Saints Row

Posted:  Sep 10, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Cloud Saves

Review

Saints Row was provided by PLAION for review. Thank you!

I remember when I had my PSP, and I got my first taste of an open-world game in the palm of my hand. I played an obnoxious amount of GTA: Vice City Stories, and from it, my love for handheld gaming was born. I saw how powerful handhelds could be for video games, and I started dreaming and hoping for the day to bring AAA gaming into my hands. Now, with the Steam Deck, Saints Row gave me the same excited feeling I got from the good ol' PSP days.

Saints Row is a soft reboot for the crazy open-world franchise released last year as an Epic exclusive. Now that it's on Steam, I got to try it out, and honestly, it's a solid open-world game once you remove the Saints Row name. The humor that the series is known for has been toned down significantly, and a lot of that crazy has disappeared, which is a bummer, but there's still something to love here when you look past the series.

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The actual world of Santo Illeso is gorgeous and filled to the brim with wonderful sights and lots of character. It is enjoyable just to drive around and see what's out there. I also really enjoyed the gameplay. It feels like Saints Row the Third, which I loved, with some tweaks and additions to flesh out the combat more. The story is also passable, though I wasn't as invested in it as I would have liked.

On the other hand, Saints Row falls a bit flat in other areas. The skill and perk system feels a bit useless at times, even though the occasional ability can feel great when executed at the right moment. The side jobs sprinkled around Santo Illeso can feel repetitive over time, and the AI is a little static. This can make the game feel dated and boring at times, which isn't great for a large-scale experience like this.

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Saints Row is a decent game when you forget what it is rebooting, but it can fall flat with some of its systems and get boring after a while. Even with this, I still had a really good time with the game and enjoyed myself. It can be a drag if you compare it to other open-world games or the rest of the series, but looking at it as a standalone game, it is a fun time that, surprisingly, can be great on the Steam Deck.

Saints Row - Steam Deck Performance

With how open-world games tend to run on the Deck, I was surprised to see how well Saints Row can perform. It does have some hiccups that other similar games do, like going across the map too fast and causing dropped frames, but it doesn't happen that often. I also noticed a bit of object pop-in when traveling through the map, but this wasn't as bad with the recommended settings.

Other than these, I didn't find many other issues with the game's performance!

Recommended Settings

Through my playtime, I prioritized the visuals with a 30 FPS cap. With these settings, I got a great-looking game at native resolution, a nearly solid 30 FPS, and a TDP limit of 9 for a battery life of around 2.5 - 3 hours.

Battery Saver Build

From there, I wanted to see how much battery I could save. There are a lot of compromises to be made, but I could only get a TDP limit of 8 from a significantly lowered resolution and graphical options. This isn't a huge improvement, and I wouldn't recommend playing this way, but it does save a little bit more battery if you are trying to max out your time.

40 FPS Build

Finally, I wanted to see how much I could feasibly push framerate. My goal was to get a stable 40 FPS, but even on low settings without any TDP limit, I still found myself dropping frames when in bigger firefights or traveling across the map fast. Because of that, and the similar compromises to the battery saver build, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this either, but it can hit 40 in most situations.

Accessibility

Along with the display options, we do have some gameplay, audio, camera, and control options to configure the game further. There is also a full accessibility section, which has color blind, high contrast mode, and some special gameplay settings to turn off time limits or make quick time events automatically happen.

Saints Row does support 16:10 resolutions and has full cloud save and controller support.

Conclusion

Saints Row is a decent open-world game that falls short of the name it carries. While the world is beautiful and the core gameplay is fun, the side gigs, story, and skills/perks drag it down and make it feel like a dated experience. Even so, I still had a good time playing it, and I didn't have any regrets at all! I was surprised by how well it can run on the Steam Deck, given the type of game it is. If you are looking for a fun open-world game, and it's on sale, I can recommend this one; just don't go in expecting a Saints Row game.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Saints Row is a decent open-world game that gets good when you forget the series it's a part of. And it runs quite well on the Steam Deck!

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Community Rating

Let us know what level of playability you consider Saints Row to be. Help our community determine the viability of playing this game on Steam Deck!
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$29.99
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Other Builds
Battery Saver Build
SteamOS

Limit

30

Refresh Rate

60

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

8

Scaling Filter

FSR Sharpness 0

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Display Settings:

 

Display Mode: Fullscreen

Resolution: 960x600

FidelityFX Super Resolution 2: Off

Refresh Rate: 60HZ

VSync: Triple Buffered

Frame Rate Cap: 60HZ

 

Advanced Display Options:

Antialiasing: FXAA

Scene Detail: Low

Shadow Quality: Low

Water Quality: Low

Undergrowth: Adaptive

Post Processing: High

Depth of Field: Off

Effects Quality: Normal

Texture Cache Size: Low

Texture Filter Quality: Anisotropic 16x

General Reflections: Low

Planar Reflection: Normal

Screen Space Reflection: Low

Vehicle Shading: Low

Global Illumination Quality: Low

HBAO: Low

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

12W - 14W

67c - 72c

~3 hours

40 FPS Build
SteamOS

Limit

40

Refresh Rate

40

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

14

Scaling Filter

FSR Sharpness 0

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Display Settings:

 

Display Mode: Fullscreen

Resolution: 960x600

FidelityFX Super Resolution 2: Off

Refresh Rate: 60HZ

VSync: Triple Buffered

Frame Rate Cap: 60HZ

 

Advanced Display Options:

Antialiasing: FXAA

Scene Detail: Low

Shadow Quality: Low

Water Quality: Low

Undergrowth: Adaptive

Post Processing: High

Depth of Field: Off

Effects Quality: Normal

Texture Cache Size: Low

Texture Filter Quality: Anisotropic 16x

General Reflections: Low

Planar Reflection: Normal

Screen Space Reflection: Low

Vehicle Shading: Low

Global Illumination Quality: Low

HBAO: Low

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

16W - 22W

76c - 85c

~2 hours

related Settings

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