First announced at Gamescom in August 2021, the Saints Row reboot received a large amount of criticism for the game’s direction and art-style choices. Despite fan complaints though, Volition has been very transparent on its social media pages that the developers will not be backing down from its design choices, referring to the reboot as “a reboot like no one has ever done a reboot before”.
Since the reveal of the game’s gameplay trailer at the Game Awards in December, several sources have reached out to give an insight into where the game is seemingly heading. Of course, judging by the trailers we’ve seen so far, Saints Row is going to be taking the ridiculousness to a whole new level with new combat mechanics, customization options, and more.
Because there’s no easy way to describe all of these new details, I’ll be breaking down everything I’ve heard about the new features individually to provide as much detail as possible.
Flow is a point-based feature that allows you to use your abilities in combat, with your Flow Points being earned by actively being in combat, which includes the likes of dealing damage to enemies and vehicles, dodging attacks, etc. For a simplified example, killing 10 enemies and destroying 5 vehicles might grant you 15,000 damage points, equal to 1.5 Flow Points which you can then use up to use your abilities.
Your Abilities are tied to your Flow, with better Abilities needing more Flow Points in order to use them. Abilities are directly tied to character progression meaning the more you level up the more abilities you’ll have access to. Abilities are “active”, which means they need to be activated by a corresponding button/key.
Examples of some Abilities:
- Surprise – Throw a grenade down an enemies pants and throw them into more enemies causing a large explosion.
- Flaming Uppercut – Uppercut an enemy and launch them into the air.
- Ninja – Throw a smoke bomb down in order to lose enemies.
You can pick up to five individual Perks, with your first Perk Slot being unlocked after completing the first mission, but other slots are purchased with the in-game cash system. To unlock new and different Perks, players need to unlock them by completing challenges, missions, and side missions. So the more exploring and completing challenges you do, the more Perks you’ll have to choose from for your character.
These Perks are broken up into three different categories:
- Basic – Includes small game-changing advantages that you might benefit from in specific scenarios including moving faster whilst crouching, moving faster whilst aiming down sight, etc.
- Advanced – Includes slightly more beneficial advantages including the likes of a 50% health increase after an Execution or a percentage increase to your Flow earnings.
- Ultimate – Includes the more ridiculous advantages, such as being able to call in missiles to blow up an area.
Execution is Saints Row’s health-based system, where players can only gain more health by getting kills and dealing damage. The Execution system will grant both your character and vehicle health with the more kills and damage you deal. For example, side-slamming a vehicle and causing it to blow up will give your own vehicle extra health.
All of these features will complement each other in tandem, creating a unique way to play the game in combat. For example, using your car’s wrecking ball on enemies and enemy vehicles will increase your own vehicle’s health, increase your Flow, and might also allow you to unlock new perks via completing challenges, such as destroying 100 vehicles.
Customization has already been talked about heavily with Saints Row’s own “Like a Boss” customization trailer. Although that trailer did cover a lot to know about customization, those who’ve played the game have said that the customization for both your character and vehicles is a game like no other.
As a small throwback to Volition’s previous games, there are also character customization options that will allow the player to wear clothes from their other games including Red Faction, Agents of Mayhem, and Summoner.
Saints Row brings in a new fast travel system, where you can fast travel around the city without having to drive for miles. New fast travel locations are unlocked by taking pictures of nearby landmarks and once the picture has been taken, you can fast travel to that location whenever you want.
Collectibles & Dumpster Diving
Collectables make a return with Saints Row, but not like the blowup dolls from Saints Row 3. Instead, collectibles this time are in the form of drug piles. Dumpsters around the city are where you’ll also be able to dumpster dive, where you can find cash, new car parts, new cosmetic items, and more.
Criminal ventures have already been covered in a Saints Row Criminal Ventures trailer, but these ventures range from dumping toxic waste, insurance fraud, chop shops, stealing food trucks that sell drugs to corner the market, repoing cars, boats, bank vaults, and some other wacky things that will allow you to unlock new abilities, perks, cash, and more. One such “wacky” criminal venture is beating up murdered bodies/destroying their vehicle to make them [the bodies] look like something else happened to them, such as making the car get hit by a train.
Accessibility seems to be a key focus for Volition too, with Saints Row having a lot of accessibility options to ensure that everyone can play the game. Everything from eye commands, to button presses, to the difficulty options, to auto-win QTEs and unlimited time for activities make the game as accessible as possible.
Although Volition is yet to announce Saints Row multiplayer (although the game is playable co-op play), those who have played the game have expressed that it does feel like multiplayer is going to come to the game in some form post-launch. Of course, it’s difficult to base these types of details based on opinions from those who have played the game, but I did get some heavy hints from a source at the studio that this could be the case.
Saints Row is set to launch on August 23, 2022 on the PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X.