.
So who is going to be getting in your way as you try to take over power? Three different factions will stand in your way, Marshall Defence Industries, a private military operation run by a crazy owner. They shoot first and ask questions later with their technologically advanced weapons. You do a stint of work with them at the beginning of the game, so you get a hands-on for how they run things. Then you have The Idols, this cult has a large contingent and in general just want to bring down the system. At the helm is The Collective, 6 masked leaders that play puppet master, choreographing all the anarchic actions that The Idols carry out.
The Final faction is Los Panteros, they are the original street gang in Santo Ileso, obsessed with power, they are the epitome of of gang culture. With their leader Sergio Valez driving around in a monster truck, you get the idea. They love vehicles, robbing vehicles, stripping vehicles, as well as a multitude of other activities.
Each faction appears throughout the story and you wont be far from one of them, even when driving around the streets. The streets are vibrant in both gritty colour and activity. You will come across car accidents on your way to missions as well as the factions driving around. Make sure you don’t crash into someone though as they are known to chase you down and try to ram you off the roads.
The Map itself is one of Saints Row‘s shining lights. It’s massive, with so much to do, including dumpster diving, taking photos of monuments to unlock fast travel locations as well as finding hidden drugs caches. Each activity dotted around the map will give you XP and Cash. That cash can be used to upgrade your vehicles and purchase new perks for your character.
The customisation options are pretty impressive within Saints Row as well. When you start up the game you are greeted with the Boss Factory, where you model your own character however you want. There is a library of creations as well that other members of the community have created allowing you to get a pre-made character. Or spend time yourself shaping and modelling to have them anyway you want. Its incredible in-depth and if you are looking at purchasing Saints Row and want a glimpse, the Boss Factory is available for free on the Epic Store.
As you journey through controlling your Boss, you are tasked with so many missions and with massive variance it’s almost too many to list in this review. From simple driving an NPC around to force them to sell some property, to leaving rubbish reviews on local eateries so that you can prove a point to the Factions. It’s a journey that you will enjoy with every hour spent on the game.
Graphics and Audio
Playing this on the PlayStation 5, you are greeted with quite a few different graphics options, each with subtle differences. From a 1080p High Framerate mode, all the way to a 4K mode. There is something to suit whatever setup you have. I personally went for the 1440p High Frame Rate option, purely to get that smoothness of gameplay.
So the actual graphics, they aren’t hyper-realistic, but you are greeted with beautiful character models. The environment being the southwest is very dusty and orange, but this gives great pop when you come across the colourful aspects of the game, including the bright pink of the Idols, to the awesome purple colour of your very own Saints.
Saints Row hits all the positives on the audio as well. From the soundtrack as you drive around Santo Ileso to the voice acting, it’s all really well done. Although one thing that I did notice, when the characters talk to you, sometimes their lips don’t move. All that is left is for me to imagine that this is actually how you communicate, through telepathy. Obviously not, but it’s an interesting little glitch to the game.
With the sheer size and activities on offer in Saints Row, you have the potential for a long game. I imagine as with every other open world game like this, you can play through the story alone if that is what you feel like, but then you would miss out on so much that Saints Row has to offer. The real game is living the life as The Boss, taking the Saints from a startup gang to taking over Santo Ileso.
The one thing that surprised me most about Saints Row, is the ability to be able to pick up the game, drive around the city and pick up all the different photo opportunities and fast travel locations. Giving you that quick pick-up and play appeal as well that sometimes gets missed with open-world games.
So what does all this mean for the Saints Row score? Well, the game isn’t perfect, there is the odd little nuance of the game, but boy oh boy is everything just fun about the game. It doesn’t take itself seriously, which is easy to do when previous iterations of the franchise have allowed you to fight using a large purple dildo. If a game was designed by Marie Condo then Saints Row will be it! If you know, you know. Saints Row receives the Thumb Culture Gold Award
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.