Me and my rocket launcher want to have fun: we finally got to play The Saints Row Reboot

I have to admit that when Volition announced the reboot of the series after a nearly ten-year hiatus, Saints and introduced new heroes, I was still very, very skeptical. After superhero powers, alien invaders and a visit to Hell, what is to come that will significantly increase the WTF factor? And aren’t the fragile girls and boys of the four-man core squad too smooth to be considered tough gangsters who tremble by three heavily armed gangs in the fictional metropolis of Santo Ileso?

Typical Saints Row street fight: there must be at least one attack helicopter.

But the Saints of Third Street is history now, and the gameplay footage shown with the new crew just promised a wonderfully strange, motley chaos where nothing seems impossible, the main thing is that it bangs and bangs properly. The main character doesn’t have to look like Ruby Rose either, but can be (un) designed as the mood will guide you thanks to the rich character editor. Muscular giant with clown boots and a smug British accent, prosthetic legs and / or arms, scars and tattoos, or perhaps a recognizable female body with rainbow skin and a deep male voice. Can you do something? If you are not satisfied with your choice, you can change your appearance and outfit at any time, unless you are in a story mission. Incidentally, these are not the only options with which you can tailor Saints Row to your wishes and ideas: quite early in the game, a garage is available to store your ever-growing collection of vehicles. Sure, if you need a vehicle, there are enough cars, buses or motorbikes in Santo Ileso that you can just grab if you need them. This also works when a car passes by and you add carnapping to your long criminal record with a bold leap through the side window.

In the beginning, you are even a member of the paramilitary marshals, but after a mission failed, you prefer to do your own thing.

But vehicles can only be tweaked in the garage, for example with the catapult seat, which is ideal as a wingsuit launch pad. The same applies here: if you like it, do it, even if you then break through the desert on a rolling pirate ship. An additional armored body is recommended as you can push motorized opponents out of the way with ramming. Incidentally, your vehicle will also suffer visible damage in the event of an accident, but it is difficult to completely scrap it even if you are driving as a kamikaze driver. Other customizable items include weapons, each with a special shot to unlock, and equipment for the Saints’ abode, which is housed in the old church. Enough preamble: finally I could see for myself how Saints Row plays, master the first story missions and look around the open world of the game. It starts with the cliff. A lavish party organized by saints who are already established gangsters is under attack. Chaos, shooting, explosions, boulders flying in the air, the camera significantly zooms in on a mobile phone with a broken window, and then everything darkens. Don’t worry, nothing dramatic will happen to the antiheroes, but for now that goes back a few months. Your boss isn’t boss yet, but he lives with friends Kevin, Neenah, and Eli in the apartment and has just accepted a new job.

The world is big, varied and mostly very pretty. Even if the overall impression does not necessarily scream loud Next Gen.

To be able to afford a costly life in Moloch Santo Ileso, you have been recruited by the Marshall as mercenaries. A paramilitary force that will do anything for money and has a rich arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons. The first mission is called “First Day Fuck” and that basically sums it all up. As cannon fodder, you and a squad of marshals are unleashed upon hostile Los Panteros, a brutal bandit of bandits holed up in a seedy town to the west. Below is a breathtaking series of increasingly absurd action sequences as you dig up machine gun positions, mow down dozens of enemies with an armored car turret, and finally go head to head with the local Ober-Panteros while climbing a jet plane while delivering lead to enemies around.

Unfortunately, when I was playing I was not allowed to drive a tank. But I’m looking forward to it.

As you successfully complete the task on your own, you can earn money in subsequent Marshal Missions. And they are no less crazy, so you hijack a heavily guarded convoy with a precious cargo in which you make your way from truck to truck, shooting down vehicles with rocket launchers on the left and right to bring the supposedly irreplaceable artifact to the marshals’ possession. There remains a mysterious part that probably still plays an important role in the course of the story, but no, as Idols, a group of Watch Dogs-like ravers looking to announce a new world order, also want to usurp the exhibit.

With the Idols, you are dealing with a particularly nasty gang looking to change the world order after a rave. Of course by force.

It comes as it must come: in spite of your full physical commitment, you eventually lose a precious piece and get kicked out of your corpse with disgrace and disgrace. Then new Saints are formed and the quartet decides to dedicate themselves to the life of crime, eliminating competition and building a gangster empire. You get the necessary start-up capital in numerous side missions where you dig up metals, steal vehicles, rob enemy gangs or practice insurance fraud, throwing yourself into traffic jams in crazy scenes and as often as possible from the car to the air sling. Every virtual breach makes the money go to the cash register. As you may have noticed, I really enjoyed the criminal activities in Santo Ileso. It’s all so crazy and devoid of any down-to-earthness, just as I think Saints Row should be. And you don’t need aliens, superpowers, or vibrators for that. From the very beginning, I was able to play about four hours, which of course is definitely not enough to look at all aspects, especially as the world opens up completely later and therefore more options are available. But I’ve already earned a lot of experience points and virtual dollars that I invested in my boss’s skills. With special attacks like the Pineapple Express where you stick a hand grenade into your opponent’s pants and throw it with panache at his buddies, powerful knockouts, gadgets like proximity mines, or a special weapon like a pinata cannon or a giant index finger from which you shoot the bullets, the fights can be survived. Because even on the medium difficulty level, Entrepreneur, you will be attacked by many enemies. These include mini-bosses with shields and a particularly powerful weapon that will send you to the last checkpoint in no time.

In addition to Marshalls and Idols, Los Panteros will give you a hard time, dominating a large part of Santo Ileso and cheerfully enforcing their claims with a sledgehammer.

I definitely enjoyed what I could see and play. The missions are varied and fun, and the varied landscape is well laid out. This is despite the fact that the graphics are definitely not a next-gen revelation and the game never takes itself seriously. Emotional moments can explode during a buddy’s mission as you help Eli, Neenah, and Kevin with their personal problems. But before long you’ll be back in the helicopter, firing rockets at enemies.

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