“Saints Row”: An introduction to Santo Ileso


Courtesy Deep Silver Volition

Saints Row provides many ways of combat and transportation in Santo Ileso.

Cristian Garcia, Reporter

If you’re looking for an open-world game about gangsters, or if you want to be a boss who will do anything to lead the strongest gang in the city…then you’ll be better off playing the old “Saints Row 2” instead of the newest entry in the series, “Saints Row: “2022.”

This reboot is nothing like its predecessor. It feels less like a cringey mess as the game tries to be politically correct, censoring words like bitch, cunt and racial slurs. Ironically, the game seems to have the most F-bombs I have ever heard, but it feels forced. It seems the developers really tried to earn the game’s M rating.

The world itself seems to retain the silliness that “Saints Row: The Third” introduced, set in a fictional city called Santo Ileso, which is a desert full of sightseeing locations, some of which can be unlocked as fast–travel points. There’s lots to do and lots to see here in Santo Ileso.

There are a lot of collectables, some of which unlock more items when completing a set. You can also discover some history of the city of Santo Ileso, and some of the items you collect can be used as decoration for the gang’s headquarters.

Unlike the world itself, the Saints Row reboot’s main characters are uninteresting. They feel more like a social media group of friends deciding to rob people, than an actual gang. Characters include Eli, the brains of the operation who enjoys Live Action Role Playing; Neenah, who is into cars and art; and Kev, who likes cooking and the gang’s cat and hates wearing shirts.

The reboot is ridden with bugs that either ruin certain missions or cause the game to crash. One mission had enemies spawn in an unreachable location, which forced me to restart the mission.

Character and environment animations feel somewhat lazy. In one instance, when a character attempts to mount a bike that’s fallen on its side, there is no pick-up animation. The character moves from standing next to the bike to riding it immediately. Non-player-characters or even the playable character itself will oftentimes become stuck in pose with their arms up. One glitch forced a train to fly sideways.

On a positive side, there are unique perks and abilities to make combat entertaining including an extra bar of health for armor, attaching explosives to an enemy and killing multiple targets, and a percentage bar that when full can initiate a takedown to kill enemies instantly then regain your lost health. This makes the game’s combat feel more enjoyable than combat in “Saints Row: The Third.”

Upgrades return in this installment, and they range from the physical — more health for you and your gang —to the external—better weapons and vehicle upgrades such as turbo and more armor. There are vehicles to unlock or steal, including faster cars, hoverbikes and even a tank. The game also introduces a gliding mechanic called The Wingsuit that allows players to glide after jumping off high locations or being launched by a device that shoots them into the air. You also have the ability to sit on the roof of your car and shoot at enemies.

Side activities from the previous Saints Row games such as insurance fraud and mayhem, as well as new activities, all serving as business venture missions while you build your criminal empire from the ground up, slowly gaining more power with each business.

The reboot seems to not completely mess up the character customization as it is an important feature of the Saints Row franchise. As with previous entries, you can create a variety of unique boss designs and even share these bosses with other players. You can customize and change your boss anytime with the style app on your in-game phone, removing the need to drive across the map to the nearest plastic surgery center to edit or create bosses.

If you feel the need to change your boss but don’t want to go through the effort of erasing your current one, then that won’t be a problem. You can now save multiple bosses on the same save file and can switch between them any time you want when using the style app. You can also customize your boss’ clothing as well, no longer needing to use a wardrobe for a quick shirt change.

There are a total of three gangs to defeat. Los Panteros, a drug trafficking and auto theft gang, The Marshals, a private militia, and The Idols, an anarchist cult. Similar to previous Saints Row games, each gang has their own specialist with unique attacks to provide a challenge to the player.

Overall, regardless of whether you’re a Saints Row fan or not, this game is not worth your money thanks to its cringy dialogue and characters, glitchy gameplay and bad animation. If you are still interested, however, in wanting to waste time or mess around with making custom characters, best wait for a discount price instead of paying $60.