saints row: the good, the bad & the ugly

Volition’s fresh take on Saints Row has launched to a sea of harsh critiques and ticked off diehards of the once-loved series. Coined as being one of the most disappointing open world games of 2022, fans of the saga are now beginning to ask one question and one question only: have the Saints finally signed their own death warrant? And if so, then how long will it be before Volition pull the plug and send the royal purple-sporting gangbangers out to pasture?

While it’s no secret that Saints Row isn’t the striking comeback fans would’ve hoped for, the game itself does have its few redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, with the amount of issues the game harbors in its current state, said qualities are somewhat hard to enjoy. Due to this tidal wave of technical errors and game-breaking bugs, Saints Row is now but a shell of its former self, and stands only as a reminder of what could’ve been an otherwise fantastic revival.

5. Customization Is King (The Good)

saints row: the good, the bad & the ugly

Saints Row is in receipt of one of the most in-depth customization suites in gaming, something it has held dear ever since the third instalment released back in 2011. Much like its predecessors, the reboot gives players a wide variety of customizable features to experiment with, including but not limited to the clothes on the characters’ backs and the emotes each of them can employ.

While Saints Row certainly doesn’t win any awards for being the most visually appealing video game on the market, it does make the most of what it’s got. And on that note, it’s absolutely brimming with tools to fool around with to help tailor the experience to suit the players’ needs. Customization is plentiful, and it’s certainly the biggest quality the reboot has the pleasure of showing off.

4. Mission Variety Is…Meh (The Bad)

saints row: the good, the bad & the ugly

History has shown us time and time again that Volition know how to design binge-worthy content. Saints Row, in particular, has produced more original content than most modern open world games combined. But its latest iteration, on the other hand, is awfully hollow and scripted, and quite frankly leaves nothing to the imagination.

It’s understandable that a third-person shooter game would typically employ a lot of shoot ’em up missions. But Saints Row takes the absolute cake, and it’s almost too predictable — even when it tries its darn hardest not to be. By the midway point in the relatively short campaign, you’re forced to believe that the second half won’t be any different from the first. And it isn’t. It’s a slog through the same old motions, twenty-one times over, and not once does it try and rock the apple cart or spice things up by adding variety to the layout for each mission.

3. Santo Ile— (The Ugly)

saints row: the good, the bad & the ugly

Santo Ileso, a fictional city based loosely on Las Vegas, has the core ingredients to be a fantastic open world setting. Its problems, however, lie with its lack of vigor and soul. The fact is, it’s incredibly barren and devoid of any character, and it doesn’t help that its population are mostly bound to their vehicles. Take a waltz through the streets of any district and you’ll be lucky to find one passer-by. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the plethora of graphical errors the city bears.

The bottom line here is that Saints Row, despite having been delayed to receive a little extra touching up, still isn’t finished. If anything, it feels completely rushed and flat, and it begs the question of whether Volition even tested the game before shipping it. Thanks to its countless errors and frame drops, Santa Ileso winds up being more of an eyesore than a hearty city full of energy and wonder.

2. Let’s Build an Empire (The Good)

saints row: the good, the bad & the ugly

One of the best things Volition could’ve done with the reboot was bring its signature side activities back. That, of course, includes hustles like insurance fraud, mayhem, and a whole bunch of other old school shenanigans. Fortunately, these are all enveloped in a new package, one that revolves around building an empire for the Saints. And honestly, it’s the best part of the campaign.

The idea is simple: acquire an allotment from the board, establish a new criminal venture, and complete a series of quests in order to gain more perks and income for your gang. That’s really all there is to it, and it’s a great way to extend an otherwise bite-sized storyline. The only major downside, though, is that certain ventures are often forced on you, meaning you cannot progress deeper into the main campaign until beating, say, two more ventures. And it’s because of this, as sad as it is to say, that monopolizing Santa Ileso is more of a grind than a fun-filled expedition.

1. Who Are The Collective? (The Bad)

saints row: the good, the bad & the ugly

Saints Row is a rather short game. Actually, it’s one of the shortest open world games we’ve played in years. Mop up every quest and take a huge chunk out of the criminal ventures and you’re looking at about fourteen hours of play time. And it pains us to admit that, during those short hours in Santa Ileso, we felt somewhat lost, to the point of having to ask questions about certain gangs and their relevance to the plot. To us, it felt that Volition bit off more than it could chew, and simply didn’t know what to do with the assets it was given.

Earlier Saints Row games would have you embarking on lengthy story arcs for each and every criminal faction, giving you new lore, enemies, and kingpins to boot. The latest iteration, however, loses sight of this, and tries its best to cram far too much into a twenty-one mission campaign. It’s because of this that the whole story feels rushed and misaligned. It’s also clear that, in spite of their best efforts, Volition just couldn’t think of any better ways to add flare to an already broken game. Because you know what they say: you can’t polish a turd.


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