Out of all of the Saints Row games, it’s Saints Row: The Third that I have the fondest memories with – I even enjoyed the Nintendo Switch port, regardless of all the issues that it was plagued with at launch. Naturally then, I was excited to see that it was getting the full-blown remastered treatment on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, especially with all of the promised improvements it was due to receive.
Still, gamers have been stung by remasters in the past, so I was still a little sceptical about how good it would actually be. Well, after ploughing a ton of hours into the game, I’m happy to report that Saints Row: The Third Remastered is not only a hell of a lot of fun to play, but also one of the most impressive remastered releases that I’ve seen hit modern consoles.
Saints Row: The Third sees the Saints propelled into fame, with the gang now recognised by the public and proving to be cult icons. That doesn’t mean that they would have changed their ways though and to promote the release of an upcoming Saints Row movie, they rob a bank – typical, right? Of course, it all goes a bit wrong when they’re arrested and face off against the Syndicate, a powerful organisation that want to get rid of the Saints. This all leads to a showdown on the streets of Steelport, with the Saints having to battle the Syndicate threat in order to leave their own unique mark on the city.
The tale is humorous and full to the brim with silly moments, and it’s complimented further by the zany nature of Saints Row: The Third’s gameplay. Once again, you’re able to create a kooky custom character (and there are PLENTY of neat customisation options) and then lead them through a vast open-world, all whilst taking down a ton of enemies (or civilians if you like) and partaking in some absurd activities. It follows the same sort of setup as Grand Theft Auto, but with the zaniness notched up to the maximum.
One of the most delightful things about the game is the range of side activities you get to complete. A lot of these are pretty conventional in design, such as the Driving Stunts, the Base Jumping, the Assassinations, and the Drug Trafficking, but then there are also more sillier tasks to complete such as the Tiger Escort that sees you driving your tiger passenger to various locales as it tries to attack you (and embrace your inner Joe Exotic), the Insurance Fraud where you have to get yourself as beaten and bruised up as possible by throwing yourself into the path of incoming vehicles, and the infamous ‘Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax’ where you partake in a gameshow full of traps and enemies to take out. Yeah, there’s a whole lot of fun stuff to do in Steelport, which when combined with the set-pieces of the main story missions make for a very enjoyable time.
Of course, Saints Row: The Third is an older game with it launching on last-gen consoles back in 2011, so naturally a lot of the gameplay mechanics do feel dated. The shooting itself can be a little clunky and there’re no cover mechanics either, so it definitely feels a lot less fluid than more recently released third-person shooters. It never feels outright bad or anything, but you’ll certainly feel like you’re playing a last-gen game from a gameplay perspective.
You’re not going to see too many differences as far as the gameplay is concerned, but visually and performance-wise it’s hard not to be impressed by just how good of a job Sperasoft have done in revamping Saints Row: The Third. This isn’t just a quick upscaling with a fresh lick of paint, but a full-blown remastering that brings with it improved character and vehicle models, better environmental textures, and a brilliant lighting system that would easily make you think that the game was designed from the base up for modern consoles. Saints Row: The Third may have started life as an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game, but believe me, this impressive remastered edition DEFINITELY feels like it belongs in the current generation.
The performance is absolutely on point too, though it is locked at a 30fps limit which is a little disappointing. There is the option to uncap it if you like, but it never felt too consistent – I’d rather stick to a 30fps limit than see it constantly drop back and forth. Still, it’s certainly an improvement over the previous iterations of the game which could struggle in places as far as the performance was concerned.
It’s even more impressive when you consider that the world is more populated than ever before, with more cars speeding through the streets and more pedestrians wandering around for you to cause hell with. In fairness, it’s not like Steelport ever felt vacant in the past, but it’s so much more bustling now and it genuinely feels like you’re wandering the streets of a living and breathing city. Seriously, Sperasoft have just done a remarkable job with Saints Row: The Third Remastered and it does stand out as one of the most impressive remasters I’ve ever seen.
I went into Saints Row: The Third Remastered expecting just a clean lick of paint here and there, but I was left blown away by the effort that Sperasoft have made in revamping the game. Seriously, the visuals are vastly improved with all new models and textures put in place, the new lighting system brings the city of Steelport to life, whilst the steady performance ensures everything runs smoothly throughout.
Of course, that doesn’t fix some of the dated gameplay mechanics, but who cares? It’s still super enjoyable to partake in its frantic and over-the-top action and I had a lot of fun blasting through the game once more. Whether this is your first time with the Saints or you’re returning for another romp with the third entry in the series, Saints Row: The Third Remastered is an excellent remaster that definitely deserves gamers’ attention.
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC