SAINTS ROW
Edge|November 2021
No dildo bats, please, we’re millennials
Developer Volition

Publisher Deep Silver

Format PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series

Origin US

Release February 25

Let’s face it: a reboot was the only realistic option for Volition’s open-world series. At the end of the fourth game, your protagonist had expanded their criminal empire into space, effectively becoming ruler of the universe. And if that wasn’t quite far enough, expansion Gat Out Of Hell culminated in you defeating Satan, before giving you the option to either ascend to Heaven or become king of the underworld. “To me, the comparison is the James Bond film Moonraker,” principal writer Jeremy Bernstein explains. “It’s so extreme – it’s so far outside anything that’s even plausible – that it’s like, ‘Where can we possibly go from there?’ And you can’t. You’ve got to pull it back.”

Hence the lack of a number in the title. This isn’t, however, a reimagining of the first game, but an entirely new story – one that is nevertheless identifiably Saints Row, with that same mix of extreme violence and warmth, criminality and kindness. It’s “a chance to go back to our origins” according to chief creative officer Jim Boone – “that more contemporary crime angle that we love and that Saints Row is known for” – as we watch a monster truck ride over and flatten a succession of parked cars. It’s an oddly heartening moment: for once, we’re not looking at a self-consciously gritty reboot. While, as Bernstein puts it, “it’s hard not to be more grounded than Saints Row IV,” it’s also not a game that’s going to take itself too seriously. The return of the popular Insurance Fraud activity – in which you hurl yourself into traffic, racking up claims as your avatar ragdolls between vehicles – is surely testament to that.

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