As for the Johnny Gat defender, I was shocked when it was revealed that he, along with all the other Saints, was being excluded from the reboot. like fast and furious franchise, Saints Row always felt like a game about family and ludicrous. Half of the equation left me crying in my bathtub with a bottle of Teremana tequila, unable to imagine the horrors that happened to one of my favorite franchises.
OK, it’s a bit dramatic, but I worried that the series would never be able to return to the high level of Saints Row the Third, especially led by the cast of hipster Twenty-Somethings. After spending nearly four hours playing Saints Row in a Las Vegas hotel, I can say with confidence that, while I still miss Gat, Shaundi, and the gang, the hyper-disrespect has convinced me. That Volition is taking this reboot. right direction.
An ice cream suit for any occasion
Image via Deep Silver
I am a simple man. I like my video games to be fun — both in gameplay and in action. I love a game that sees you raiding a penthouse for Kanye West’s “Power” while you’re dressed like a toilet. Or a game that drops rowdy Roddy Piper as the homie while you’re trying to fight off an alien invasion. Especially since Saints Row the Third, the series has consistently been able to find the absurdity in everything it does and how to make the most of each successive mission. All of this prompts the fourth game to jump sharks and throw superpowered versions of the Saints into space. With virtually nowhere to go, Volition, essentially a series built, was rebooted into one of the endings of Saints Row: Get Out of Hell.
This brings us to the upcoming Saints Row game. In many ways, this is going to be very familiar to franchise fans. You’re running a growing empire, killing people, and engaging in all kinds of criminal enterprises. In the hands of other developers, this may feel like a regression, but Volition is both mechanically moving the franchise and taking the idiosyncrasies up a notch.
As mentioned above, I went in expecting to be somewhat overwhelmed by the new characters. While I’m still not ready to share a corona with him, everything on the periphery has reassured me that Volition really knows what he’s doing. I won’t spoil any of the moves you took at the beginning of the game, but I will say that I almost immediately found a giant ice cream cone suit (complete with ice cream jiggle physics) and put myself in it.
Image via Deep Silver
Seeing that cone flopping around while driving the car could not detect its collision and he told me it was going to be fine. Then, I watched the player next to me turn to the mailbox while skydiving, when his fellow teammate pressed the “prank” button. After that, I used a forklift to blast some port-a-potty in a rain of brown liquid. Needless to say, the ridiculousness of Saints Row is alive and well.
It’s not just the silly costumes that have driven me closer to the game’s August 23 release date. Volition has done a lot to modernize the Saints Row formula. It is still largely used by fans of the game Saints Row, but it has a number of new wrinkles. For example, you now have equippable special attacks that you can use to turn the tide of battle. Initially, these are mostly grenades, but I’ve used enough of the skill that lets you attach a bomb to a character and then throw them at your friends. While there isn’t a huge change in the moment-to-moment gameplay, it does give you more tools to your belt and makes combat more engaging.
You also have the ability to do takedowns to regain health. It’s not as deep as Doom Eternal; Instead, it’s a good way to motivate players to stay in fights instead of breaking things up and looking for cover. Granted, I’ve only played for a few hours, but I found the combat more exciting than Saints Row the Third. This effort to modernize the series isn’t limited to combat.
Make your own way a criminal enterprise
Image via Deep Silver
I wasn’t able to fully see all the systems in my four-hour session, but I did get a brief introduction to the Empire Board. This feature gives you the chance to build your empire however you want it. Previously, you only had to select missions from the map, but now you have more control over which ones are available and when you tackle them. If you want to start doing the classic fraud insurance scams, all you need to do is drop that building on a site on the Santo Ileso map and complete a few searches. Before you know it, you’ll be throwing yourself into traffic and racking up questionable insurance claims like the best of them.
You can also do things like collect trophies that you can use to improve the look of your base, but I didn’t go too deep into the base-building section of the game. What I can tell is that both the side and main missions were exactly the kind of bombshells I’m making out of a Saints Row game. It will be interesting to see if this holds up during the game. The side quests in particular were starting to feel a bit too similar to previous Saints Row games, so I’d like to see if Volition does anything to replace them or provide players with more intense pay-off missions at the end.
Of course, I have other questions and reservations on my end. I didn’t get a great feel for the four main characters, and none of them caught me with them immediately in the short amount of time. This is something that can change over time in the final game. There also seems to be a fair amount of junk in the open world here. To be fair, this is a preview build that should be improved as launch approaches, but it’s still worth noting at launch. Plus, most of the junk was much closer to flashy than game-breaking. For example, watching a costume clip through the roof of your car or throwing a fire hydrant 20 feet into the air might feel “immersion-breaking” to some, but you certainly can’t find it game-breaking. Can say
Overall, though, I was curiously curious about what this reboot was going to be like to see the real Saints game back on store shelves. Volition’s trademark mix of humor and over-the-top antics is back in full force, and there are a number of new gameplay wrinkles that should help the game keep up with modern titles. Sure, it’s not breaking new ground on the gameplay front, but a Saints Row game doesn’t need to. This series is about fun, first and foremost, and my four hours were filled with just that.