Wildly customizable and sometimes wacky as ever

New Saints Row kicks off in the fictional town of Santo Ileso before the Saints existed as an organization. Instead, the four main characters – the player, Neenah, Eli, and Kevin – start out as roommates simply looking to make rent. The obvious solution is… well, crime. So they rob a payday loan establishment, featured during a recent hands-off preview attended by ComicBook.com, which sets the rest of the video game and the creation of the Saints in motion. And that puts them on a direct accelerated course with the rest of the Santo Ileso factions, Los Panteros, Marshall Defense Industries, and the Idols.

Each enemy faction has its own unique fighting style and multiple enemy types. In other words, there’s a lot of fighting in Saints Row. Combat in the new video game seems to take things up a notch from previous entries in the series by adding complexity, including drop-in and drop-out co-op, without completely abandoning what has worked so well. for Saints Row in the past.

(Photo: Koch Media/Deep Silver Volition)

For example, there are skills the player can use, including one that attaches a grenade to an enemy before throwing it, and finishing moves. Four skills can be active at a time, and they are earned with XP. Additionally, boons are minor passive abilities awarded for completing challenges, though they can have major impacts on combat when used well, such as one that tazes melee enemies when they hit you. These can also be complied with using the phone whenever desired. Add to that the fact that weapons also have signature abilities unlocked by completing challenges, with one example being extra damage to vehicles and another functionally turning a regular pistol into a submachine gun, and the customization extends even further. in combat than before with these options.

Considering this is a Saints Row video game, after all, it’s no surprise that top-to-bottom customization seems to have been of the utmost importance to the developers. As expected, this includes customizing the appearance of the player-controlled protagonist, but it goes way beyond that. Weapons? Customizable. Vehicles? Customizable. Friends of the Saints? Customizable, up to a point. There are a lot of options that really allow for an insane amount of customization.

(Photo: Koch Media/Deep Silver Volition)

Fortunately, the customization of the protagonist is handled in an extremely simple way. There are eight character presets that players can start from a baseline and go from there. While there are several ways to change around the main character, including a wardrobe at Saints HQ, there is also a Style app on their phone that basically lets you change anything and everything related to appearance. of the player at any time. . New Saints Row also includes over 100 emotes to really show off that customization, including ones that allow the player to walk at the same time.

While the developer showed a bunch of footage from Saints Row, there’s perhaps no better example of what gaming is than the scene featured where the player zoomed down a street in a car using a boost before triggering an ejection seat to fly through the sky …and then start using a wingsuit to glide around. If that sounds tame enough for the Saints Row franchise, it looks like the developers thought so too, as sliding via the wingsuit can be extended by successively bouncing off the heads of pedestrians before resuming another ride landing on the roof. of a moving vehicle. .

(Photo: Koch Media/Deep Silver Volition)

Driving in Santo Ileso seems to be quite smooth. The hands-on preview included a bunch of footage of the Saints navigating roads and other pathways. New Saints Row also has a new mechanic for “side-swipe” vehicular combat, which is essentially exactly what it sounds like. Players can quickly transform into an enemy vehicle alongside them in order to spin it around. There is also an emphasis on off-road vehicles, allowing players to explore the desert and the city.

However, the player should never have to go very far to find their home. The Saints’ headquarters is an abandoned church in the middle of town that grows as the group grows. It can also be heavily customized using over 100 unique props from across the city that can be placed in various locations. But upgrades, weapons, vehicles, and everything else in the video game cost money.

(Photo: Koch Media/Deep Silver Volition)

Although there are always opportunities to get quick cash Saints Row that pop up here and there, there are also Side Hustles that can be found on the map and are reproducible. These offer all sorts of rewards to players in the form of money, experience, rewards, and unlocks. A featured example, Riding Shotgun, basically allows players to ride while on a getaway and defend the driver. It’s all the fun of a car chase without having to drive yourself.

According to the overview without intervention, Saints Row has 25 missions on its critical path and 10 side missions. It’s certainly a lot to do on top of everything the video game has to offer players. Because I haven’t had the controller in my hands, it’s hard to say exactly how the game feels, but it certainly feels like what I’d expect from the franchise and hope to see in a new one. Right now, from this specific perspective, the future of the saints looks bright.

Saints Row set to release on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and PC through the Epic Games Store on August 23. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the Saints Row franchise here.

About Joshua M. Osborne

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