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  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Easy to pick up for fans of the Saints games
  • Creation Suites are detailed and fun to use
  • Multiplayer works well

Might Not Like

  • Graphics are hit and miss
  • Music selection is poor
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Saints Row Review

Saints Row

Saints Row started life as a pretender to the Grand Theft Auto throne, with most agreeing it was a shameless copy. Shameless as it may have been, it was a GOOD copy, and it earned high praise.

In the years that followed Volition carved out a niche for their series. They did this by distancing themselves from GTA's gritty realism, instead opting for abject craziness.

Saints Row looked to reboot the series and reel things in, but many are accusing Volition of copying GTA again... but this time for all the wrong reasons.

Why? Let's take a look!

Lead Balloon

Before I get to my own thoughts on the game, it would be remiss of me not to address the elephant in the room; Saints Row (2022) has been received poorly.

Everything from the graphics, to the writing, and the gameplay in general have been torn to shreds. Some have even compared it to Rockstar's GTA: Definitive Edition, which was a bug-riddled mess upon release.

There's no getting away from the fact that Saints Row has issues, but in my personal experience I haven't found it to be too bad.

Looking Fly...ish

Saints Row is a real mixed bag when it comes to graphics.

When it looks good, it looks fantastic, but for the most part playing on a PS5 with HDR enabled, things look passable, but not outstanding.

During sunrise and sunset landscapes look beautiful, a lot of the vehicles are shiny and alluring, and it's clear the main cast of characters have had a lot of work put in to them too.

However, when things are bad, they are REALLY bad.

Cut scenes can often feel jerky, kind of like trying to stream a movie on dial-up internet. A lot of the NPCs wouldn't look out of place in an XBox 360 game, and there is the occasional slow down when things get crowded.

For most players these issues wouldn't be enough to snap them out of the immersion of the game, but if you're big on crisp, silky smooth graphics you're definitely going to notice.

Play On Playa

The original Saints Row series had refined its control scheme from iteration to iteration, resulting in a smooth, natural way to play.

Picking up the controller to play Saints Row I immediately fell back into that groove. There are a few big exceptions, but that's more down to a couple of the game's mechanics being switched up.

Thrown weapons such as grenades and Molotov cocktails no longer exist, and instead have been replaced by unlockable moves.

These moves have to be charged up by initiating a close-combat one-hit-kill, and only then can you use one.

They vary in what they can do, from dropping a smoke bomb to evade an oncoming attack, to turning an enemy into a human explosive by shoving a grenade up their... well I'm sure you can figure out where.

It's not a bad change, but it feels like an unnecessary one as both things could have been implemented without one having to replace the other.

A lot of the other Saints staples are here too; buying and customising clothes, pimping out cars, recruiting crew to help out in battle and so on.

Players can now also unlock and attribute 'Perks' to their Boss, boosting stats or giving extra abilities. It's a nice touch and allows you to play your way by piecing together different combos to see what works.

Once the tutorial mission has been completed players are also free to open up their world to co-op, allowing a friend to drop in and help out with just about any aspect of the game.

OG Features

Aside from the wacky, off the wall style Saints Row became known for, two of the things the series has always done well are the creation suites, and the music.

So how do they hold up in this new incarnation of Saints Row? Let's start with the positives.

The create-a-boss options are plentiful and allow for all manner of interesting characters to be churned out.

You only have to look at the 'Sharing' app built into the game to see just how creative people can get. Want to play as The Rock, Johnny Bravo, She-Hulk or The Joker? Other players have already got you covered.

How about Shaggy from Scooby Doo, Buff Squidward or Macho Man Randy Savage?

In my brief time scrolling I also saw Tommy Shelby, Walter White and even Nigel Thornberry make an appearance. If you've got the time, Saints Row (2022) has got the parts to make just about anyone.

What's more, you can save a gallery of bosses to switch to, giving the player complete freedom to change who they are at any given point of the game.

Now onto the not so positives... the music.

Aside from the original Saints Row game, which didn't have the licensing power of the later entries, the in-game radio stations have always been littered with big names and great, recognisable tracks.

As a side note, this was negated somewhat in the first game due to the ability to use the music on your Xbox 360 to create a personalised station. A feature that is sorely missed in a lot of games, but seems to be a casualty of how easy it is to create and share gameplay videos these days.

It's a feature that would be VERY welcome with regards to Saints Row (2022) as well, because the music here is a bit of a disappointment.

The odd recognisable name is present (DMX, Busta Rhymes, The 1975, Slayer) but I'd wager unless you're a big fan of the genre(s) the stations represent, you won't find much familiarity here.

It's a shame too, as you're going to spend a lot of time listening to these stations while you drive around. I guess it's a good chance to discover some new music, but some more bona-fide universal hits would have been nice.

A Modern Take

Without giving too much away, the storyline is essentially a fresh take on the same tried and tested Saints formula.

There are 3 other gangs in the area, and the game documents The Saints rise to power. There is some nuance here though, as you start the game working for one of the 3 factions, while your flatmates are members of the other groups.

I liked this aspect as it freshened things up a bit, but the bigger criticism is the way these characters are portrayed. It's obvious the writers wanted Saints Row (2022) to be 'with the times' and 'relevant' in today's world. So, the crew you live with are all 20-something student types who are big into their socials and the like.

That's not inherently a problem, until you realise that it isn't actually being written by 20-something student types. As a result, some of the jokes and references feel forced and a bit hammy.

Personally that just adds to the charm of the game for me, it feels like that's what Saints Row has always been about, but for some it might be a bit much.

The other problem is it's hard to take these guys seriously as top-level gang leaders, as they lack the grit that came from the likes of Gat and Shaundi in previous games.

The Final Shot

Overall, I've enjoyed my time with Saints Row (2022) and I have every intention of completing it, as I have with all the previous games in the series.

I've seen a lot of talk about glitches, but so far I've not seen anything outside of the odd occurrence of wild physics. Yes a corpse might have randomly catapulted itself into the stratosphere, but I've seen nothing that could be described as game-breaking, or even impeding.

Could the game have done with a bit more polish before it released? Absolutely. But these days developers are aware they can get away with releasing an unfinished game and then patch it later, which feels like the plan here.

The way this game has been received I'd suspect this may be the last hurrah for the Saints Row franchise, and that's disappointing.

It's disappointing because there IS a fun game here, but ultimately it doesn't feel like a step forward. Some aspects are as good as they always were, some are worse, and after 7 years that's just not good enough.

If you're able to put the original games out of your mind and play Saints Row for what it is, namely a fun, chaotic romp around a sprawling city, you'll have fun with it.

Otherwise you might be better off picking up Saints Row the Third Remastered, sitting tight and waiting to see if this gets patched.

Zatu Score


  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Easy to pick up for fans of the Saints games
  • Creation Suites are detailed and fun to use
  • Multiplayer works well

Might not like

  • Graphics are hit and miss
  • Music selection is poor

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