Game Review: Saints Row (2022)

I am a big fan of the Saints Row franchise. I’ve been playing since the first one came out on the Xbox 360. It started off as a GTA clone but eventually established it’s own voice in the genre. The game story lines got bigger, more campy, and crazy as the series went on eventually getting to Ruler of the Universe and Time Traveler level of hilarity.

I decided to pre-order the Notorious Edition of the new Saints Row. I sat down and played it for hours last night.

The devs decided to reboot the franchise this year with Saints Row. Set in a completely new setting that reminds me of Las Vegas called Santo Ileso. As always you play as The Boss, but, in this one the Saints don’t exist yet. You and your roommates decide after some things go down (trying to avoid heavy spoilers) to start your own criminal enterprise… The Saints.

The story flow so far is slow. They made some of the game mechanics and features only unlockable through the story line instead of it just being there in the game already. Side jobs (side hustles) start off as only a few different types but expand as you play the game. Hidden collectables, dumpster diving, and the Wanted list are also there for distraction. Just like Saints Row 3 and forward you can collect vehicles as well by jacking them and taking them to your garage. There are hours and hours of things to do outside of the main story line.

I don’t like the healing method they are using in the game. In the old ones you got health pickups from killing the enemies. In this one you get one health boost (it doesn’t heal you completely) every so often. Even if you kill a lot of enemies it still takes longer than I would like to get ready, killing speeds up the timer, it can lead to some really frustrating game play where you are literally running and dodging around in circles just to keep alive while waiting for it to pop. Oh, and the default difficulty level is good for co-op. Not so good for solo because trying to aim the guns is frustrating as heck. It auto aims for the body and then fights you if you try to aim anywhere else which makes being accurate super hard. I looked in the settings and couldn’t find anything to tone down or turn this feature off. I would be aiming down sights and it would bounce from one side of the enemies head to the other at a nudge from the stick even if I wasn’t firing.

Co-op at the time of this blog is broken. My buddy and I ended up at a point right in the beginning section that just wouldn’t move forward. We tried it twice before giving up and completing it solo before teaming back up. We can’t see each other when we aren’t right next to each other because we aren’t highlighted in world for the other player. I can’t see him on the map at all to pin point his location if we decided to go explore different locations. Later on in the story line he was forcibly disconnected from me by the game right before a cut scene. This caused the game to almost freeze to the point that I thought I was going to have to close it all the way out and come back in. Then once the cut scene finally played through the game wouldn’t let him reconnect. After this we decided to solo play until the co-op is fixed. This feature being broken at launch when it was being sold as key to the game is frustrating. It also reminds me of Dying Light 2 which is not a good thing. My friend and I go out of our way to buy titles that we can play online together because that is the only time we get to hang out with each other even though we live in the same city.

Over all if you like the Saint Row franchise you will love this game… clarification. If you love the original game and the second one the most of all the titles then you will love this one. The story line is more toned down even with the comedy involved in it.

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