Volition’s Saint’s Row The Third released back in November 2011. The game received solid reviews at the time and currently scores around 84/100 on sites such as Metacritic . We scored it a very respectable 8.5 out of 10. Since then, the game received a ton of DLC extra content adding more vehicles and customization options. Fast fowards to 2020 and the question one has to ask with Saints Row The Third Remastered, is it worth playing all over again?
To answer this question one must look at what’s new here and whether that’s appealing. Essentially this is the same game as the 2011 release but with a lick of a current-day touch-up and with all the trimmings tossed-in.
The core game has you create a male or female “Saints” avatar using some fairly extensive customization options. The difference here is from the get-go a fair chunk of crazy DLC costumes present themselves before you’ve had much chance to dive into the game. Aside from the over-the-top intro sequence that is. Once your character’s finalised the game begins proper. Saints Row The Third Remastered (SR3R) places the Saints characters in the new city of Steelport. The characters exhibit celebrity status now (and why not after two previous games) but still possess a gang mentality. New gangs reside in Steelport and it’s your job as commander-in-chief to take over the city figuratively painting it purple.
This is where SR3R gets interesting because from the offset players have the entire map to explore but can either follow the story-path or simply wander around at random. Steelport comes complete with businesses to purchase, events to partake in and characters to unlock as helpful allies. Each successful action increases the Saint’s presence in Steelport. There’s frankly a lot to do whether that’s providing covering fire in a helicopter gunship, skirmishes with rival gangs, stealing vehicles to order or partaking in a violent gameshow (to name but a few). Customization is a big part of the game, so pimping your rides, gang members and avatar is an option at any time should you desire a new look. Variety is very much on-point in this game which brings us back to the question of is it worth replaying again. In this regard as with the original release you couldn’t replay main missions (of which there are 45+) , many of them are so-cool or “out there” that replaying again remains just as enthralling as the first time. So yes, returning to Saints Row The Third after all this time is good fun if you’ve not played the original in a while.
Steelport isn’t without its problems though and it’s interesting to see the same issues which plagued the original release still exist here. Namely, dodgy AI, random encounters that don’t make sense, getting stuck on the scenery during scripted moments. Still, players can easily ignore most of these sticking points and chalk-them-up to the wackiness of the game.
So what’s the biggest draw for SR3R and perhaps reason enough for some people to want to dive back in. Aside from all the gameplay variety (and adding more pedestrians and vehicles), the visuals have undergone not only a little touch-up but a major overhaul. Without going into technical jargon here, the game looks fantastic. Most impressive is the lighting which has improved tremendously giving the game a soft and clean sheen. More colourful, prominent shadow effects and things like street lights or car headlamps really improve the atmosphere no end. The day-and-night cycle present massive differences and then the wet weather and reflections bring the game into modern times. Cars and weapons have been upgraded and everything just looks more appealing. It’s a masterpiece of touches that retain the game’s artistic style without losing any of the original’s charm. Only negative here are some of the billboard textures look a little on the low side in comparison to everything else.
We’re playing on a high-end PC and during the busiest of moments where explosions are aplenty, the game maintains a solid 60 fps at 2160p. That’s using the game’s Ultra preset. SR3R affords plenty of options to tweak for those with lesser systems but our RTX 2080 Ti had plenty of headroom. Audio remains unchanged as far as we can tell with the blistering licensed soundtrack and excellent voice-overs from the main cast of characters.
Visuals aside, SR3R comes complete with the “Whored Mode” (a separate mode from the campaign), which is self-explanatory. But what is neat is the co-op campaign where players can either match-make or team-up with friends online. In this regard and with the rather lengthy number of hours it takes to “complete” the game means you get enough bang for your buck here.
We played the original Saints Row The Third to death when it released and found the game took us up to the upper echelons of gaming madness but still kept its toes in some warped reality. In this regard, the game is full of character and we love it. The remaster then makes an already cool game even better and for those who love visual elements will especially be pleased at Volition’s efforts here. If this is a first foray into the Saints Row universe then it’s a great start and comes highly recommended. Be warned though as sexual content features aplenty, implied or otherwise. Still, as an open-world sandbox game with tons of humour lots-to-do and a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you have a cracking game here well worth revisiting after all these years.
Score – 8.5/10