Chillin’ with the crows
I’m a fence sitter by nature, and when I heard a new Saints Row was in the works, I was all “well, we’ll wait and see.“
Now we’ve got a pre-rendered trailer, and a few glimpses of potential gameplay. My jury’s gonna stay out until I’ve actually played it, or some one I trust has. Still, as far as debuts go? Cautiously optimistic. More than that, tbh. Hopeful. I may be staying on my fence for now, but there’s some legitimate interest; I’m leaning forward, scrunching up my eyes all keen and intent-like.
The aesthetics work, though I’d like to see more of them, especially for the other gangs. And some more purple. Really curious to see if Neenah’s scorpion means she’s ex-competition, or just a personal flourish.
The true test comes down to two major things for me, and we don’t have enough of either yet to weigh them properly. While I’m reasonably confident Volition can deliver a competent gameplay loop (go to place, blow thing up, compete the objective/what have you all while feeling fun) the context is going to be what makes or breaks this as Saints Row for me. And by ‘context,’ I mean primarily two things: the character interactions, and the city.
The voice talent was good in the trailer, but we didn’t get too much beyond ‘amused competency’ for range most of the time and I’m really hoping there’ll be quality banter throughout the game. Layer in some history, in-jokes, real character moments, the sort of things that made my imagination take off with SR1, 2, & 3. The sort of stuff that got me writing backstories. We need a good script, in other words.
And yes, I know Stilwater was, is, will be, and remains a tough act to follow, but you gotta make this new place (Santa Ileso? what’s the story behind the name? I curious) live up to the legacy. The city is a character just as integral as all the Saints themselves will be - perhaps even more so. Stilwater is part of why 1 & 2 were so good while 3 & 4 felt lacking (apologies to Steeport, it’s not your fault they made you bland). We want rich locations, fun to explore; interesting, populated, and vibrant - not a backdrop to missions that has no draw in and of itself outside of them.
Give me those two things, V, and I’ll believe these new faces are Saints of Saints Row. Otherwise, it’s gonna take substantial effort - but you haven’t fucked it up yet. It looks like a lot of the little touches are there, now we’ve gotta wait to see the foundations.
I’ll be watching.