The new ‘Saints Row’ wants to shed its fame as a copycat of ‘GTA’ by returning to its roots

Few games or sagas can boast the same, but ‘Saints Row’ peaked a few years ago. Top of excesses, nonsense, possibilities in front of the player. Since its second opus, in 2008, Volition has introduced into what was born as a Sandbox criminal in the purest style ‘GTA‘ a very special sense of humor. Since that was what gave him a unique personality, they stepped on the accelerator in subsequent installments.

The third part, for example, was an absolutely galloping “GTA”: the codes of this type of game (taking control of city districts by defeating rival gangs, myriad side missions) raised the bar thanks to weapons and thundering vehicles (the unforgettable purple dildo, the moon jeeps). The fourth game sent us to the White House to deal with an alien invasion, in a title that directly empowered us and was closer to the era’s fever for superheroic sandboxes, such as ” InFamous”, “Arkham” or “Prototype”.

For it, it is curious that Volition has decided to renew the game by bringing it back to its originsThat is, turn it into a title that drinks a lot of “GTA” and its portrayal of a mindundi who wants to become a kingpin of organized crime. Luckily, this lens didn’t come out of nowhere, and from what we could see in a few hours of session with the game, the studio didn’t just turn the system off and on again. Firstly, he knows that humor has become a necessary trademark of the series (there’s not much to add to that: it’s there and it works, if you’re into crude jokes and incorrect). Second, it knows you need to take care of the technical sections beyond laying out a huge playing field.

Be the saint you want

One of the indisputable attractions of this ‘Saints Row’ is the extreme ability to create a character entirely to our liking. The usual hairstyle, height, gender, voice options and the limited clothing possibilities that increase exponentially to infinity are part of the appeal of the game, generating both an avatar that resembles the player and the reverse. These changes can be undone at any time through an application that our protagonist has on his mobile.

It’s a nice incentive, but something old-fashioned: video games have long since reached a certain ceiling with this type of instrument, and ultimately creating Frankenstein’s hideous monsters is fun, but its scope is limited. Fortunately, the game allows you to start from a series of pre-designed typologies that can be easily and quickly modified. In short, it is a playful aspect of the proposal, but far from being the most attractive.

However, what Saints Row has seen is a readjustment to its action and driving mechanics. Vehicles feel firm and heavy, and a simple cornering drift system lets you start rolling at high speeds pretty much right from the start on a main campaign heist mission. Of course, the open world is at our disposal and we can start riding on any vehicle from the first minute. Volition has also done a good job of giving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other very distinctive weights, speeds, and handling characteristics.

the relative surprise comes, in this section “old mechanics, new sensations” with the action sections with weapons: ‘Saints Row’ seems to place considerable importance on this section and places a long section of confrontation with shooting and chasing right from the start of the story mode, with our/our protagonist as part of a private security force which controls the city ​​of Santo Indemne. The action with weapons is indeed a leap from previous deliveries, smoother and less precise.

Here are the action sequences (with all the limitations you want to put on a title that, in addition to managing this type of mechanics, has to accommodate literally hundreds of others, that is to say that this is not is not a ‘LOSS‘ who can afford to tweak his ideas to the point of exhaustion to make a good shooter) are excellently executed, with good ideas like the kick to keep enemies away or bloody executions. They notably improve, without going any further, ‘Saints Row IV’ itself, hilarious in its nonsense but technically more accurate.

Other, these first hours of play present an open world to explore and terrorize, and it is appreciated that Volition knows what we are looking for from the first moment. There is no slow discovery of mechanisms and secrets, but in just one hour of play we already have, for example, a mobile phone full of applications that will help us improve the character in different aspects, from skills applicable to combat and driving skill trees that we can place on the crossbar to pull them at any time.

the shell house

In fact, mobile is not a new idea (we already had it in the last “GTA”), but it’s remarkable how well implemented it is in the sandbox structure, maybe even better than in ‘GTA V’. Not only do we have immediate access, as we have mentioned, to the experience and improvement trees, as well as to the appearance changes -which would be nothing more than a menu on steroids-, but the mobile greatly facilitates the management of missions, which go beyond a main trunk and a bunch of secondary ones.

Here, each of the places to visit to activate upgrades (weapons, vehicles, wardrobe) has its own missions attached. There are types of missions grouped by theme, and there is a whole mobile app, Wanted, to play bounty hunter and earn money. And of course, there are more or less heavy, more or less entertaining challenges to complete in order to obtain prizes that range from cosmetic to really useful.

Bike burnout

It’s still too early to tell how this will materialize into a full quest structure, whether the details will devour the whole thing or whether the main trunk will be well enough defined. For now, the mobile helps to not get lost and bring some order to this humorous pile of chaos that is ‘Saints Row’. After the summer we will know if this return to the origins was a good idea, or if we miss the extreme madness of the last opuses.

Leave a Comment