At TheXboxHub, it feels like every time we are about to mention 2022’s Saints Row, we have to issue an advance warning. We are big fans of the rebooted open-world; accepting of its flaws but able to overlook them as it delivered a ton of fun. For us at least, the arrival of The Heist & The Hazardous DLC has the chance to offer more to a game we were already enjoying.
But there are only so many times we can defend this game against the more vocal detractors. And in the case of The Heist & The Hazardous DLC, there is almost nothing positive to hang our hat on.
The DLC coincides with a major free update to Saints Row that includes a new area of the map with activities for all players and a massive overhaul of the combat system. We’ll cover both in this review for reasons that will become apparent.
This new update brings with it an entirely new area called Sunshine Springs. Found to the south-east corner of the map, its another bright addition that feels like a resort area in the surrounding desert. It also matters how you travel to this new destination. By following the dirt tracks you will have the most fool-proof method of getting there; by air you can still hit an out-of-bounds area if you are not careful. Once there though, take a picture of the Sunshine Springs sign over the main road for your fast travel point.
In Sunshine Springs you will find many of the same activities from the main game: threats, photo opportunities, @tcha reviews and Riding Shotgun markers to name just a few. If you didn’t like them first time around though, there is nothing majorly new here to sway you otherwise.
Another major feature in this update is the massive overhaul to the combat. And, frustrating as it may be to someone who already unlocked every achievement pre-patch, the changes are still welcome. In essence, it is easier; enemies take fewer shots (particularly noted on minibosses) and their reaction times to calling in reinforcements is dramatically reduced. Perhaps you will enjoy those one-star @tcha reviews a little bit more now?
Sunshine Springs is also the location for the first DLC expansion: The Heist & The Hazardous. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 22(!) years, this is a not-so-subtle reference to The Fast & The Furious franchise. Expect more jibes in the DLC itself.
The DLC starts with a new mission stating there is a new contract found on the Wanted app. It starts automatically though, you don’t need to go into the app to select it. However, there is something about the person’s voice that set up the contract that you cannot figure out. It sounds familiar, but why? But with the bounty set at $1,000,000, who cares right?
It turns out that voice belongs to Chris Hardy, none other than the star of The Heist & the Hazardous franchise himself. After completing the contract, he invites you to his mansion to personally thank you and pay you. Not exactly the kosher way to complete a contract but that cool million is still in the forefront of your mind.
Only there is no million dollars; the only thing Chris Hardy has to offer is a signed headshot for you. As a result, the Saints are pissed, and decide to take action into their own hands.
The contract is the first mission in this DLC. With a plot to steal Hardy’s film memorabilia, stealing his identity is the second mission. Robbing him blind at the Sunshine Springs Hotel is the third mission. And that is also the final mission.
Those three missions will take less than an hour to complete. To try and increase the length of the DLC there is also a new helicopter to fly, new outfits and wingsuits, a new weapon and a fun, if superficial, new wingsuit event.
There are no two ways about it, it’s a disappointing turnout for the first Saints Row DLC, and sets a worrying tone for the rest of it. My suspicion is that the new area being given to all players was to soften the blow after Saints Row first released, rather than locking all of it behind the DLC. Again, maybe I am looking for excuses, but there really is no excusing this rather poor lack of content.
If you are a fan of the main missions in Saints Row, you will likely have fun with what is found in The Heist & The Hazardous. The final heist mission in particular follows the same vein of the more major missions in the base game and is fun. It isn’t Grand Theft Auto Online levels of heists with planning and multi-tiered missions, but it is a romp regardless. But it is over far too quickly. Hopefully the remaining premium DLC offerings in subsequent months can offer some more meaningful Saints Row content.