Saints Row Hands-On Impressions

Saints Row Hands-On Impressions

By  Andrew Duncan - 22nd Aug 2022

Does this represent the 3rd Street Saints?

Saints Row Hands-On Impressions

A number of years ago I saw a trailer for Saints Row: The Third and adored how much fun it looked like it was having. I played the first two games while waiting for that to release, and have been a big fan ever since.

Saints Row is a reboot of the crime-based third-person open-world game series, set in a new town with a brand new cast of characters. The franchise had gone to Hell (literally) so a fresh start was definitely needed. You start off as a new crime lord (AKA The Boss) looking to build up an empire across Kavanaugh County with their friends Kevin, Neenah, and Eli, and the first step is to take over the local abandoned church in the centre of Santo Ileso. What follows is a bombastic journey filled with explosions, discovery, and a lot of guns.

The main thing you’ll rely on to make money are the Ventures — businesses that you place where you want them — and you have to do some side hustles to help them out. The number of hustles varies from business to business, but whether you’re stealing food trucks or dumping toxic waste there’s always something to do that isn’t the main mission. You can even replay some of them if you enjoyed them or think you can do better.

There are side hustles unrelated to the Ventures, though, as people around Santo Ileso want your help to do things. Use your wingsuit to destroy communications equipment, fly helicopters to steal things from the backs of trucks — you know, just general everyday things that normal people need help with. These are a lot of fun, and I actually kept forgetting to play the main missions until I ran out of things to do, but then it unlocked even more things! It was a vicious cycle, sometimes ironically requiring me to be vicious on a motorcycle.

That’s not to say that the main missions are bad, those are great fun too. They help flesh out The Boss’ friends and their personalities, and you honestly get the feeling that they are really good friends. They spend time together watching telenovelas, and the entire “create a criminal empire” plan hinges on all of them being a part of it.

The world of Santo Ileso is really well put together by developer Volition. While Stilwater and Steelport were decent cities, they didn’t feel as fleshed out and “full” as Santo Ilseo. There are things to do and see, such as various Hidden History information boards which explain things like why someone had silver cannonballs, or what happened to the county’s first horseless carriage.

The gameplay of Saints Row is going to be familiar to anyone who has played a previous entry of the series, or similar games like Sleeping Dogs. It’s improved with the inclusion of a wingsuit which you can use from a building rooftop or on top of a moving car, but the basics are there. It’s not something that really needs a lot of improvement.

If you’re not very good at that sort of game, then Saints Row is still suitable for you since it has a wide range of accessibility options. The difficulty alone has multiple sliders to make certain things easier or harder, and you can even disable mission timers if you want!

I’ve played a lot of Saints Row games, and I can honestly say that Saints Row is the most fun I’ve had since I last played the best Saints Row game.

Saints Row is available from 23rd of August, 2022.

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