Saints Row The Third: Remastered
Developer: DS Volition, Sperasoft Inc.
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: Action, Adventure, Shooter
Platform: Xbox One & PS4
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 22/05/20
Price: – £32.99
A code was kindly provided for review purposes.
The Saints are back
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know of the Saints Row series. If not, in Saints Row The Third, the Saints have evolved from street gang into celebrities, their rule threatened by the criminals who roam the city of Steelport. The gameplay is crude, crazy and downright insane in this world of weapons, sex and drugs.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say Saints Row The Third was a highlight of my Xbox 360 days. Playing it at an age I shouldn’t have, I was shocked but amused by its rude antics and bizarre missions (such as the purple baseball bat in the shape of a, uh, phallic object). It was one of my first open-world games, so naturally, I was excited for a remaster, as it has been a long time since I played it and my memory was fuzzy.
Myself and TmXGhost took separate approaches to this game, one on co-op and one revisiting single player. Find out what we both thought in our review with the major question: was this nostalgic classic in need of a remaster? Let’s take a look.
Rude, lewd and downright crude
Though Saints Row is comparable to GTA with its open world city and mature themes, it really is quite different with its satirical and off the wall nature. One moment you’re acting in a sci-fi movie which turns out to be a little too real, the next you’re driving with a tiger in your back seat trying to keep it calm while escaping from hunters. For a new player, you never know what’s going to happen next, and for someone who hasn’t played in years, it’s fun to see some memories flooding back.
Admittedly, it can get to the point where you’re thinking ‘this is so dumb’ but you’re laughing about it at the same time, because it’s so fun. However, it’s important to realise that this isn’t a serious game and is very, very weird, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I mean, some of the activities involve throwing yourself into cars to claim money, and you can take off your outfit to be completely starkers (blurred out of course), which makes for hilarious cutscenes. It’s silly and perhaps immature, but outrageous fun.
The characters are just as insane but superbly voice acted, bringing the foul mouthed yet charismatic gang members to life. I found myself laughing aloud at their conversations and enjoying their company as we take on tanks with rocket launchers. Your main character is so involved in both game play and the cutscenes with their dialogue, that you really do feel part of the team.
With how crazy this game is, it’s perfect for playing with a friend. I played with my boyfriend, who I haven’t seen in a few months due to lockdown, so it was great to experience this game together! It was fun, when the game worked. Which it often didn’t.
There would be the same little glitches that would occur often, but weren’t too detrimental to gameplay. Our characters wouldn’t be rendered properly to each other, missing our eyes strangely enough. Sometimes the car we’d be driving would be invisible for a moment. The animation of jumping into cars was clunky and it often wouldn’t work at all, glitching you out of the car.
Unfortunately, there would then be huge issues which swiftly turned our fun into frustration. Crashing, objectives in missions glitching such as a person to kill not spawning, companions not following you into vehicles when you fail the mission for abandoning them. The worst thing about this was that you’d have to fail the mission on purpose to restart it, and if you couldn’t, you would have to restart the game as there’s no option to quit missions (unless your partner disconnects).
One day when playing alone it became so bad that I’d be falling through the map, my car freezing and turning invisible every thirty seconds of driving, and my sound would disappear. An Xbox restart and a check of my hard drive fixed this. But regardless whether this incident was a fault of the game or my Xbox, there were still too many glitches for it to be played comfortably. I just don’t expect this from a remastered game, to the point where I enjoyed it less than the original.
If any of this is patched out with release, it will greatly improve my opinion of the game, as it is my biggest gripe and left it unplayable at times. This is alongside the connection errors that naturally come with online, which you won’t get playing single player. But things are still so buggy in my experience, that it was hard to believe I was playing a remaster, particularly as the graphics aren’t exactly mindblowing. Yes, they look better and there’s a difference when viewing side by side, with nicer lighting and colours. But it just didn’t have that wow factor I expected.
Besides my bad experience with performance, I did enjoy how the soundtrack matched the mix match of missions be including a variety of genres. Screeching round the streets of Steelport listening to 80s hits like “You’re the Best” one moment, you’re jumping from a helicopter into a rooftop pool to Kanye’s “Power”, one of my personal favourite missions.
There are a variety of aspects in the game to keep the action going for longer. Buy properties to keep that cash flowing into your account, and work to get the Saints controlling every place in the city. Upgrade your weapons and abilities, or replay missions to get those rare achievements. There are also a wide variety of activities to complete, so there really is quite a lot to do! Why not collect all the sex dolls scattered around the map, or see how much vehicle damage you can do in a limited time?
Overall, the core gameplay holds up well; wacky, fun, crude, all things that make Saints Row unique and were great to return to. However, with the amount of glitches and bugs, and the not overly impressive graphics, maybe it was better left in the past as something nostalgic. Hopefully these issues will be ironed out, but the question still remains whether a remaster was needed at all.
A Solo Player’s experience on PS4
The remastered version of Saints Row 3 promises so much in its promo video, with new lightning, visual effects and enhanced graphics, I mean it’s the SR3 we all loved, but in a more High-Definition format. Let the chaos begin.
If you’ve played any Saints Row game, by now you’re aware of the outlandish and quite violent, yet comical storyline, characters, weapons and more. Saints Row 3 was first released back in November 2011 and was pretty much favourable in its reviews; this game is about high octane fun and causing chaos, without feeling any remorse. I loved it back then.
The game is just as audacious as I remember it, diving straight into a bank robbery, swearing, shooting, insane cut scenes… this game delivers fun on a violent scale, there’s no denying it. It’s a huge nostalgia driven moment for me, seeing familiar faces and essentially playing like Rambo.
Considering the titled update to the graphics, I was kind of left feeling a little lacklustre when I launched in. I didn’t really see the big differences, or remember how bad they looked 9 years ago, I had to go back to the launch video and realise they do look a lot better and have obviously had a lot of time spent on them. Does this feeling stem from previous and current generation games already boasting high visuals, and now we just come to expect it?
Secondly there was some issues with crashing and glitching, but these seemed to have been fixed in a quick patch a few days ago. So props for that.
Better as a blast from the past?
My biggest problem with the game though, is just how bad the controls are. Navigating the menu and in-game phone was slow and felt like it was a few frames behind, so imagine how it is when you’re being driven (erratically) in a truck, shooting alien spacecraft out the sky and you’re struggling to even get on target! Yes, I did adjust the options for vertical and horizontal sensitivity quite a bit, but found I really needed to ratchet it up to about 70% to work for me. However, I can’t say I’ve had to adjust something so much in a 3rd person shooter. Maybe a little aim down sight assist would’ve been good idea for the remaster?
Otherwise, I can honestly say I enjoyed the game content for what it was. Pure unadulterated carnage! One of my favourite things is running down the street and performing takedown moves.
However, it seems that 2020 is the year for Remastered or Remade games (Modern Warfare 2, Command & Conquer, GODS, Mafia Trilogy, FF7, Resident Evil 2, Yakuza) and sometimes you wonder if it’s best just to leave them alone.
So 9 years on, did this title need the remaster? For us, not so much.