Games Inbox: Is Saints Row the worst game of 2022?

Saints Row screenshot

Saints Row: Is It Really That Bad? (photo: deep silver)

Monday’s letter page wonders why open world games haven’t gone out of style, while another reader questions Sonic Frontiers.

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buyer’s remorse
It’s my own fault for not canceling the pre-order, but as a huge fan of Saints Row in the past, I was looking forward to the reboot and I guess I just didn’t want to believe the bad press. Having played it over the course of the weekend (and already beating the story campaign), I have to admit that it deserves the low ratings. This game sucks.

For starters, it’s clearly not finished and has far more bugs than any of the other games. I expect YouTube to be filled with hilarious glitch videos in the next few days, but I can tell you I never laughed. The handling is just terrible, there is no weight at all and your cars are always basically invincible so who cares if you crash?

The missions also get very boring. There’s none of the fun scenarios that old games used to have, it just comes down to fighting a large group of goofy enemies. The worst thing though is the characters, which is something I was worried about anyway, but they are actually completely disgusting jerks. You can customize your main character, but you have no choice but to stick with these horrible hipsters throughout the game.

At least I’m glad I bought a physical copy, but I have a feeling it’s not going to cost much on the used market. For me, this is easily the worst game of 2022.

Day to remove the gag
Rockstar not letting people take GTA 6 is crazy, I had no idea that was something they did. Is there going to be a big ‘Can You Talk About It Now’ performance in a year or so?

Of course, it doesn’t stop anyone from talking about it outside of official Rockstar venues, but I agree that it implies the game isn’t coming out any time soon. If it was a year or so away, they would want people to start promoting it as much as possible, but it seems to me that we have a much longer wait than that.

As I always think, I don’t care how long a game lasts, the important thing is if it’s worth the wait. Although, of course, the longer you wait, the greater the expectation…

everything but the games
So is Sega copying and pasting the old level designs and calling them new in Sonic Frontiers? I never paid much attention to Sonic’s cycle before, but now I see him spinning in real time! First everyone thought the game looked promising, then they started adding more characters and now it looks like it’s going to be the usual disaster.

Okay, maybe not exactly a disaster, but clearly this isn’t going to be Sonic’s Breath Of The Wild moment, no matter how much they want to make the connection.

As someone who has fond memories of the originals, and who hasn’t cared much about new games in a long time, I like the perversity that everything about Sonic is really popular except the games. Maybe that’s the secret of his success, somehow.

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First day exceptions
After the recent letter in Magnumstache’s inbox about subscription services and triple-A vs. indie games, I’d like to ask what games people plan to buy at full price on launch day.

This year I only bought Elden Ring and Thymesia on launch day. For the rest of the year, I plan to buy Call Of Duty and The Callisto Protocol.

I’ve played and completed a lot of games this year (just in the last couple of months, Scarlet Nexus, Sifu, and Dying Light 2), but I buy most stuff cheaply on eBay, trade at CeX, or if it’s on sale at the store .

CG: Why are you already planning to buy games at full price when you don’t know if they are good or not? Especially if you tend to be much more cautious.

Losing control
I’m not surprised to see people so upset about the PlayStation 5 price increase. I already have mine, but I’d be furious if I’d been caught on this hike before Christmas. Especially since we are clearly paying for the United States to get by without change.

As an owner, I’m not exactly flipping right now either. I couldn’t care less about a Last Of Us remake and while I’m sure God Of War Ragnarök will be great, a little test of that assumption would be nice.

Whatever plan Sony thinks it’s following right now, I don’t think it’s a winner. It has always been said that no one wins a generation, someone loses it. I think that’s in danger of happening again, even if Sony had an early lead.

the last collectible
So a surprisingly good performance for Dead Island 2 in its new debut. He would have bet that would be another Saints Row-style disappointment, but it looked pretty good. At the same time, it immediately made me think of the reader who said that zombies now seem like something old and I agree. There was something really dated about the Dead Island 2 reveal, even though the graphics looked good and everything was pretty impressive.

It also made me think about how rare first-person shooters are nowadays. Halo and Call Of Duty are still moving forward, but they feel like the last remnants of a great empire. Every idea has its day, and you don’t want to be the last to follow the old trends.

It makes me wonder what could be next. Based on how long it’s been around, I would have said open world games, but like Hot Topic said, that’s not really a single type of game, it’s just a setting for whatever you want to do. That said, though, I’d say the Ubisoft-style open world game Collectathon is definitely past its sell-by date.

Elden Ring works in a completely different way and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 clearly does too. But just because they’re successful, I don’t think you can make your game open world and expect it to be successful. And that’s a pretty healthy and positive place to be if you ask me.
spring leaf

the original apocalypse
I finished Mad Max again on PlayStation 4 and really enjoyed it. Then I became aware of Rage 2 and it made me wonder, was this originally going to be a sequel to Mad Max?

Because that would have made a lot more sense than making a sequel to one of the most disappointing games ever made, Rage.

CG: The original was also heavily influenced by Mad Max. In fact, it’s hard to think of a sci-fi-themed post-apocalyptic game that doesn’t owe a debt to the movies.

get the boot
Pity about the Saints Row boot. Okay, there was a good chance it would end up being a turkey. But there really was no excuse for it, right? Saints Row 4 got a 7 out of 10 from you, didn’t it? Edge even generously gave it an 8! I also bowed more generously. It was a very fun game. But they didn’t keep up that momentum!

The ending of 4 hinted that time travel could be on the cards and he could be riding dinosaurs with Jane Austen! What fun that could have been! But then, that would have required a lot of ambition. And maybe Volition doesn’t have that? Or they were scared away by a small, but loud, contingent of fans who said ‘Oh, it’s too dumb now,’ even though that gave Saints Row its much-needed identity. If you’re going in the right direction, keep going in the right direction, you know what I mean?

Ah well, I saved some coins. I’ll echo what another reader says and wait for it to hit the PSN Free Games of the Month. Which I imagine could be pretty soon.

However, what about Soul Hackers 2? Could that be interesting?

CG: Our review copy was late, but we should have a review in a day or two.

Inbox also ran
30 years of Mario Kart is crazy to think about. Normally saying it’s the same game every time is a bad thing, but in this case it just goes to show how great that formula is. I can’t wait until the next one!

Do we really need a BioShock movie? Is he going to be super precise making sure the last 10 minutes are completely terrible? How are they going to make the big twist at the midpoint work? Would you be so kind as to tell me?

This week’s hot topic
This weekend’s inbox topic was suggested by reader Pinky, who asks what do you do when you’re stuck in a video game?

As technology has changed, so has the way people approach difficult games, whether it’s because they’re stuck on a puzzle, don’t know where to go, or simply because it’s just too hard. So what do you usually do? Looking for text-based help online, watching a video, asking a friend, or something else?

Do you still buy physical guides and if so is it mainly to help you play the game or more as a collector’s item?

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the fine print
New inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special hot topic inboxes on the weekends. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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MORE: Hot Topic of the Weekend: Your Favorite Open World Game

MORE: Gaming Inbox: PS5 Price Hike Anger, GoldenEye 007 25th Anniversary & RIP Oli Frey

MORE: Gaming Inbox: Xbox giving up on console exclusives, Saints Row bugs, and The Callisto Protocol success

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