Everything we learned from our hands-on with Saints Row

I swear to god. If I see you bozos causing Grand Automatic Flight 6 trending on Twitter for another 12 straight years, I’m going to lose it. It’s time to face the facts. Rumors are not true. Look at me. In the eyes. GTA 6 never comes. We will have GTA 5: Funky Redux Edition before GTA 6 even touches the surface. Am I hyperbolic?! I do not know anymore. All I know is that we all yearn for more chaos and virtual crime.

Well, I have good news for you. It arrives next month. It’s not a rabbit hole, GTA 6 rumor mill, garbage clickbait, either. No. You’ve got more mayhem, more customization, and more fun to come with the whimsical reboot Saints Rowwho leaves the released August 23. While not a full review, I was able to sit down with some great people and clock in four hours of pure playtime. This wasn’t one of those guided tests, we’ll only show you the cool parts, by the way. I was dropped into the colorful, full, and downright exhilarating Santo Ileso to rob, kill, or just spend most of it playing fashion shows, if I wanted to.

Let’s make one thing clear: Saints Row is fantastic. It’s been a while since I played a game (Ring of Elden, to be exact) or if given a choice, I would have lost myself in a sleepless night playing it. Saints Row takes place in the vast Santo Illeso, which has the right mix of cities, desert, suburbs, and anything else you can think of, really. The story centers on a group of housemates, all involved in some level of Santo Illeso crime. The customizable player character is a mercenary for hire who, along with his roommates, commits crimes for one extremely relevant reason: they have to pay the bills. Saints Row is alive, hilarious and vibrant. It’s a whimsical twist that feels closer to the Vice City era, than any recent GTA company. Saints Row is electric from the start, with strong voice acting, humor and a killer soundtrack. A generally relatable criminal enterprise is the icing on the cake.

Saints Row refines a lot GTA V oddities it always bothered me. Everything is faster and smoother. Whereas GTA V can feel heavy every time you move, Saints Row is fast, accurate, and sports one of the smoothest dodge rolls I’ve experienced in a shooter. The weapons are heavy, similar to a Ratchet and Clank Game. Meaning? You feel like you’re really doing damage. There are a host of silly and cool finishers to spice things up, in addition to fast-paced combat. Everything else is polished and prepared, especially the ride. Cars are amazing to spin. When you steal a vehicle, all you have to do is press a button and jump out the window. (GTA fans: I hear your sigh of relief. If you know, you know.) Saints Row also has a cooperative multiplayer mode, plus a few “surprises” in store. Although I haven’t tried multiplayer, it apparently lets you do whatever you want in your main game with friends.

Let’s talk about what makes Saints Row truly unique: personalization. Everything – and I mean everything – is highly customizable. You can create any character you want, with one of the most in-depth creators I’ve seen, including accessibility features like prosthetics. It’s a wonderful touch. Each gun can be mixed and matched with multiple colors, shiny and metallic sliders, decals, patterns and more. And the cars. Cars! Same deal. You can do whatever you want. I could have spent all my game time customizing everything. Coupled with great art direction, I’m excited to see what nonsense I can unlock in Saints Rowit is late game.

Deep Silver Saints Row Day 1 Edition – PlayStation 5

my time with Saints Row revealed a welcome and refreshing approach to a genre monopolized for three generations. While my read was nearly bug-free, other journalists I spoke to reported nasty bugs. Now that’s a given at this stage of development, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention any hiccups. Still, Saints Row looks great and feels even better. Consider the spiced up Sin City titles once more.

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