Want to try Saints Row? Here’s our reccommendations!
With the launch of the confusingly named Saints Row just around the corner, this will be the first major entry into the series in almost 10 years. Naturally, this will also result in a slew of new fans who might be interested in getting more of the high-octane, gang-shooting action. Luckily, we at Fanatical have you covered, and whether you’re new to the series or want to see if my opinion aligns with your own, here is our very own short-stop guide to which Saints Row titles we think you should get!
4. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell
The most recent title in the franchise, the eponymously named Gat out of Hell, is a stand-alone expansion for Saints Row IV that acts as an epilogue and follows the adventures of Kinzie Kensington and fan-favourite Johnny Gat after they take it upon themselves to rescue The Boss from Hell after Satan demands that they marry his daughter, Jezebel.
Being an expansion of Saints Row IV, Gat out of Hell employs the same larger-than-life approach with its gameplay; dosing the player up with various superpowers and dropping them in a world to do as they please. The game tells a disconnected story from the rest of the franchise, and being the only entry where you don’t play as The Boss (or The Playa, in earlier titles) does rob Gat out of Hell of one of Saints Row’s greatest strengths: character customisation. That being said, the opportunity to see the world from Gat’s shoes is an entertaining one, and the brand-new city of New Hades being built specifically with the various superpowers in mind makes Gat out of Hell a very fun title to just get lost in for a few hours.
3. Saints Row: The Third
Saints Row: The Third is the title that brought many current fans of the game into the franchise, and with a more polished look than ever before, it’s not hard to see why. Saints Row as a series has always straddled the line between serious and goofy, and Saints Row: The Third was made at the apex of this uncertainty, creating an experience that at times had a jarring tone; it’s hard to take the game seriously when it cuts to The Boss wielding a giant, veiny, purple dildo.
Do not mistake Saints Row: The Third’s placement here, or my remarks about it, as it being a bad game — quite the opposite in fact. It introduced a slew of lovable, new characters and marked the beginning of a new direction for the franchise, whilst still not abandoning the roots that held it in place. Relocating The Saints to a brand new locale with Steelport gave old-time fans something new to explore, and allowed Volition to break down The Saints once again and tell a compelling story of how they would rebuild their influence.
2. Saints Row IV
Saints Row IV is often a mixed bag for people, but I personally loved it. From the outset it was clear the more serious tone had been abandoned, which is surprising for a game that opens up with an alien abduction sequence that finds the player being put into a virtual recreation of Steelport. From here it falls to The Boss, now President of the United States, to rescue their allies from their respective simulations in a race against time to defeat Zinyak and his horde of aliens.
The combat and gameplay in Saints Row IV stands incredibly far apart from previous entries to the franchise, with a wide array of sci-fi weapons and superpowers that upgrades the gameplay from run-and-gun shooting to a whole new level. It’s a far cry from what the series is known for, but it fits the infinitely larger-than-life tone that the game is aiming for and results in the best gameplay loop we’ve seen out of the series.
1. Saints Row 2
Some may call it nostalgia, but there’s a reason that Saints Row 2 is among my most played games on Steam. Saints Row 2 launched in 2008, and was released at a time when Volition were still sculpting a more serious tone for the series. Set several years after the first game, The Playa awakes to a changed Stillwater, and takes it upon themselves to rebuild The 3rd Street Saints to their former glory. It still has its zany antics and outright bizarre and laughable encounters, but it’s the most grounded of the bunch, which definitely shows in the way the story is presented — many moments of the game are genuinely poignant and a lot of scenes and plot points throughout the story still stick with me to this day.
Saints Row 2 offers the best story and characters, the best music (nothing beats barrelling down the highway blasting Take on Me by A-ha as your character haphazardly sings along to it), and an incredibly smooth combat system to boot. Most importantly, it seems that the dev team for the upcoming Saints Row agree, as they have stated they want to reel in the more ‘wacky’ tone present in the recent entries and try to bring the series back down to its roots. And if that means another game in a style similar to Saints Row 2, you can colour me more than interested.
Saints Row is a series that can appeal to a wide audience in thanks to its ability to shift the genre between titles without losing what makes it special. With our help, hopefully you have a better idea of which one appeals to you!