Saints Row reboot doesn’t understand its audience


The Saints Row the reboot is finally here, and unfortunately the overall reaction has been far from positive. Anticipation of Deep Silver Volition’s latest installment in the beloved Saints Row The candor was palpable as gamers eagerly awaited the return of the over-the-top action, humor, and settings of the open-world parody series. However, the 2022 release isn’t a throwback to the glory days. Extensive open-world design, some entertaining missions, and excellent character customization aside, Saints Row is about to be ignominiously called a flop.


The game has a plethora of issues that fans have grappled with, ranging from outdated visual designs to lifeless avatars and a general lack of refinement and polish. Once again the scourge of industry rears its ugly head as Saints Row is just the latest in a long line of releases to be criticized as unfinished. Lots of unnecessary glitches and technical issues make the gameplay a chore, but even the presence of annoying bugs is not the root cause of why the Saints Row the reboot doesn’t quite achieve the goal.

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Saints RowThe real problem with is that he just doesn’t understand his audience, or understands them a little too well. The original games gained popularity in the mid to late 2000s. In 2013, Saints Row IV was released – an explosive and frankly ridiculous entry in which Johnny Gat went to hell himself and the Earth came close to annihilation. The fourth game of the series was peak Saints Row– a loud and brash piece of pulp fiction designed as much to parody action movies and sandbox games as to indulge in their endlessly enjoyable tropes. Nuclear threats, alien invasions and mental simulations are all included in the proceedings, making the game so ridiculous and deranged that it’s hard not to be sucked into the spell of chaos that ensues.

It’s the foundation the franchise was built on, and it’s a tone and style that the reboot attempted to return to, but failed. The problem with the 2022 release is trying to appeal to established (and now slightly older) series fans while making itself marketable to a new audience that grew up not on Johnny Gat and the action movies of the 80s, but with TikTok, Reddit and Instagram influencers. The route the game takes – trying to please the game – ends up being its biggest flaw.

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The problem with trying to appeal to what we might call “the youth” is that, in addition to not being a monolithic or homogeneous social entity, they are adept at sniffing out when big corporations try to market things to them first. venue. The millennial sense of humor, now taken to ridiculous extremes by young Gen Z, is built on being subversive, surreal, and almost completely unique in its own right. Younger generations idolize abstraction, weirdness, and irony above practically everything else, making ironic icons of random cultural figures like Keanu Reeves, James May, and Larry David. Any attempt to determine why this is the case is, of course, inherently flawed, but that hasn’t stopped the Volition team from trying to distill this essence and market it to the generation that practically invented it. .

The result is far from satisfactory. The dialog in the Saints Row the reboot doesn’t come across as quirky or self-referential, but rather irritating, bland, and even somewhat delusional. The idea of ​​four young people making jokes about paying off student loans or trying to buy a new waffle maker might seem appropriate for young people, but the problem is that it’s far too easy to see the thought processes behind these selves. -called gags. The writers have clearly tried to include as many cultural buzzwords of their new characters as possible, but the attempt to be young and hip is completely transparent.

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The result is that unlikable characters behave in a way that neither younger nor older generations can relate to or, above all, care about. Saints Row originally worked because it parodied ridiculous action cliches and masculine archetypes without ever making its core cast so utterly objectionable that it was unsalvageable. This latter crew is too devoid of personality, their dialogue often filled with streams of expletives explicitly designed to appeal to the nebulous concept of “youth”. It’s a ploy that savvy and culturally savvy consumers can easily see through.

saints row, then, makes the classic mistake of trying to attract a new generation of fans by actively pursuing their target audience, a ploy that will only ever have the opposite effect. Throughout the history of pop culture, young audiences have always stood up against the cultural norms and memes established by their predecessors as a means of establishing their own common sense of self.

Ironically enough, the only thing younger generations currently love is seeing people ‘being themselves’, whether it’s getting mad at Dungeons & Dragons or get excited about vehicle maintenance. More importantly, young audiences make icons of their chosen subjects, rather than letting older generations tell them what to idolize and what to avoid. saints row is desperate to be loved and in doing so has made himself unlovable. `

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