Having watched roughly 50 minutes of Saints Row gameplay, I’m inspired by what I’ve seen. Deep Silver Volition’s reboot of the collection appears to be like quite a lot of enjoyable, stuffed with the wackiness, carnage, and humour you’d count on. It feels comfortably acquainted, however with sufficient new methods to play to make it not simply look like a retread of what’s come earlier than, and guarantees to be a welcome throwback to an period when playful, city open-world video games had been a way more frequent prevalence.
The very first thing that caught my consideration was the large emphasis positioned on customisation. The whole lot – out of your playable “Boss”, an enormous vary of autos, arsenal of weaponry, and your base – could be tailor-made to your personal designs. Automobile customisation specifically appears to be like substantial with every part from paint jobs to neon underglows obtainable. The character creator can also be in depth, giving gamers the choice to create absolutely anything human-shaped their thoughts can think about. You can too utterly overhaul the look of your character at any time – merely open the in-game cellphone app to carry out essentially the most superior beauty surgical procedure recognized to man. In a bizarre approach, it jogged my memory of The Sims as you construct a library of characters, every with their very own backstory you’ve made up in your head, to take management of.
Saints Row – Customization Showcase Gallery
Nevertheless, the setting is much less SimCity and extra Sin Metropolis. The world of Saints Row is a fictional depiction of the American Southwest and appears vibrant and bustling with life. The primary metropolis of Santo Ileso – a well-observed riff on Reno, Nevada – is an ideal instance of this as little vignettes play out as you stroll down the road. A band may begin enjoying out of nowhere, or it’s possible you’ll even determine to supply the music your self by pulling out a guitar to entertain or annoy the locals.
It’s this mixture of a semi-realistic setting and understanding silliness that made the Saints Row video games what they had been. Distinct sandboxes the place anarchic behaviour will not be solely inspired, it’s usually required. Tonally, Saints Row matches someplace in between the second and third of the unique collection – not fairly as darkish as 2, however not as off-the-wall bonkers as The Third. From the transient conversations I heard in cutscenes and the best way the members of your gang spoke to 1 one other, I used to be getting massive Watch Canines 2 vibes – one thing I’m certain will cut up individuals – however as an enormous fan of Ubisoft’s San Francisco-based sequel, I discovered this encouraging.
That stated, Saints Row seems to supply a way more rural setting than you may count on. Giant swathes of desert punctured with pockets of civilisation fill the map, and all of it appears to be like fairly good too as mud and sand is kicked up into each cactus you fly by. These massive open areas look set to be the place Saints Row’s autos shine, with totally revamped driving mechanics which borrow from acquainted favourites.
Video games from the mid-2000s had been by no means shy of taking profitable gameplay quirks and dropping them into theirs, and that legacy continues right here. Slide swiping into different automobiles conjures flashbacks of Burnout on PS2, whereas ejecting from a rushing automotive, deploying a wingsuit and hijacking one other is a staple of Simply Trigger. I’ve even seen hints of a Again to the Future-style hoverboard. These are all constructive steps, as a result of what I’ve seen appears to be like actually good enjoyable and there’s a very good purpose why you’d need these mechanics in an open world. In fact, the massive take a look at might be after we truly get to go hands-on and discover out if these are efficiently applied.
One factor Saints Row has all the time benefited from is its huge vary of distinctive weapons and that’s no totally different right here. I’ve seen weapons that shoot bullets via partitions as in the event that they’re paper, finger weapons that fireside bullets from large foam fingers, and my favorite – the Thrustbuster – a throwable soccer that sticks onto enemies and autos, sending them flying into the air earlier than exploding into tiny items. Each weapon, even the extra standard ones, have their very own unlockable signature talents too, similar to turning a easy pistol right into a quickfire machine pistol with the clicking of a button.
As you’d count on, the motion and violence is all very cartoony. It’s fluid too, and ending off an enemy with their very own weapon earlier than diving ft first into a close-by automotive for a fast escape – then climbing onto the roof to fend off chasers whereas automotive browsing – appears to be like very slick. Enemies do look a bit bullet spongy, with some taking a number of pictures within the head to take down, and it’s usually utterly ridiculous, however that’s all the time been a part of Saints Row’s attraction.
There seems to be a ton to unlock, similar to particular strikes just like the Pineapple Specific – during which you shove a grenade into an enemy’s mouth and launch them at one in every of their associates – in addition to abilities and perks allow you to tailor your type additional. There’s actual selection within the enemies too, with every rival gang having their very own combating kinds, models and mini bosses.
From what I’ve seen, actions are fairly commonplace open-world fare. Randomly generated Discoveries – like blowing the doorways off an armoured van to get to the money inside – present moments of distraction, plus there are extra scripted facet missions. Predominant missions are as you’d count on from an open world recreation of this type – quite a lot of automotive chases, firefights, and the occasional massive explosive second. For instance, borrowing a closely weaponised helicopter to destroy a rival gang’s facility earlier than touchdown on the roof and infiltrating, additional growing your grip on town. Then there’s the modes which abandon story in favour of pure enjoyable. Considered one of these is the returning Mayhem, a mode the place you trigger as a lot injury as doable inside a set time restrict. It’s Saints Row in its purest type and makes no apologies about it.
Taking down different gangs appears to be like prefer it’ll take up most of your time in Saints Row as you step by step full missions to extend your affect over the map by fulfilling the 14 separate enterprise ventures obtainable in your warfare desk map. New gameplay mechanics and modes (similar to Saints Row – Insurance coverage Fraud) and customisation choices unlock as you progress via these aims too, in addition to collectibles to search out all over the world – a few of which can be utilized to redecorate your church base – additional driving residence the purpose of Saints Row being filled with character, and inspiring you to stamp a few of your personal character on its world.
There’s lots happening in Saints Row then, and all of will probably be totally playable in drop-in and -out co-op too. Whether or not all of it comes collectively to make for a good time earlier than its August twenty third launch date is tough to know, particularly as we’ve but to truly play it. From what I’ve seen thus far although, I’m hopeful. Saints Row is wanting like a enjoyable throwback, and finger weapons crossed it feels precisely like that.
Simon Cardy would love a Burnout reboot subsequent, please. Comply with him on Twitter at @CardySimon.