saints row vs saints row (2022)

Saints Row is an anarchic open world series that sees the titular gang (hereinafter referred to as The Saints) competing against rival factions in a bid to monopolize a fictional metropolis. Once coined as a clone of Rockstar’s universally acclaimed Grand Theft Auto saga, Saints Row has done all in its power to remove its similarities and come into its own as a quirky, chaotic, and humorous vessel for Deep Silver Volition to parade around in.

Of course, Saints Row recently received its long-awaited reboot, which saw the return of the beloved gang and its unruly shenanigans. The question is, was the revival worth holding out for, and was it up to the same standards as its former successes? Well, let’s go ahead and break it down, chunk by chunk. Here are the things you should know about the two alternate timelines that chronicle The Saints’ rise to fame.


saints row vs saints row (2022)

Although the primary objective behind both timelines is the same, in the fact that you build a criminal empire and spread the Saints’ gospel, a lot of the content is vastly different. The story, being just one of the factors, is told from different angles, with the original series picking up from an already booming criminal organization, and the reboot taking on a more traditional underdog-goes-viral approach.

Admittedly, the original Saints Row had a serious tone that frequently dared to embrace its comical side. Years later, and that second skin was shed under a new light, which led to a whole new world of witty and humorous ventures. The idea was still present, as it is to this very day — only it harbored a more tongue-in-cheek approach for its storytelling abilities. But if we had to side with the gangbangers of yesterday or the hipsters of today, however, then we’d happily hoist the original colors, every time.


saints row vs saints row (2022)

Saints Row has never really perfected any of its chosen mechanics — especially ones that revolve around driving and swimming. And on that note, the latest iteration struggles to build on what its previous chapters also failed to construct. The truth is, even after all this time, the controls are actually a whole lot clunkier. Driving, for example, is like shifting a lead casket; and swimming is a lot like drowning, in the sense that you can’t, you know, swim. Or at least not without struggling to keep your head above water.

Granted, the earlier Saints Row games had this certain slinkiness that made driving and flying a whole lot of fun. Unfortunately, this wasn’t carried over with the 2022 entry, and it resulted in a pretty underwhelming and clunky experience with no redeeming qualities to justify its flaws. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the plethora of game-breaking bugs its launch version employed. While not entirely unplayable, it still suffered from a lot of issues, and it transformed a relatively short stint into a painstakingly dull and repetitive test of endurance. The original, on the other hand, was a little more, shall we say, polished?


saints row vs saints row (2022)

A huge portion of any Saints Row game is devoted to developing action-heavy missions full of bullets, mayhem, and off-the-cuff one-liners. This is pretty much the same in both the older games and the latest one, only the latter favors the ol’ bullet sponge technique, which of course can be a real eye-roller for those who’ve seen one too many in, you know, every modern game ever.

Generally speaking, combat in Saints Row is a barrel of fun, and it’s the most engrossing part of the experience itself. The problem with the reboot, though, is that it tries too hard to cash in on the Fortnite trend by adding tediously long health bars and exaggerated emotes that contribute nothing towards the battles themselves. The original, on the other hand, favored unadulterated fun, and it was elementary enough to keep you entwined for the long haul. It was smooth and satisfying, whereas the latest instalment makes an attempt to replicate a dying art. And honestly, it falls flat in trying to give it a second wind.


saints row vs saints row (2022)

One of the key features that makes Saints Row the celebrated series that it is is its customization. This has been the series’ USP since day one, and it has only continued to flourish for each passing instalment, right up to the very point of boasting one of the loftiest suites in modern gaming. And on that note, the latest iteration of Saints Row is a good few miles ahead of its siblings, with roughly double the amount of in-depth features and customizable cosmetics to boot.

Of course, Saints Row has really embraced its quirkiness since severing the bond with its Grand Theft Auto skin. The result of this has led to some pretty colorful customizable cosmetics, all of which have helped to put the series in a league of its own. That said, the reboot definitely harbors a wider variety of features — especially when it comes to character creation and vehicle customization.

The Verdict

Saints Row brings a lot of its own charm to a genre that isn’t exactly short on original ideas. Even today, just over a decade after its original saga, Volition brings a certain flair to the market, one that no other series could ever dare to replicate. It’s equally as humorous as its original, and it boasts a considerable amount of high-end characters, all of whom possess the talents to be remembered in a world that’s undeniably cutthroat.

There is, of course, a plethora of differences that make the reboot a far cry from its original. Clearly, Volition was happy to embrace its weird and wonderful side with Saints Row, but at the cost of losing the nitty-gritty half that made the first two chapters the cult classics they were. Missions, characters, and locations were also far more engaging in the original series — and glitch-free, too. For this myriad of reasons, it’s hard to favor the reboot over the original, meaning, if you want a full-on Saints Row experience, then you should probably dig out your old PS3.


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