While the 2022 reboot of the Saints Row franchise feels like the perfect game to break what has been a summer-long dry streak for Triple-A new releases, the truth of the matter is that the open-world crime game has a lot of problems. While we’ll talk more about some of the game’s design, structure, and writing problems in future articles, you should first know a little more about some of the game’s various bugs, glitches, and technical problems.
While few modern video games are entirely free of technical problems, it does seem like more and more major new games are being released in a fundamentally unfinished state. There are various reasons why some of those games seem to suffer from more technical problems (many of which are understandable, if unfortunate), but when you get down to it, most gamers just want to have a better idea of what they’re about to get into before they pay full price for a new game.
That being the case, here’s a better look at some of Saints Row‘s more notable technical problems as well as a few words about whether or not the game’s technical issues are prevalent enough to land the game in the dreaded “broken” category.
Saints Row Suffers From Many, Many, Animation and Action Glitches
Most of the Saints Row games suffer from various animation bugs. For that matter, most open-world games of a certain size suffer from basic animation bugs. While I hate to cynically adopt an “it comes with the territory” attitude about the whole thing, there is some truth to that basic idea.
Having said that, Saints Row is filled with a hilarious number of animation bugs that can affect pretty much any main character or NPC in the game at any given time. “Hilarious” really is the right word to describe both the quantity and nature of those glitches. Here’s a slightly more extreme example of the kind of problems I’m talking about:
While this is going to be a theme throughout this article, it’s worth noting now that your mileage may vary in terms of how many animation bugs you encounter and how much they ruin your experience. While I ran into a fair number of relatively minor animation and action glitches during my time with the game (at least a couple during every playthrough), I generally found most of them to be more amusing/annoying than anything else. I think it’s fair to assume that you’ll encounter a fair number of these basic bugs as well and to base your expectations on that assumption.
Here’s a weird one. It seems that some Saints Row players have reported numerous instances of missing or incorrect text in the game. Here’s a pretty popular example of that problem:
I actually didn’t personally encounter this particular bug, and it’s obviously not a game-breaking problem by any means. Of course, some feel that problems like this are representative of the overall lack of polish that went into the final product. I’ll touch on that idea a little more in just a bit.
Various Cutscene Problems
Even though this is in the same ballpark as those aforementioned animation glitches, I have to say that I encountered this particular problem more than many others. As such, I’m giving it a special section to call its own.
Simply put, Saints Row’s cutscenes often suffer from animation problems and other bizarre occurrences that can often cause strange things to happen while they’re playing out. Here’s one of the most popular examples of that kind of bug:
While this obviously isn’t the biggest technical problem you could possibly run into in a modern game, this particular presentation glitch does seem to be more common than some of the others. This issue also extends to other non-interactive or limited-interactivity sections (such as when you’re waiting for an NPC to finish their dialog sequence). All things considered, it’s more than fair to say that Saints Row has some notable presentation problems.
Saints Row’s Controls Will Sometimes Freeze
The earliest versions of Saints Row (pre-release review versions) seem to have suffered from a bug that would prevent you from doing pretty much anything. It’s not clear what actually triggered that bug (if it was triggered by anything at all), but I can tell you that I did personally encounter this one a couple of times during my own playthrough. At least one other critic wasn’t able to finish the game in time because of this problem.
Now, the good news is that this game-breaking bug doesn’t seem to be that common. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve heard of anyone encountering this problem in the retail version of the game, and that’s before the day one patch was even released. As such, I’m willing to put a little faith into the idea that this problem has been resolved or wasn’t even that common to begin with. Still, this is one to know about.
Saints Row’s Aiming System Is Generally Kind of a Mess
This is, by far, the biggest bug/glitch I ran into in Saints Row in terms of both the number of times I encountered this problem and how it impacted my overall experience. In fact, this might be more of a design problem than anything else.
Simply put, there were many times in Saints Row when my character’s aim was clearly not working as intended. It wasn’t even uncommon for me to miss enemies at point-blank ranges. Furthermore, there were numerous times when I just couldn’t seem to aim my weapon anywhere close to where I was trying to aim it. That might actually be a problem with the game’s auto-lock system, but it’s worth noting that I’ve heard numerous players report similar issues with the game’s gun combat.
One way or another, this problem needs to be fixed. The aiming in this game just feels terrible at the moment, and that obviously makes it difficult to properly experience much of what should be some of the game’s most noteworthy activities
Various Mission Progress Bugs
This is kind of a broad topic, but I personally encountered a fairly large number of mission progression bugs during my time with Saints Row.
In this instance, those bugs included everything from NPCs that would get stuck in the world and prevent me from completing a mission to “mission fail states” that were seemingly triggered out of the blue. We were warned that some of those problems were on the devs’ radars as “known issues,” and it does seem like some of those known issues have already been addressed. Just to be on the safe side, though, it’s best to assume that you will have to restart the occasional mission in this game due to one kind of bug or another.
Crashes, Freezing, and Lost Connections
Finally, Saints Row players have reported numerous instances of the game freezing, crashing, or losing its online connection in a way that obviously prevents them from playing the game.
For what it’s worth, I did not encounter many full crashes during my time with the game, and it does seem like the scope of this particular problem is relatively limited. At the moment, it feels like this is just “one of those things” that is going to happen in most games from time to time. It’s worth keeping an eye on whether or not subsequent updates address these issues, though.
How Bad Are Saints Row’s Bugs and Glitches?
The question of whether or not Saints Row suffers from an unforgivable number of bugs and glitches really does come down to your personal tolerance level. Obviously, it would be nice if this game (and others like it) had few to no glitches. Realistically, though, you kind of have to accept that these problems are going to pop up in a lot of modern games from time to time.
What I can tell you is that Saints Row isn’t another Cyberpunk 2077 or GTA Remaster situation. You will most likely encounter a notable number of bugs and glitches in this game, but many of them will be visual bugs that impact the presentation more than anything else. Granted, those glitches are still incredibly annoying and remind us this game probably would have benefited from more polishing time (even if it was delayed at least once for that very reason).
For whatever it’s worth to you, though, this game is closer to “incredibly unpolished” than “fundamentally broken.” I honestly think the game’s technical problems are being slightly exaggerated at the moment (though I know some players have encountered far more problems than others).
The game’s aiming issues and mission progress bugs are the biggest technical problem I’ve encountered and heard about at the time of this writing. I strongly suspect those issues are the result of a brutal combination of glitches and design issues. While the former contributor can be resolved via patches, I’m worried that the latter contributor may only be resolved through setting tweaks, patience, and practice. Since that might be closer to a gameplay issue, though, I’ll save the deeper discussion of that problem for another day when we take a deeper look at the game itself.