Saints Row review: How not to make open-world games

Saints Row review: How not to make open-world games

Saints Row – a reboot of the beloved franchise created by Deep Silver Volition – has seemingly regained its fans’ trust after an early reveal left them deeply concerned. The developer managed to build some buzz through successive trailers, which got fans excited about its release. Now, having spent more than a week with the game – Saints Row released on August 23rd for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X – I’m afraid to say that the fandom’s initial fears have come true. This new take on the descent into a life of crime for the saints is devoid of all the quirky traits that really made it stand out and set it apart from Rockstar’s GTA games at the time.

Santos return in a new scenario, the city of Santo Ileso. But it would have been better if they had stayed home and thought about this outing. That could have stopped them from falling flat on their faces. Saints Row puts you in the boss’s shoes. Having been fired from a private military job and your housemates abandoned by your gangs, you and your crew set out to establish your own criminal empire as the Saints.

Saints Row offers tons of customization options for the boss, vehicles, and weapons. I spent a few hours creating a library of custom designs for my character. Vehicle and weapon customization is also highly detailed. You can spend a good chunk of your time in the customization menus, which is probably the most rewarding aspect of the game.

Saints Row release date, system requirements, gameplay, download size and more

saints row review 1 saints_row_review_1

Saints Row review: campaign and team

Saints Row starts on an intriguing note with the boss being betrayed and the Saints HQ destroyed. However, we go back to the past to experience the events that led up to this moment. This premise could have been captivating if the motivations of his character and his team weren’t so superficial. The game also fails to offer a sense of progression as you expand the Saints’ notoriety. For example, you can set up your criminal enterprises anywhere in the city once you get them built. There is no competition for land with rival gangs, which I consider a missed opportunity.

Sticking only to the main quests, you can complete the Saints Row campaign in about 15 hours. You can also set up various criminal enterprises in Santa Ileso, including the fan-favorite insurance fraud from the previous games. The rest, however, involves taking out a wave of enemies or stealing a vehicle. In fact, most story missions fall into these two categories as well, which makes the whole game feel like a routine after 4-5 hours of gameplay.

Accompanying you on this journey is a new team consisting of Neenah, Eli and Kevin. Each of these characters has a unique character – Neenah is your getaway driver/mechanic, Eli serves as the brains of the operation, and Kevin is the DJ/party chef who has various connections in Santa Eliso. O Saints Row The developer tries to invoke that deep bond of friendship between us and these characters, but it never goes deep into our history with them.

Saints Row it also doesn’t truly explore the characters themselves. After an introductory mission, they’re mostly there to send you off on your next mission or help you in combat should you decide to call on them. I never really felt attached to my team and the game never tried to make me care.

The Last of Us Part 1 PS5 Review: Absolutely Gorgeous, But Expensive

saints row review team saints_row_review_crew

Saints Row review: graphics and gameplay

Saints Row it’s not a visually appealing game. It goes for the brand’s cartoon about the characters, but the world around them is monotonous. There are several lighting issues with the game. The draw distance isn’t that great either, with things popping in and out of your field of vision at times. It feels like a game that belongs to an earlier console generation.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the graphics that look old-fashioned – the gameplay is also stuck in the past. Saints Row it just wants you to be out in the open and trade fire with an AI that is brain dead, even on higher difficulties. There are a few varieties of enemies ranging from grunts to armored mini-bosses, but most can be easily dispatched without any challenge. Also, shooting guns is not rewarding in Saints Row – even with updates, they look inaccurate and do almost no damage.

You also get a bunch of special moves and an execution gauge that fills up during combat. These executions help restore health, but age after a few hours and break the flow of combat. Also, the animation can be glitched at times, which makes these runs look weird. This uninspiring combat is definitely the biggest hurdle to enjoy. Saints Row. I would have stuck to difficult missions to expand my criminal empire, but the combat is boring to say the least.

Saints Row it’s also not a polished game. I’ve experienced game crashes, artifacts appearing on screen, allies magically appearing in vehicles – the list goes on. I even got my save files corrupted after spending a few hours in the game. There is also a bug that prevents your controls from working during missions, which was especially annoying as it caused me to lose mission progress several times.

Spider-Man Remastered PC Review: A Little Pricey, But Worth the Wait

saints row review vehicle combat saints_row_review_vehicle_combat

The most fun I’ve had with Saints Row was in his fighting vehicle. Slamming sideways into police or gang cars and watching them explode never tired of me. The easy drifting also made me choose cars over a wingsuit or helicopter most of the time. That said, most vehicles handle very similarly to each other and all can skid very easily. So I was never interested in building a car collection as any vehicle can do the job.

Saints Row review: final verdict

Despite calling itself a reboot, Saints Row has not changed from its predecessors. The game plays like a PS3-era title in every sense of the word. It’s not a polished product either – corrupted saves, crashes, visual glitches and bugs make the experience irritating at times.

O Saints Row the campaign starts out on an interesting note, but then fails to hook you with absolutely no tension and risk. Adding to the misery is a set of dull characters that fail to evoke any real emotion from the player.

There are some advantages to Saints Row however. You can spend hours in the customization menu decorating your character, vehicles and weapons. The ability to store multiple character designs of your boss and swap them out on the fly is a nice touch that most players will appreciate.

Traveling through the desert landscape and streets of the city of Santo Ileso is a lot of fun. The wingsuit also adds an exciting element to traversing in Saints Row. However, most vehicles behave pretty much the same and vehicle sounds are barely audible.

FIFA 23, The Last of Us Part 1, More: September Games for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X

saints row review 2 saints_row_review_2

Saints Row’s biggest flaw is the combat in my opinion. The guns just don’t feel accurate and aren’t pleasant to shoot. Also, melee combat is present only as an afterthought. The newly added executions seem exciting at first, but become annoying and constantly break the flow of combat.

I really hoped to enjoy the life of crime in Saints Row and the few moments when it all worked out were thrilling. But overall, it’s not a pleasant experience – not even if you decide to put it up for sale. I would recommend you stay out and save your time and money.


  • Deep customization options
  • Drifting cars never get old
  • Fast loading times


  • Uninspired mission design
  • drab supporting character
  • Shooting guns is not nice
  • Executions break the flow of combat
  • Game breaking bugs, visual glitches
  • Graphics look outdated

Rating (out of 10): 4

We play Saints Row on a PC with AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7 GHz, AMD RX570 8 GB and 16 GB RAM.​

Saints Row can be purchased on PC through the Epic Games Store for Rs. 1859. It is available on the PlayStation Store for Rs. 3,999 for the PS4 and PS5. Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X users can purchase the game for Rs. 3,999 on the Xbox store.

Affiliate links may be generated automatically – see our ethics statement for details.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: