The new Saints Row‘s release date draws closer, and we’re learning more about the game. Last week, I got an extended look at the game, and I’ve had one big takeaway: Playing involves a hefty amount of customization menus. That’s not inherently a good or bad thing, and it’s in keeping with the rest of the series. The developers want you to know that you can customize everything.

To be clear, that wasn’t the only thing I saw of the game. I got to see a few quests in action, including an extended police chase — in which the Boss has to pause to gun down some presumptuous members of a rival gang, natch — and a mission with new homie Neenah. The devs also showed off the wingsuit gameplay. I’ll reiterate my previous reassurance that it looks just as Saints Row-wacky as ever. Neenah’s mission involves wrecking up a giant factory because a rival gang dinged her car, a typically Saint-like overreaction.

But the lion’s share of the footage I’ve seen is about how players can customize every aspect of their Saints, from the Boss’s teeth, to stock on their assault rifle, to the statue in the middle of their HQ. As is typical for the Saints, you can also change things up on the spot. You can go from being a female boss with pink hair in a pair of Daisy Dukes to a male Saint in a cowboy hat and long duster any time you like.

We also got a glimpse of the Saints’ weapons and side activities, the other pillars of its gameplay. Some of the usual side activities, such as insurance fraud and mayhem, appear to be present. It appears to be a giant gasket for blowing off steam — not that anything is wrong (or different) about that.


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Back to the Saints

One small misgiving I’ve had is that it feels like Saints Row might be swinging too hard back in the direction of familiarity. I know, I know — one of the primary complaints following the reveal was that the game might be too different than the previous games. But, speaking only for myself, that complaint was based in attitude, a desire for the new Saints to have the same slightly-sociopathic IDGAF tone as the previous iteration. And it seems like they do, from the footage I’ve seen so far. This new complaint is based more in risk.

The new Saints echo the previous ones on a 1-to-1 level, almost eerily so. Neenah’s short temper and aggressiveness seem very similar to Shaundi (which is funny because that’s not how Shaundi was originally); Kevin appears like a slightly more empty-headed Gat; and Eli’s tech smarts and lack of street smarts makes him a combination of Kinzie and Pierce. I will wait until I play the game to pass judgement, but to be clear: I want new, different Saints. The new kids’ plan of becoming criminal kingpins because they can’t think of a legitimate way to pay off their student loans is such a glorious new take on the Saints’ signature brand of satire that I want Volition to lean into it.

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