Volition Games already showed off Saints Row’s expansive customization suite, now it’s time to focus on the gameplay, and yes, it’s still as silly as ever.
Hip-Hop Wired Gaming’s Bernard Beanz Smalls saw roughly 50 minutes of gameplay from the highly anticipated reboot during a hands-off virtual preview.
Before we got to the action, we got a rundown of the game’s story with a more millennial spin. In the Saints Row reboot, the 3rd Street Saints is in its infancy. The crew features members of rival gangs led by The Boss, who become roommates and resort to crime to make ends meet.
The preview went out of its way to show off a good mix of action, missions, side missions, customization, co-op play, and Saints Row ridiculousness we all love about the game franchise.
The Sillyness Does Not Take Away From The Seriousness In Saints Row
It doesn’t matter how absurd a thing is if it has an emotional truth underneath it.
Saints Row set itself apart from other open-world sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto with its ridiculousness, which made the game a hit with fans, and we were happy to see that it’s still there.
During the preview, one mission immediately showcased the craziness in the game. The Boss (the character you take control of) is dragging an occupied porta-potty behind her vehicle. This is not happening for no reason. Of course, she is trying to get information out of the crook trapped inside.
Now in the same breath, while that is happening, this same mission has a serious tone to it. The Boss uses the insane tactic to help locate one of her kidnapped comrades to add seriousness to the mission.
“It doesn’t matter how absurd a thing is if it has an emotional truth underneath it,” lead mission writer Jeremy Bernstein told the journalists during the preview.
“That final mission, Kevin’s missing, the Idols are gonna kill him, and that’s serious, and it feels serious to you, and it feels serious to the Boss, to the character that you’re playing. So the things you do to rescue him, beating the guy’s head against the jukebox and dragging him around in the porta-potty, those are absurdist, but the emotionality behind it, that grounding, that character drive, that’s all very real.
You’re trying to find your friend. That gives you this great balance where you are doing absurd things, but it feels like it matters. Absurdism for the sake of absurdism, that’s where everything feels fluffy and doesn’t feel like anything really means anything.”
Of course, as principal designer Damien Allen puts it, there are other “fun and wacky” situations that players can get into. He pointed out that there is a reason for doing the weird stuff adding, it will “make sense of this criminal empire.”
“There’s other opportunities that aren’t necessarily tied to a building that the Saints can get into,” Allen stated.
“And they have just as much variety as the buildings as to what those activities are, focusing on different abilities and mechanics and things we have throughout the game. If you have a favorite thing to do, there’s probably an activity that allows you to express that.”
For example, we saw The Boss randomly blow up an armored vehicle to relieve it of its cash, and in another part of the presentation, The Boss ride’s shotgun during a bank robbery.
Or you can use random NPC as launching pads to keep yourself in the air while utilizing your wingsuit.
Don’t worry. You will not spend the entirety of your playthrough just committing crimes.
Santo Ileso In Saints Row Has Its Own Personality
Like the game’s characters, Santo Ileso has a personality, and we loved seeing it in action.
The fictional US dessert city obviously based on Reno, Nevada, is teaming with life thanks to NPCs just doing their own thing while all of the madness is happening.
During the preview, NPCs are lifting weights, coming together in a band to sing music or, if you want, you can break out a guitar and provide tunes and entertain a crowd.
It almost feels like Saints Row meets Fortnite, in a sense.
Santo Ileso is also broken up into different sections with different vibes when you visit to take on the other crews with varying enemy types.
Gameplay Looks Good, But One Thing Worries Us
Visually, Saints Row recaptures the gameplay that made it popular, finally bringing it to next-generation consoles and current-generation options like the PS4 and Xbox One S.
Vehicle handling looks to be very smooth regardless of the terrain. Ramming police cars chasing you until they explode looks fun.
The drop-in, drop-out co-op worked seamlessly during the preview adding an element to the game that will keep gamers enthused. Gamers can partake in
We also love that your character is fully customizable at any point during your playthrough. Players can access the customization app by opening up their in-game phone, which will present them with options.
We do have one worry, during the gameplay, we couldn’t help but notice that it took more than one shot to the head to down an enemy. Now that could be because we were looking at a preview, but it is concerning. It’s also something that could be changed when the final game is released.
Minus that issue, there were some cool features like a move called the “pineapple express,” where you can attach a grenade to an enemy and toss him into other foes.
Saints Row looks intriguing, and we can see that Deep Silver and Volition are trying to please hardcore fans of the franchise while bringing in players.
We shall see if they are successful when the game arrives on 8/23/22.
You can peep the game in action, thanks to the good folks at IGN.
Photo: Deep Silver/ Volition Games / Saints Row