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Saints Row

We've seen Saints Row in action and it has literally blown our minds

It still maintains its dark humour, but with a new and more attractive realistic approach.

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This May there has been a private presentation to get a closer look at what is expected to be one of the biggest games of the year. The reboot of the Saints Row saga has experienced a lot of changes and different mentalities. However, it still retains its crazy essence and particular sense of humour in an insane hail of bullets that I will try to explain to you in detail. New Saints, new life. This describes the new conception of the saga, where we have to lead a diverse gang of crooks (very charismatic, I must say) to forge a criminal empire out of nothing.

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Although that "nothing" doesn't quite fit with the huge, vast map of the city. Even though we only got to see one small part of the new region of Santo Ileso, it could easily be a fictional representation of the current Southwestern part of the United States. Many of the areas and quarters are actually drawn from real cities and country areas. For example, El Dorado looks pretty similar to the famous Strip in Las Vegas, although the developers confirmed that it's based on the city of Reno, also known for its numerous casinos. The art design is also more realistic and less cartoonish than in the previous titles.

The setting will also welcome the unique interactions between our character and the NPC inhabitants of Santo Ileso. During the presentation we could see how our main character approached a band of musicians and suddenly started playing the guitar and everybody started dancing with him. We still don't know if there will be a lot of interactions of this kind, but I think this is definitely a way to make the open world work and attract players.

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This realistic approach can also be seen in the outstanding facial animations of the characters during the cinematics. I found this very surprising, and it highlights the new roadmap of this franchise. Besides, we will once again have the chance to create our own Saints boss. In fact, there are so many choices and varieties of customisation that we were kind of overwhelmed. Luckily, during the Q&A the developers admitted that this could drive the players crazy, and they revealed that at the beginning we will get to choose between eight different archetypes to customise (or not) our avatar.

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Another major pillar that comes with this new Saints Row is the rework of the vehicle driving and movement system. You could tell that they borrowed some things from their closest competitor, GTA V, like the movement in the open world. They also introduced certain ways to move around without a vehicle by implementing wingsuits, just like Rico Rodríguez in Just Cause. The driving is much more fluid, and the scenarios are perfectly adapted to make the craziest tricks. Likewise, the vehicle workshop offers so many choices that I can assure you that there won't be two players with the same vehicle in the whole map. You that you won't run short on variety. We don't know the exact number of vehicles in the game, but we have seen tons of them, including a hoverboard similar to the one of Marty Mcfly in Back to the Future 2.

But Saints Row was never about driving, nor about the beautiful scenery. We play to blast waves of enemies with any weapon we can. Last time I played this series it was Saints Row the Third Remastered, and I must say that switching between weapons within your inventory was kind of annoying, and definitely not comfortable. And here we find another similarity with the giant of Rockstar, as the new wheel of weapons is pretty much the same as in GTA V. If the controls are similar to this title, I can say I will spend most of my time shooting stuff. Besides, the variety of weapons is no joke when it comes to customisation. In addition to the classic pistols, sub-machine guns and bazookas, there are plenty of other items to "exploit" your chances in the missions, like a piñata launcher that turns enemies into confetti when it explodes or a rocket launcher in a guitar case (Robert Rodríguez's Mariachi would be proud).

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Saints Row

In the last part of the presentation, they advanced some details about the multiplayer mode and story missions. The two-player co-op looked pretty fun. One of the characters was driving while the other got in position to aim and shoot their enemies during a car chase. The kind of missions we got to see in the presentation ranged from the typical "enter an area and eliminate all the enemies" to the "rescue a colleague who has been kidnapped by the rival gang". We could also see the new Saints base, decorated with cosmetics that you will collect from different parts of the map, and where we can interact with the other members of the gang. It also seems that the missions with these members will deepen in their story, but they confirmed that there won't be alternative endings.

All being said, after the presentation there is only one question left: how will the game feel like when we really get to play? We won't have to wait long, since this new Saints Row is expected to release on August 23 for Xbox, PlayStation and PC. I don't know if it's the new features or the great variety of personalisation, but I'm really looking forward to giving it a try as soon as possible.

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