Best video game romance option? Saints Row’s Kinzie Kensington.


With the recent release of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (which I have yet to play), my attention was brought back to one of my favorite video game franchises: Saints Row. In the most recent release, Kinzie Kensington is one of two playable characters; though she previously appeared as an NPC in both Saints Row: The Third & Saints Row: 4.

In Saints Row 4, the player can ‘romance’ a number of friendly NPCs on the Saints’ space ship. These scenes are are short and comical, and likely a spoof on Bioware’s romances, specifically those in the Mass Effect series. Amusingly, one of those joke romance options of Saints Row 4 actually ends up providing arguably the best romantic option in I’ve come across in a video game to date: Kinzie Kensington.

For reference, I captured relevant video from my save file and embedded it below:

Please forgive the poor quality. My computer is old.

I’m sure YouTube is filled with thousands of video of the Saints Row 4 romance scenes. Why then did I take the time to film this one? Because none of the videos I found showcased what happened when you immediately tried to romance Kinzie multiple times in a row. I’ll wrap back around to that.

Kinzie Kensington is actually a pretty awesome character. She is shown to be highly intelligent, funny, and assertive. Further, beyond just being skilled at engaging violent mayhem; Kinzie is a former FBI agent, a former White House Press Secretary, and an unparalleled hacker.

While you do have to save her from a rival gang at one point in Saints Row 3, she’s not really a damsel in distress type. In fact, Kinsey is the only reason any human beings survive in Saints Row 4. She manages to hack her way out of her virtual prison, and then frees the player. Without her, the player would be forever stuck in a hellish recreation of the 1950s… Beyond that, without her technical knowledge, the player would be unable to accomplish pretty much anything in Saints Row 4. She’s arguably more important to the story than the PC. That’s kinda awesome.

However, I still have two more points I want to bring up about Kinzie. First, she engages in romance on her terms. Check out the romance scene again. While hilarious, its also an amazing example of consensual romance. The first time around, the player asks if Kinzie wants to engage in a romantic activity. Kinzie provides an affirmative and the activity progresses. However, if the player tries to immediately engage the romance option again, Kinzie tells the player “You have to wait until I want it.” And that’s kinda awesome. Consent not given, romance does not progress, everyone moves on with their (virtual) lives.

The other awesome thing about Kinzie is that she’s not overly sexualized. She’s definitely sexual – you learn her safeword is teacup – but she’s not sexually objectified. Outside of her time as Press Secretary, Kinzie is wearing comfortable, practical clothing (like what is shown in the clip) and is very much in control of her sexuality.

To sum her up, Kinzie Kensington is smart, funny, competent, assertive, multi-talented, sexual-but-not-objectified woman who plays an important, active role in the game/story. While the romancing in Saints Row 4 is a joke, Kinzie is actually really representative of the sort of character who would be awesome as a (serious) romantic interest in a game. One that, upon reflection, is actually kinda rare.

But that is a story for another day.

The static image in this post was used without seeking permission. I believe its inclusion falls under fair use. If it is yours, and you feel its use is inappropriate; please contact me and let me know.

This entry was posted in Game Criticism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s