Saints Row (PS5): Great Reboot or Must See Boot?

Saints Row is a pretty well-known franchise that at one point in time was comparable to Grand Theft Auto. After years of dropping sequential titles, the franchise died off after mixed reviews on their 2013 title Saints Row IV. The game wasn’t received very well and led to the end of the franchise until 2022. Deep Silver seemed to want to revitalize its once successful franchise, so let’s dive in and see just how well they actually did on their next gen reboot.

My hopes for this game were as big as this building… I was disappointed to say the least.

Introduction: Not The Same Game

Although the new Saints Row follows the overall agenda of taking a small time criminal to the top, this game truthfully does no justice to the original Saints game. The early 2000’s title was almost direct competition with Rockstar’s mega-hits, like Grand Theft Auto Vice City and San Andreas. With idealistically the same playstyles, the original game had more of an emphasis on the “started from the bottom” theory than the reboot does. Instead of starting out as a street thug trying to make a name for themselves, you start off as an already experienced mercenary and go on a ridiculous security mission to apprehend the world’s most deadly criminal. Needless to say you somehow succeed right away, and everything that is usually good about started a new open world shooter, is thrown out the window. You start off overpowered, over-skilled, and way too strong for the CPU characters even on a heightened difficulty setting.

As soon as you start the game, you’re already a complete killing machine and nothing can stand in your way. Boring!

By the time the original games got to Saints Row IV, the main character was as OP as the main character starts out in the new Saints Row reboot. So it took originally took four full-length games to get to the level of power your near-superhero-level character starts off in this game. Nothing about the beginning of the original game is taken into consideration in the new title, and it really puts a damper on wanting to play the game in all honesty. I’m not sure if it was to try and stay “modern” and keep up with today’s street-life or if they were simply trying to do something different, but the reboot is ridiculous in many aspects and in my most humble opinion, is worse than any and all of the original Saints Row games.

Story: Really, Really Bad

I’ll be honest, this is my first negative review of a game. While Saints Row is a decent franchise, I was hoping for more out of a reboot. It seems Deep Silver’s main goal was to take everything wrong with the direction the original Saints Row games went, turn up the crazy knob, and make it even more terrible. The ideology behind the game’s story is fine, a group of rag-tag criminals decide to leave their petty lives behind and start their own big-time gang type organization. This goal is far too easy to obtain, and the story progresses in such an outright unbelievable fashion, equipped with gang-related LARP-ing, impossible train heists, and even a murder circus game show.

There is an ungodly LARP-ing story line in this game, and I HATED every second of it.

The original games hit the nail on the head when I comes to taking a small-time thug through the ranks, eventually becoming the leader of the most notorious gang in the country. After two games, you can tell Deep Silver ran out of ideas, and started making the game’s story insane, adding elements like alien invasions and even the main character becoming the president. The Saints takeover and eventually run everything. The narrative is all but the same in the reboot, but this Saints Row seems to have focused more on the outrageous and less on the comeuppance of your criminal organization.

The characters you start the Saints organization with are all terrible. Their is Kevin, the shirtless DJ, Nina the lackluster daredevil car mechanic, and Eli, the goody-two-shoes intellectual behind the gang. All are funny in their own rights, mostly to poke fun at, but besides a comedic level they are boring, and outright unbelievable criminals, and not in a good way. The gangs you face off against in the game are equally bad, with one being a Latin-based group obsessed with big unrealistic vehicles, another that is basically a techno-inspired Mad Maxx crew, and the last being a billionaire’s personal army with ridiculous technology and power-hungry attitudes.

Your ENTIRELY lackluster crew.

As mentioned before, you start off so strong in the game that none of these gangs are an issue, and most of the time you have one or more allies with you making any combat too easy to enjoy. With all of this being said, the last point I would like to make is simple. The overall story of this reboot is terrible on all levels, and I truly wish I never wasted the few hours it took to breeze through it. There is no real feel of accomplishment through the entire story, and since your character is so overpowered, there is no real fun to be had in the “takeover” scenario of Saints Row.

Gameplay: Better than expected, but still not great.

The controls and mechanics of Saints Row are probably the best thing about the game. Its pretty easy to get down, as most controls are these days, and the mechanics of the game are pretty flawless. I did not encounter a single glitch, lag, or other obscurity during my playthrough, which is a big accomplishment for any video games in this day and age. The customization within the game for your character, vehicles, etc., are all very good overall, and leave plenty of room to make the game your own.

My goal was to make my character look as ridiculous as this game was.

Although this does not make the game any better to suffer through, it is a slight saving grace. At least while mustering the strength to endure the bad story, you do not have to worry about any technical issues making the game even harder to get through. On top of solid controls, mechanics, and customization, Saints provides a plethora of weapons and clothing, vehicles of all sorts, and even character skills and perks, providing some form of relief to an overall bad game.

Graphics and Sound: Is it 2015 again?

I get that Saints Row came out pretty long time ago, and the developers probably wanted to keep some form of nostalgia present for the old school players of the franchise, but overall the graphics for Saints Row seem extremely out of date. It seems like they just grabbed the same graphics from Saints IV, and added a cartoon filter to it. Honestly the graphics are so under-developed, I truthfully felt like I was playing a game from an entire generation ago. Saints Row took what elements they felt they need to reboot the original franchise, which in some cases work to bring back those memories, but overall I think they really missed the mark in the visuals department.

This poor graphics-quality picture is the best scene I could capture… and look how bad it is.

Most of the sound in Saints Row on the other hand is pretty on point. The sound effects of a vast array of weaponry are pretty good, the explosions and laser beams make really cool sci-fi sounds, and the voice acting in the game is decent as well. My only complaint about the sound in the game is the music selection. Despite the fact that they have a fairly diverse selection of tracks, the song choices are hit or miss in my opinion. There are some great classic songs in the game, but overall most of the music in the game just seems random, and put in the game literally just to be background noise while you’re driving. This was the first Saints Row game in the entire series that made me want to shut the radio off every time I entered a vehicle.

Replay Value: I Found None… At All

Even though I pretty much hated this title, I made sure to play Saints Row to completion. With that being said, most games I play have some form of solid replay value, but with this game, I found no urge to pick it back up. This game was just bad, and I can guarantee I won’t be spending any time on it ever again. If you enjoyed this title for some odd reason, feel free to let me know what form of replay value it has, because all-in-all, I found absolutely none whatsoever. I guess simply because it has trophies there must be some level of replay value, but its so bad I couldn’t suffer through the task of trying to Platinum trophy hunt this game. Unfortunately, I don’t think any amount of convincing could make me find a silver-lining here.

One of the mission to establish the “dominance” of your new gang is to chase people around that stole your mail. Literally.

Conclusion: Why Did This Even Happen?

My most humble opinion on the Saints Row reboot is if you’re into mindless shooters with easy difficulty and a story you won’t have any interest in, then this might be a title for you. As for the idea to reboot the series, I was generally excited when I heard about it, but inevitably ended up extremely disappointed in what might be the worse game I have played in the last decade. I was a big fan of the first two Saints Row games, and even played through the third and fourth when things got ridiculous and out of control. This reboot though does no justice to the original games whatsoever and have left me scratching my head at why Deep Silver would even let this game out of its beta stages. Overall, I give Saints Row of 4 our of 10 and that’s just me being nice because I liked some of the guns and the sound effects in game.

Probably the best thing about my experience with this game is the fact that I got it free via PlayStation Plus. I would have been pretty ticked if I spent $60 on this game when it came out, because its not worth even half of that. Honestly, if I knew what I know now, it would not have even made it into my downloads.

I “wanted” (see what I did there?) to end up like the cowboy on the Wanted app when I was about a quarter of the way done with this game.

Saints Row is an action-adventure game published by Deep Silver in 2022 for the PlayStation 4 and 5. It is a reboot of the original Saints Row series and serves as the fifth installment in the franchise.


  • Cool guns
  • Cool sounds


  • Bad story
  • Awful characters
  • Too easy
  • Ridiculous and unbelievable scenarios
  • Serves no justice to the original games

Saints Row

Below Average

Despite some excitement for a Saints Row redemption after the original games got out of control, I was utterly disappointed in an over-priced and ridiculous game. This reboot serves little to no justice to its roots, and I would not recommend it to anyone.

Zachary M. Cain
PS5 version reviewed.