Saints Row gets major update that overhauls pretty much everything including combat

Image for Saints Row gets major update that overhauls pretty much everything including combat
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Saints Row certainly has its fans, enough so that the once-dormant series recently got a full reboot. It didn't quite live up to expectations, and there was a slight sense that despite being delayed it had still maybe come in a little too hot. Perhaps that was the case, because the new patch is a whopper.

Arriving May 9, the patch promises a huge bunch of quality of life improvements, new features, and bug fixes. The update will add the new district of Sunshine Springs, a sprawling resort area, as well as a Selfie Mode, an emote wheel, major changes to combat, and changes to missions throughout the game. Notably, the game's development was shifted over to Gearbox Software post-launch so this really does feel like a bit of triage.

"We heard a lot of feedback about the amount of damage needed to down enemies," writes the developers, "and we agreed. Combatant health has been dramatically reduced.  This change, combined with several aim and engagement improvements, increases the pace of combat and reduces the ammo starvation."

The game's also changed how enemy dodges work, and adjusted the time players get to interrupt call-ins for reinforcements, which was apparently too short. There are "numerous" additional changes to combat, apparently, which Gearbox reckon means "combat feels much more satisfying and we can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on it."

The full list of combat changes is:

  • Drastically reduced the hit point values of all enemies.
  • Reduced the frequency of enemy dodges in melee combat to near 0.
  • Reduced the frequency of enemies avoiding player kicks to 0.
  • Increased the amount of time it takes for enemies to call for reinforcements.
  • Enemies arriving to combat situations will now arrive in slightly different locations to more frequently avoid collisions.
  • Enemies will no longer wait to engage the player 1 at a time in combat.
  • Enemy hit chance is now temporarily reduced when the player crouches.
  • Changed the crossbow weapon to use hit scan logic instead of behaving like a projectile weapon.
  • Slightly improved the sounds indicating “low ammo.”
  • Improved impact reactions associated with weapons typically viewed as “heavy.”
  • Added a visual element to the reticle on the HUD to indicate when a player successfully hits an enemy.
  • Removed “stand in place and panic” order from Panteros enemies who are on fire. – This better aligns them with the logic of using fire in their attacks.
  • Buffed low-level explosive skills to be more useful and fun throughout the game.
  • Removed damage immunity on enemy combatants when dodging.
  • Added fire damage resistance to all Panteros.
  • Added better logic to enemies attempting to make a call in for reinforcements to better keep them in the view of the player – and thus able to be interrupted. This should keep enemies from calling too often from cover.
  • Added logic to better clean up vehicles abandoned by fleeing pedestrians.
  • Weapon Signature Abilities will now automatically be applied when they are unlocked instead of requiring the player to go to Friendly Fire locations.
  • Reduced spread on player weapons and replaced it with more realistic recoil. This should better reward skill in compensation with reducing recoil.

That bunch alone would be a significant change to Saints Row, but this patch is also overhauling the HUD, adding a new tutorial to explain the weapon upgrade system, redoing the tutorial videos for other weapons, tweaking menus, formatting, mission icons, and mission order, adding clearer instructions for things like sub-missions, rebalancing the audio, changing how the map works, adding 'overcast' and 'cloudy' conditions to the weather system, adding a DLC menu, changing elements of the speech…

You know, it really feels like someone out there cares about this game, because this is surely way beyond what any Saints Row fan was expecting. It certainly suggests that the folk behind it know they didn't quite stick the landing at launch, and are determined to get this into a state where it's much better than acceptable. The full list of changes is mind-bogglingly long and detailed, and the update arrives on May 9.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."