This is a transcript excerpt covering the score awarded to Saints Row (2022) on the So Videogames podcast, episode 300: Kids In A Pit.
BRAD: All right, Carlos, over to you. I feel like we’re going to be getting into it now. Because as we mentioned earlier, that kind of groupthink… that kind of that herd mentality. That thing when one person says it and everybody follows. I feel like you were referring to Saints Row. Am I wrong?
CARLOS: You’re right.
BRAD: All right, Saints Row just came out recently, week or two ago. I haven’t checked it out. And full disclosure, review codes were very limited for this one, we did not get one, which to me says that the publishers are not too confident about this. That’s usually what happens when someone is sketchy about their game. So I was a little bit worried about it. But you jumped in. You paid cash money for this and I got to know, did you get your money’s worth?
CARLOS: 100%? Yeah, I mean, want to give this a review. I don’t know if we could do it this episode. But I could easily, because I paid cash money. Like you said, let’s preface this – I was in the mood for an open world game, I probably have mentioned on the show a lot.
CARLOS: Yep. So that’s already subjective, right? I want that kind of experience. Also, I’m like not as hard on bugs, and kind of like, you know, basic graphics if the gameplay is fun enough. So that’s kind of my preface. Also, I love GTA I love Open World. I love Saints Row. And I like old school Saints Row. So these are all kind of like, you know, before we get into it, yes, that’s where it comes from. That’s where I’m coming from. And I wanted that kind of game. So this delivers on that. I’ll get into some of the intricacies of why I like it so much.
Yes, there’s some bugs, they’ll patch them out there. Nothing huge. I have only had one crash, I had one crash. So that was real, but the other stuff is small. And you know, GTA openworld type bugs, stuff that happens. The graphics are like, okay, they’re not amazing. But they also don’t bother me. And they’re, you know, I’m a male character. And it looked like me because I wanted it to, and it wasn’t terrible.
So that all being said, I think that the biggest issue is… let’s just address the elephant in the room, which you mentioned, the groupthink is that this is the worst thing that’s ever been made. Okay, that is not the truth. Like, you know, one person, I’m not sure the first person who said it, was like, oh, it’s like a step back. You know, it’s an old school RPG. RPG, it’s an old school open world GTA type game. That’s just not good. And you know, other people were like, yeah, that is bad. Yeah, these bugs do exist and it’s not what I wanted out of it. You know, it’s not a jump forward. The real quick asterisk in the beginning is — and we say this on the show a lot – not every game has to jump forward. Right?
BRAD: That’s true.
CARLOS: That is true. We don’t need to like evolve the form the art form every single time. Yes, that’s true. That’s my first line of defense right? It’s not reinventing anything. It’s it’s doing more of what Saints Row was. Which is really fucking fun. That’s like my bottom line review. This game is super fucking fun.
There’s so much to unpack. The first thing is like I said, a lot of people just piled on it, said it was you know, the graphics weren’t good enough there was bugs. But I beat the game. I’m guessing a ton of people that did the reviews didn’t finish the game. Right? Okay, they a lot of times, you know, they play for a little while, they’ll dunk on it, and they’ll leave the…. I actually played the whole fucking thing. And I’ll tell you the main reason I liked it is because I finished it.
But the actual gameplay itself third person, obviously openworld Saints Row GTA game. I don’t need to like explain that part of it. But so just kind of par for the course. Like where we’re starting from. Yeah, it’s like, and it’s also like, a game from the 90s. Like they are like almost doubling down on it being an old school Saints Row game. It’s all sort of reboot of the story. Right? So this is the beginning. And
Oh, yeah, I didn’t realize that they were kind of starting over. It’s…
It’s like you and your group of friends are like forming the saints. Which is like our true reboot.
BRAD: Now question, We did this already, right? Like in the very first Saints Row game? Isn’t that where they started? Are we supposed to assume that the other four Saints Row games don’t exist in this time?
CARLOS: Yeah, this is like a true like timeline reboot. You and your friends who you made in a character creator, but which, by the way, is super robust. You can do anything you could think about talking about accessibility options. Yeah, I mean, gender neutral, or whatever you want to be like, You are literally, if you can think it, you can make a character. Even like someone made Shrek, you know, like, you could try to make a monster. So it’s basically that reboot. And I will say this, and people are not going to believe this. But it reminded me of Final Fantasy 15 Where I liked that game for its camaraderie with you and like the dudes. But not just because you were bros. But because you went through like, some shit in that game. I know, we’ve talked about it, but there’s some really bad stuff that happened some of the characters in that game. Yeah, yeah. And there’s some bonding that’s really takes place that I experienced. And that’s what happens in this game. People are like, you know, talking about, like, their dialogue being corny and stuff. And yeah, some of it is pretty damn corny. But a lot of it’s real, like the beginning of the game, it talks about working at a job that you’re not appreciated at, right. People who know me in my life, and then, you know, they’re like, worried about student loans, and they are all together in a cheap, you know, crappy place. And they’re, you know, talking about like, what they’re going to eat it. There’s corny lines, yes. But the actual reality of it is relatable. Like, it’s super fucking relatable.
I’m playing this with a buddy of mine. He’s also playing it. Ray. And we were like, there’s so many parallels in our life. You know, they kind of joke about capitalism. They joke about Amazon, they joke about, you know, all this stuff that we know that in this in this world, that frustrates us. And they stick that in this game. In a surprisingly like, well done way.
The other thing is, by the way, it was funny, they mentioned student loans, because recently, the whole student loans thing, right. And so then, yeah, it’s over the top. The thing is, they mix like real world stuff, and friends bonding over, hey, you’re also a guy who like goes and kills a ton of people. You know, I mean, and you have to, like, understand that, that’s the world you’re in, which is like, half of the time. It’s like a video game. And the other time, it’s kind of like you’re you in this world, building a friendship with the friends.
And I built by the way, my character to look just like me. So I kind of like, you know, what is it called? escapism, jumped into this world and was like, Hey, I’m home alone. I’m kind of sad. In my real world. Now I have friends, and we’re all bonding together. And all the side missions that everybody’s kind of complaining about, their ton of them are really, really memorable. And you really do bond with these characters. One of them that is going around the internet everywhere, is one of the nerdy guys, you and him do LARPing together. Okay, and you like have cardboard, like costumes that are armor, and you do like, you know, fights and stuff. It’s still like the shooting mechanic. But it’s like, you know, non lethal. And so when you like are fighting people, they’re like, Oh, you got me, and they fall down and do like, LARPing. That’s super fun.
And there’s a whole quest line there where like, you know, defending your castle and stuff. So I think what’s being missed is two things. One, it’s a super fun game that isn’t trying to be something new to I don’t know why people aren’t talking about the story more, because I think that if you just like let yourself go into those characters, and like really have fun on those side missions. They really are a bonding thing that happens. And because I finished it, I had kind of like, I don’t say tearful moment, but a pretty cool moment at the end. And it’s artistically done. Well, like all the fight scenes and stuff like that. And on all of the main mission, you know, what do they call like? action moments, what are they called?
BRAD: Like setpieces?
CARLOS: Yeah, setpieces.
Done perfectly. Like it’s just like, wow, that was like… these developers really spent time on how these set pieces were going to come together. You know, like near the end. There’s like this huge scene by a sunset and it feels like a Western, you know? So I just can’t speak highly enough. Oh, this game. I think the review will land around eights or nines.
BRAD: I mean, let’s do it right now because you’re talking about it and you finished the game. There’s no reason to delay. So what is your official takeaway?
CARLOS: You can take, well let me… let me… I will talk more about it and say a pull quote because I’m not sure if I given you one yet, but I think it’s a straight up 8.5 It feels like the experience I had with what’s it called? Oh my goodness, come on the game I just gave an 8.5 to. The one I just reviewed.
BRAD: You did Stray and you did the Chinese one. Sword and Fairy.
CARLOS: Very, very good. So like, just like a Sword & Fairy 8.5 because it’s super fun. Yes, it’s not reinventing the wheel. So I guess that’s a con in a way. There’s a bunch of bugs. That kind of brings it down — sort of had a bunch of bugs. But overall a great experience. A really, really fun experience that is getting shit on for no reason other than groupthink, herd mentality and people on the bandwagon.
So Videogames Stray Official Score: 8.5/10
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform Reviewed: PS5
ESRB Rating: M – Blood, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence
Colorblind Modes: None
Subtitles: Subtitles can be resized and/or altered. See below.
Controls: The controls can be remapped.