A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While there's a focus on friendship among main characters -- as well as underlying message of detriments of unchecked capitalism -- any positive themes are drowned out by all the chaos and violence.
Positive Role Models
Though there's a consistent sense of camaraderie within the main group of characters, they all are prone to solving their problems through senseless, aggressive acts of violence and other crimes.
Many core characters are diverse and represent different backgrounds, and the game's setting allows for many small cultural touches and nuances. Subtle LGBTQ+ representation.
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Ease of Play
For the most part, gameplay is seamless when it comes to moving, shooting, and causing all sorts of trouble around town. But there's always the possibility of encountering a glitch or bug that interferes with a player's experience from time to time.
Violence & Scariness
Though done in an over-the-top manner, the violence is constant. Instead of gore, there are plenty of executions players can use against enemies that involve shooting people in the stomach or point-blank in the face, even using a knife to viciously stab and kill people. Players engage in many shoot-outs where blood is shed. Enemies may occasionally flee if a gunfight isn't going in their favor.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bulk of game doesn't contain any nudity, but players, when creating their own character or changing their outfits, can opt to go topless, which has censored (pixelated) and uncensored options. Players can also choose to run around completely naked; everything below the waist is pixelated no matter what, but it's still easily accessible for players. Characters throughout make occasional allusions to their romantic pasts.
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Profanity is featured quite heavily throughout, including "damn," "ass," "bitch," "s--t," and especially "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Many songs in the game are by actual musicians, which can inspire players to track down certain artists and purchase some of their songs or albums. The game is a reboot of the popular Saints Row franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters will often celebrate with an alcoholic drink. Many missions involve taking (or stealing) drugs from one location to another. There's a healthy amount of dialogue shared between characters recalling times when they did reckless actions while intoxicated or under the influence of recreational drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Saints Row is a single-player/co-op third-person shooter available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Google Stadia. This is a reboot of the popular Saints Row franchise. Players will cause chaos in the fictional city of Santo Ileso, building a criminal empire from its very beginnings and taking down any rival gangs that dare get in their way. The road to coming out on top is paved with plenty of violence: The game features many shoot-outs between gangs, as well as grisly takedowns where players execute their rivals in absurd but brutal ways -- including point-blank shots to the face or stomach, even gruesome knife-based killings. When creating a character (or even changing a character's clothes), players have the option to be fully nude -- with a topless uncensored and censored (pixelated) option and a lower-half censored option (that's always pixelated no matter what). Many of the game's missions will have players willingly transporting drugs and other illicit materials, as well as stealing from or even outright killing people for the personal gain of the group. Profanity is featured prominently, including "damn," "ass," "bitch," "s--t," and especially "f--k." All that being said, the game features a very diverse cast of characters -- including a character who's proudly bisexual -- and although it's set in a fictional city, the area contains many cultural touches and nuances. Even considering the game's anti-capitalism sensibilities, any positive takeaway may go over the heads of many players in the midst of all the chaos and violence emphasized within.
Is It Any Good?
One of the hardest things for any longstanding franchise that tries to make a comeback after a break is recapturing the magic that made people fall in love with it in the first place. Saints Row tactfully toes the line between the grounded grit of the first two games in the franchise and the wild insanity of the third and fourth games. One of the best parts of this reboot is its focus on the characters and their relationships. Certain missions have players learning more about their friends, their hobbies, and their likes and dislikes -- adding some needed personality and breaking up the monotony of the typical "go here and shoot these people" structure of these sorts of games. Additionally, it's refreshing that the game has something to say about consumerism and capitalism in its own fun, satirical way. Without spoiling too much, it provides a release to a product-obsessed world that sees working-class people as tools for larger corporations and individuals with money and power. Both the story and the characters do exactly what they need to keep players interested and engaged from start to finish.
Of course, Saints Row wouldn't be Saints Row without its trademark humor and zany weapons. Most of the dialogue, from conversations between characters to background lines from random pedestrians, will have players laughing. On top of the main story, there's also the control that players have over placing businesses and hustles around the city, slowly spreading their influence by completing entertaining side missions and activities that offer unique benefits such as cars, clothes, weapons, and other goodies. If Saints Row has one flaw that holds it back, it's the glitches and bugs that may arise. From missing lines of dialogue, to characters popping in and out of existence, to needing to restart a mission as a result of an objective refusing to clear, Saints Row isn't without its technical faults. But when you pull the curtain back on the experience as a whole, especially as a worthy Saints Row experience, this reboot has everything a fan of the series could want from a new entry, creating something that's both familiar, yet fresh and inventive.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.