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Saints Row’s Story & World Boast the Freedom to Explore Saint Ileso at Your Leisure (Preview)

Saints Row boss skyline

Saints Row’s Story & World Boast the Freedom to Explore Saint Ileso at Your Leisure (Preview)

Last month, Volition gave its fans a glimpse into the Saints Row reboot, showing off just how weird and wacky the game is set to be in an official preview of all of the customization elements that will be in the game. Today, the developers wanted to shed even further light on the title by showing off what is to come regarding the story.

The preview begins by revealing that the base premise of Saints Row revolves around four roommates, each from a different faction. Despite being rivals, they all band together to commit crimes with one another in order to make rent.

Right from the get-go, this idea of rival gang members working together is interesting, as it shows that, when it all comes down to it, a lot of the characters that make up Saints Row have similar goals. How they go about accomplishing them is what differs.

These four characters, including the protagonist (The Boss), seem to have a Robin Hood-like mindset of stealing from the rich and helping the poor, as they choose to rob a Pay Day Loan store. They even go as far as to tell the NPC getting a loan that they aren’t robbing them, just the store, which sets an intriguing tone for the group’s morals.

After robbing the store, we get to see a bit more of how driving and combat work. Driving seems precise but also arcadey, as cars can drift around turns smoothly while also sideswiping enemies and doing stunt jumps to lose the trail of anyone following them.

saints row dirt bike

The addition of a desert locale for the first time in the series also adds an offroading element to driving, with Saints Row featuring plenty of fun new vehicles, like dirtbikes, as a result. Combat also looks much more fluid in the reboot, as the game features finishers and unique combat skills to go alongside the gunplay.

While that may sound like a kind of general addition, the gameplay that was shown off was really impressive. Skills like the Pineapple Express and Taser Armor worked well in tandem with the other skill moves and weapons that the game has, making for some sick combos.

After they eventually lose their notoriety, The Boss roams around Santo Ileso and takes in the sights, showing off some of the new emotes and the ability to change their look from an app on their phone. Being able to customize hair, clothes, and the entire way your character looks at any time and any place is a neat addition to the game, as it allows for a lot of diversity and freedom when it comes to role-playing.

Another new addition that feels like it’ll help freshen things up are discoveries. Similar to random events, these are quick mini-missions that can be found while just walking around the map. Need a little extra cash? Go blow up that armored car and reap your reward.

Just like in games like GTA, though, committing crimes brings the cops. Something neat Saints Row adds to this system is the ability to keep notoriety from going up by taking out call-ins, which allows you a bit more breathing room to escape. To get your notoriety level down for good, you’ll need to hide from the cops or take crazy jumps that they won’t be able to follow.

Alongside these open-world encounters, Saints Row features a lot of side hustles and side missions. Like previous games in the series, these are used both to earn rewards and get to know your new crew. At the beginning, these also serve as a way to introduce your Boss to new game mechanics and the criminal underworld that makes up Santo Ileso.

One mission that was shown off revolved around a bored politician’s housewife that needed some covering fire as she drives away with all the jewels she just stole. This mission shows off how The Boss can either provide covering fire from the driver’s seat or surf on top of the car and shoot to do a bit more damage, at the risk of their own health.

Like always, these missions are optional, though they do help flesh out the setting and world that the main story takes place in to provide even more context. If you just want to do the general plot, you’ll still have plenty to do, as there are 25 critical path missions to complete.

During each of these critical path missions, you’ll unlock new skills and weapons that’ll serve you in your battle against other factions. What is interesting is that you aren’t the only one that has unique abilities and weapons.

saints row idols fight

For each faction, there are multiple different enemy types and styles. For example, Los Panteros are strong and like to get in close with melee, so their characters reflect that. Each group also has its own minibosses that are even tougher to beat than the specialist goons, requiring you to equip the skills and weapons that you unlock along the way to get around their strengths accordingly.

Going against a character that has a weakness to fire? Be sure to equip all of your explosive perks and ammo to take full advantage of that. The world is your oyster when it comes to equipping these different skills and guns, as, just like with your clothing, it can all be accessed via your phone or the weapon wheel at any time.

The last bit of the preview that was shown off shed a bit more light on how the Criminal Ventures will work in Saints Row. Accessible via the HQ War Room, you’ll be able to take over 14 different vacant lots across Santo Ileso.

Each one of these ventures boasts new missions, features, and the ability to take over areas and lower the population of other gangs in them. More importantly, this is how you’ll access classic gameplay modes like Mayhem.

Just like in the original series, you complete these modes in a tier system, which is divided between missions. Each tier has different instances of gameplay, increasing with difficulty and chaos each time. The Mayhem example that was given saw the player controlling RPGs, tasking them with reaching a certain amount of damage before the time ran out.

The best part about this segment of the presentation, aside from how fun Mayhem looked, is that it was done in co-op, which was revealed to be completely untethered. That means that your buddy – or even a stranger if you have it set up that way – can hop in and join you at any point in Saints Row.

You can be exploring, in a story mission, or doing side content; it doesn’t matter; co-op can be accessed at just about any point. This was the point where the preview ended, and I couldn’t help but want to see more.

Don’t just take our word for it, though, as you’ll be able to experience the chaos of Saints Row for yourself when it releases for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One, and PS4 on Aug. 23, 2022.

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