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How to gain XP fast in Saints Row

Leveling up in Saints Row is crucial to your success. The first handful of missions only throw a few enemies your way, but by the end of the game, you’ll be facing off against hordes of opponents equipped with overpowered weapons. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to earn XP and quickly level your character — earning new skills and enhancing your stats along the way.

Here are the fastest ways to gain XP and level up in Saints Row.

Further reading

Follow the main story

A player viewing mission details using their smartphone in Saints Row.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The main story is, without a doubt, one of the best sources of XP in all of Santo Ileso. If you’re not running into trouble with your current slate of missions, it’s in your best interest to keep chugging along and knocking out every quest available to you. If one is a bit challenging, there are almost always a few alternatives you can undertake to help boost your level.

Ride Shotgun

The Riding Shotgun icon on the Saints Row map.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Just about everything you do in Saints Row grants you a bit of XP, but few are as lucrative as the Riding Shotgun side quests. These missions can be found throughout Santo Ileso (just look for the blue icon on your map) and grant you big XP boosts upon completion. Better yet, they task you with shooting down dozens of enemies — which gives you an additional source of XP.

Complete Challenges

Completing Challenges unlocks Perks (passive abilities) for your character and grants you XP. A list of available Challenges can be found by heading to the Missions app on your smartphone, then toggling over to the Challenges tab. Some of these will take a while to complete (so keep them in the back of your head while exploring), but others can be finished in just a few minutes. They also give you some hilarious goals to work toward and help show off everything available to you in Saints Row.

Relax with some Hidden Histories

Not in the mood for looting and shooting? Check your map for the Hidden Histories icon. These locations have you wandering around scenic viewpoints and interacting with various objects to earn XP as you learn about the history of Santo Ileso. They’re a nice change of pace from the usual over-the-top action and are a decent source of XP.

Upgrade your weapons

A player navigating the weapon upgrade menu at Friendly Fire.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This one doesn’t technically grant you XP but instead makes it easy to tackle high-level content. Since completing missions is a great source of XP, upgrading your weapons frequently means you’ll be able to complete your objectives in record time. It also makes it easy to mow down legions of enemies — which grants XP for every kill. In other words, upgraded weapons allow you to quickly complete tasks that reward you with XP.

Just play the game

The Boss shooting at police in Saints Row.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Saints Row is remarkably generous when it comes to XP handouts. Just about everything you do will grant you a bit of XP, whether that’s driving around recklessly and performing stunts or hunting down enemies and kicking them off your turf. Find an activity that you don’t mind repeating for an hour or so, and you’ll likely earn tons of XP along the way.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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