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Saints Row beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

Here’s how to lead the Saints and conquer Santo Ileso

The Boss looks out on the city of Santo Ileso in Saints Row Image: Volition/Deep Silver via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Saints Row’s 2022 reboot takes you to the city of Santo Ileso, a small open world that’s filled with skyscrapers, run-down buildings, rival gangs, and deserts. This new Saints Row feels like it’s been ripped straight from the 2010s, but it does have some modern bits and bobs to add some complexity.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take you through eight key tips for becoming the best Boss you possibly can for your burgeoning Saints.

Focus on the campaign

Saints Row is a big sandbox game, and part of the fun is running around and doing stupid shit with ridiculous toys. But in order to get some of those ridiculous toys, you’ll need to unlock new tools, weapons, vehicles, and customization options for your gang.

These upgrades primarily come from progressing the game’s story, so delay your sandbox shenanigans for a few hours and push through some missions first.

Save your money

The Empire map for Santo Ileso in Saints Row Image: Volition/Deep Silver via Polygon

You’ll eventually be able to throw around a lot of cash in Saints Row to buy or upgrade cars and weapons. But you’ll be a bit strapped for cash when the game first starts out, and each individual mission or side hustle only gives you a couple of grand.

Save your cash as much as you can until you unlock the Empire system, which allows you to place Ventures all over the city. These Ventures passively rake in the cash for you, eventually allowing you to spend all the money you want on fancy duds or a supped up car.

Keep your game running while you sleep

Upgrades vary wildly in cost in Saints Row, from only a couple hundred dollars for an early gun to nearly $2 million for the late-game Ventures. So, if you want to have it all and live it up as the Boss of the Saints, you’re gonna need a lot of cheddar. Luckily, you can make cash effortlessly using the Venture system we mentioned in the tip above.

Passive money from Ventures deposits directly into your Cash Transfer app every few seconds, but only accrues when you’re in-game and not in a menu. If you have the means, you’ll benefit greatly from leaving your game running overnight, or when you can’t play. Then the next time you pick up the controller, you’ll have a full bank account waiting for you.

You can then take that cash and invest it into more Ventures, increasing your passive generation that much more.

Start working on car and weapon upgrades early

Every vehicle you drive and weapon you shoot comes with a little side quest which, once completed, will boost that item’s effectiveness. However, these quests can be very specific — like getting double kills on a certain enemy faction, or shooting out the wheels of specific cars — which makes them difficult to complete.

Try to memorize the quests for your current loadout and favorite vehicle early on, so you can work on them steadily as you play. The upgrades are almost always worth it (like unlimited boost on a car), so you want to unlock as many as possible during your playthrough.

Focus on your crew first

A banner announced an upgrade for the Saints in Saints Row Image: Volition/Deep Silver via Polygon

When you first establish the Saints, you’ll gain access to several missions to help improve your crew. However, one of these missions will be the “main” mission and have some unlock requirements. To unlock these missions, you’ll need to place more Ventures and then complete those Venture questlines.

Completing these main missions is how you upgrade your gang to the next level. A higher level gang can hold more money in their Cash Transfer app and place bigger and more expensive Ventures. Focus on these missions first to up your cash earning potential.

Grab the fast travel points all over the map

Shortly into Saints Row, you’ll unlock subway points in a few places around the map. Before continuing the campaign any further, drive to the nearest one. Take a picture of the area with your phone (if you look on the map, you’ll see a preview of the item it wants to you snap a photo of) and it’ll unlock the point for fast travel, allowing you to teleport there instantly for the rest of the game.

Unlock all of these fast travel points as soon as you discover them (you can follow our guide to quickly find them all), as it’ll really speed up your adventure and save you a lot of time as you go.

Keep an eye on your Challenges

The Boss checks their list of Challenges in Saints Row Image: Volition/Deep Silver via Polygon

As you progress through Saints Row and unlock new activities, you’ll unlock more and more Challenges (which you can view by tabbing over in your mission app). These Challenges ask you to do a variety of things, like buy specific items from stores or defeat enemies with specific weapons. Completing these challenges offers both XP and a small amount of cash.

But the real reason you want to complete these Challenges is to unlock new perks, which you can buy slots for and equip in the perk app. Perks unlock in a specific order each time you complete a Challenge, but they aren’t attached to specific Challenges. That means you can still get a big list of great perks by only focusing on the stuff you want to do.

Check the Challenge list out once and a while, as it’s always growing, so you can try to complete them passively while causing mayhem in Santo Ileso.

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