Saints Row PS5 Review – It seems like an age since we had a new Saints Row title. Believe it or not, it has been 9 years now since Saints Row 4. That wasn’t one of my favourite titles if I’m honest. I think they took it too far with the entire alien invasion thing. Saints Row is a reboot of the series with new characters, a new story and an entirely new setting.
Welcome to Santo Ileso, a vibrant fictional city in the heart of the American SouthWest. In a world rife with crime, where lawless factions fight for power, a group of young friends embark on their own criminal venture, as they rise to the top in their bid to become Self Made.
Experience the biggest and best Saints Row playground ever created; the unique sprawling world of Santo Ileso is the backdrop for a wild, larger than life sandbox of thrilling side hustles, criminal ventures and blockbuster missions, as you shoot, drive, and wingsuit your way to the top.Saints Row Official Website
Saints Row PS5 Review – Gameplay
I think by now most are used to the idea of Saints Row games. Over the top action filled with more swearing that would make anyone blush (my wife did even say to me that it’s not a good idea to play in front of the kids). It will always be at its best when total chaos is happening on screen. There is no other game that comes close to it in terms of tone, whether it’s through an explosive chase or you are trying to wipe out hundreds of SWAT teams that are trying to kill you.
Gone are the Crackdown style superpowers, the huge purple dildo bats and many other whackier aspects the franchise has come to be known by. Instead, these are replaced by a tight origins story with some fun characters added to the mix.
Starting the game to those who are familiar with the franchise you will encounter the deeply involved character creation screen where an infinite number of changes can be made to your boss to make him or her a true force of nature to be reckoned with. I just wonder how many of the guys playing out there with design a character with a package that resembles a mouses privates? Yep, you can adjust your manhood to be in line with Ron Jeremy (ask your parents kids).
From that point on you are tasked with creating your gang, The Saints, within the first few hours. Joined by three characters: the shirtless muscle Kevin, numbers guy Eli and dangerous driver Neenah. The issue I have with this team is that they feel rather grounded compared to your over-the-top antics and don’t really seem to sit well within the game. Yes, the do allow your character to stand out in the murderous streaks but as an AI part of the game feel wrong.
The map in game is by far the biggest yet, but there aren’t enough missions to justify one of that size. In fact, the main missions only seem to take up about a third of the entire game. The rest is filled with numerous side missions to complete but they start to get stale after a while and just feel more like chores than an enjoyable thing to do.
Another issue that I have with the game is the map screen. When you do complete a side mission the marker stays on screen rather than either ghosting or disappearing. Due to this the map soon fills up with loads of markers that make it feel a mess and hard to start finding what you need.
Returning quests such as Insurance Fraud makes a comeback where you throw yourself in front of traffic and is still as fun as it ever was being tossed around like a rag doll. These do overshadow other missions such as driving toxic waste across the map very carefully and slowly or even the massive rip-off from Fast and Furious of dragging a shipping container behind your car to deliver it whilst being chased. There doesn’t feel to be enough variety as with previous Saints Row titles.
Saints Row PS5 Review – Graphic performance
Considering the OTT combat within the game, on the PS5 the game runs amazingly well and looks beautiful. The only graphic thing about the game though is the language used throughout. It has always been hilarious how there is an abundance of mad comic book styled action coupled with the searing. When the action is in full on swing there was no drops in frame rate and I didn’t encounter very many glitches which, considering I was playing a review copy before a day 1 patch was highly impressive.
Releases like this as far as performance is concerned are very rare. The only game I have played before with zero glitches (considering its size) was Death Stranding.
The game comes on strong with the arcade styled driving mechanics and Gun Play combat. It just feels really good to play. As you level up you unlock various special abilities which can help turn the tide during encounters, a welcome addition to the game.
It’s worth mentioning that there are loads of accessibility options, too, which exist alongside your standard difficulty settings. You can tweak incoming damage, the severity of time limits, auto aim, and more to suit your needs, while controller inputs can be remapped entirely.
Saints Row PS5 Review – Take over
Within the Santo Ilesa map there is a fair number of districts, somewhere in the region of 20 in total. You are tasked with placing businesses in each of these districts. Develop these businesses and you win the district. The creativity used for these side businesses is quite impressive ranging from arms dealing to toxic waste dumping, from crime scene clean-up and body disposal to vehicular repossessions.
You got to take the good with the bad, however. In order to get full profits from your business adventures you will have to clean up five trouble spots in each district. By clean up I mean shoot everyone that walks. It’s a pity because although at first it does feel good, these missions do feel like game fillers in a game that does have a lot of creativity and become repetitive.
Saints Row PS5 Review – Final Thoughts
Saints Row is possibly the best outcome to a game that no one really expected. Pulling back on the stupidity the game had become in later titles and concentrating more on the core features was definitely the right thing to do. A lot of people may have thought that the game was dead and gone but to see it reborn in this way does feel like a renewal of sorts.
Volitions gamble to ground the Saints Row title has paid off. I enjoyed playing through this game a lot more than the likes of Saints Row 4. Sure, there are a few features of the missions that become redundant after a while of grinding the same style of gameplay within side quests, but there’s enough here to keep people busy for a long time. Add to all of that a soundtrack that offers everything people will want and we’re on to a winner.