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Best Saints Row perks: How to unlock new perks, get more perk slots, and pick your perks

The best perks to pick for the early game in Saints Row

What are the best perks in Saints Row (2022)? Saints Row isn't technically an RPG, but there are some ways to customise your character's build. While skills in the game are unlocked linearly through levelling up, perks are far more variable. You earn perks by completing challenges and side missions. Generally speaking the bigger the task, the bigger the perk that comes as a reward; so completing some simple challenges while exploring Sant Ileso will net you a minor perk, while the side missions that unlock as you progress through the game are liable to net you a major or even an elite perk.

On this page, we'll take you through how to gain new perks in Saints Row, how to equip them, and going over our choice of the best perks for the early game.

Liam recently chatted to Alice about their favourite thing in Saints Row.

How to unlock perk slots in Saints Row

In Saints Row you have five perk slots, which can be equipped with a perk of the corresponding type. However, perk slots are locked by default, with the following requirements needed to unlock each one:

Perk Slot Cost
Minor Perk #1 N/A (Complete the tutorial)
Minor Perk #2 $10,000
Major Perk #1 $25,000
Major Perk #2 $100,000
Elite Perk $250,000

Your perk slots are managed from the Perks app on your character's phone. This is where you purchase new slots once you have the ready cash, as well as the location where you juggle your unlocked perks into entirely too few active slots to house all the good ones.

Frustratingly, you can only view unlocked perks once you have at least one slot of the appropriate type open to house them, so keeping track of your unlocks in the early game can be tricky.


How to gain new perks in Saints Row

In Saints Row, you unlock a new perk every time you complete a challenge. Challenges are tracked from the Missions tab on your character's phone, and require you to complete two or three gameplay feats linked around a theme.

The level of challenge can be fairly simple (for example, buying three different items of clothing), or more involved (such as completing three different criminal acts that will lead you all around the map).

No matter how easy or difficult, completing a challenge simply unlocks the next perk in line, and the name of the upcoming perk will always be displayed on the Perks app on your character's phone.


Saints Row best perks to unlock early on

In your first few hours with Saints Row, you'll mostly be working with minor perks. Luckily, there are quite a few good ones that you'll probably unlock with ease as you begin your exploration of Sant Ileso; and, since you can keep two minor perks equipped right up to the end of the game no matter what else you unlock in the meantime, it's worth developing a feel for which you like the best.

As anti-frustration features go, I strongly recommend trying out Loot Grab. Saints Row has an unfortunate tendency to dangle loot in front of you during missions, before dragging you into a cutscene that takes you a long way away and causes all said loot to despawn. If you find yourself getting annoyed by this, then Loot Grab is quite literally a game changer.

Of the other minor perks, your preference will likely depend on what type of reckless criminal you're choosing to roleplay. Close Call and Death Race are both excellent utilities if you find yourself pulling dumb stunts often, especially if (like me) you think close-up combat and absurdly reckless driving are a combo that can't be beat for sheer fun potential. In the Flow is absolutely great if you can't get enough of finisher combos, which do actually double as health regenerations, and therefore arguably this perk gives you a double dose of useful benefits.


Saints Row perk list

Below is a list of all the Saints Row perks we've encountered so far:

Perk Name Type Description
Close Call Minor The vehicle you're driving gains more boost time when you have a near miss.
Death Race Minor When you’re close to death, you can run a lot faster.
Fire Resistance Minor You stay in control while on fire and take less fire damage.
In the Flow Minor You never lose flow except when you perform a skill.
Loot Grab Minor You automatically pull nearby cash and ammo.
Sneak Attack Minor You do more damage when you attack enemies from behind.
Tactical Training Minor You move faster when crouching and when using fine aim.
Trampoline Minor You gain more altitude from a wingsuit bounce.
Full Contact Major Reduce the cooldown of your takedown when you kick an enemy then kill them.
Gunslinger Major Hip fire shooting is more accurate.
On the Down Low Major All actions generate less notoriety.

While you're on the lookout for Saints Row advice, why not check out our guide to the game's extensive character creator, as well as our guide to meeting up with your friends in Saints Row multiplayer?

About the Author

Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones

Guides Writer

Rebecca can usually be found working through her latest fiction-induced anguish by recreating all those lovely doomed characters in The Sims. She is known for being able to work Tomb Raider or Ace Attorney into any conversation, no matter how seemingly unrelated the topic. She also loves horror games and will play them at any opportunity, despite the fact that they make her so panicked she once threw her controller in a self-defence reflex. (The controller survived; Rebecca's dignity did not.)

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