Editorial: Should the last Saints Row have been called that? – Xbox
Last year, Saints Row landed again with Volition. A long-awaited reboot of the franchise, which left a good taste in our mouths, as we already told you in our analysis signed by my partner Gabo. A title that many of us expected and that finally, among so much novelty and games that come to Xbox Game Pass, I have been able to enjoy from start to finish. And in doing so, I couldn’t help but wonder, is Saints Row still Saints Row?
Go ahead, I have really enjoyed the title, it has left me with memorable moments and a lot of laughs. Without a doubt, it is one of the games that I enjoyed the most in 2022. My question is not about its quality, nor my doubts about whether it is good or not. Each one will have their opinion about it, it would be missing more, for tastes, colors. If not, I’m going to something deeper, to the very essence of the saga. Because Saints Row arose as a response to GTA, a direct competition with its own path and tone, far from the seriousness of the Rockstar franchise.
Saints Row and its essence under debate
And looking directly, with perspective, I believe that the purest essence has been lost. Now, from the third numbered installment, the narrative is more to one side, leaving everything in pursuit of madness, explosions and shoot at point blank range. We have been presidents of the United States with practically superpowers fighting against an alien invasion, we have had cannons that shoot people, and endless other crazy things. What should have been the hallmark, a touch of humor, has been exaggerated, giving rise to open world games. Without going any further, in the latest installment spear (EYE SPOILERS) we visit the world of the dead, reminiscent of the astral world that is very reminiscent of what was seen in Black Phanther. Not to forget the numerous missions or sub-missions in which we must destroy everything with rockets without anyone flinching. Yes, we have factions that react when we attack them, and even the Santo Ileso police, but it ends up working almost like one more faction.
Is this what we want to see in a Saint Row? It may be so, but without a doubt, it is not the purpose with which the saga was born. It is no longer a game that seeks to compete directly with GTA, fill the gap between installments and manage to take away players. Something that is perhaps impossible, but the Volition franchise did achieve it in its first installments, at least in part. But in recent times it has gone off course, going off on a tangent and becoming something else. It no longer rivals GTA, but plays in another league. It has elements in common, it would be missing more, such as being a third-person shooter with a certain history of mafias or criminal organizations and obviously, being open world.
But all has been left behind by that madness. A madness that has been taken to its maximum exponent and that, let’s not deny it, is cool. Yes, I have really enjoyed flying planes and destroying everything left and right, without consequences. But I haven’t felt like I’m playing an original Saints Row game or a GTA. Comparisons are hateful, I know, but my feeling in the end is that I’m enjoying “something else”.
Is this bad? Not at all, but it does make me wonder, is Saints Row still Saints Row? The answer, to me, is perhaps too melodramatic: no. It has evolved into something else, just as fun and crazier. And that is why I think that, perhaps, the last installment should not have been titled like that. A new IP, with the same concept, might have achieved better reception, because many of us expected something else. It may be my oldest vision or pure nostalgia when seeing a reboot of the franchise, a return to the origins. Something that has not happened and has continued, in my opinion, with that line taken in the latest titles of spectacularity and explosions, almost as if it were a Michael Bay movie.
With all this, I insist, I liked the new Saints Row a lot, I enjoyed it. Apart from technical errors, bad decisions in the launch or patches that do not arrive on time, the problem comes from the fact that I have not felt it as a Saints Row, but as something different that, if I had had another title, it could have marked the difference. I don’t know, You just need to go back to your origins. Not where everything went crazy. Perhaps it is necessary to return to the gangs at street level, where a pistol was a treasure and a flamethrower something impossible. Realism like a real come-back is what you would need. There really is nothing similar or with the same intention. Although the brand itself has been so damaged by the sales and criticism of this latest installment, that we may not see anything for quite some time.