Editor’s Note: This review is strictly covering the changes present in the remastered version of Saints Row: The Third. Read our review of the original game for a more complete evaluation.
Nearly a decade after its original release, Steelport gets a makeover with Saint’s Row: The Third Remastered. Boasting over 4,000 visual updates and all its previously released DLC, this is now the best way to experience Volition’s multi-million mega selling hit. Everything is here, from the over-the-top mayhem to the incredibly vulgar and juvenile jokes. But with virtually no new gameplay content added, paying the price of admission is entirely up to whether or not you miss these absurdly profane gangsters in purple.
Right when the title theme starts playing from the main menu, it brings back a comforting sense of nostalgia. The music hasn’t changed and, if you’ve played Saints Row: The Third in the past, you’ll notice the gameplay has generally remained unchanged as well. You can still customize your character to your heart’s content, you still call one of your homies whenever you want to advance the main story, and one of those homies is still a pimp with a gold microphone for a cane that also doubles as an electrolarynx. Everything is exactly as you remember it–except for the new visual details, of course.
Character models have seen a nice upgrade in an attempt to compete with today’s standards, and the city of Steelport itself looks pretty good overall. Tons of little changes to the city’s visuals have been made, but the most noticeable is the lighting. Steelport is now a vibrant city when the sun is out and is even more gorgeous when the sun is setting. It emits a sort of glow that makes joyriding around Steelport in your favorite sports car all the more visually pleasing.
At nighttime, neon lights contrast nicely against the darkness which, by the way, can get very, very dark. Whether it be dark corners indoors or the nighttime in general, the the game’s deep darks can sometimes make it a little too difficult to see what’s ahead of you. Even with its recommended brightness settings and HDR compatibility, getting shot at by a shadow in the distance wasn’t out of the ordinary, and the mini map was often the only source of pinpointing the enemy’s location.
Side note: Turn off “FPS Lock” in the game’s “Display” options to run the game at 60fps on Xbox One X, PS4 Pro, and PC. The cost of resolution is minor and the buttery smoothness makes a huge difference.
Thems the Breaks
Unfortunately, the game suffers from few noticeable technical hitches (at least on Xbox One). Some are minor, like sudden scenery pop-in or seeing random pedestrians climb on top of cars that start zooming down the road (which is admittedly hilarious at times). Some are major, like blatant environmental screen tearing or essential points not registering in an attempt to complete a side mission. And though major bugs are few and far between compared to the others, I did have to restart a couple missions because of them.
Thankfully, the Saints Row series was never about being graphically impressive. The joy has always come from defeating rival gangs, taking over a city, and blowing up a whole bunch of stuff along the way. In that respect, Saints Row: The Third Remastered is still one hell of a time. Its mission-to-mission gunplay is still rock solid, and its colorful cast of characters driving the story are all still unique.
Whether it’s cruising with your pal singing along to Sublime’s “What I Got,” entering a Tron-like world to defeat an evil cyberhacker, or skydiving down to a rival gang’s penthouse while Kanye West’s “Power” plays in the background, the game is still packed with memorable moments. Even though it falls a bit short in the technical department, Saints Row: The Third Remastered is still a title that deserves to be played by all fans of the franchise. If you were looking for a reason to jump back into the shoes of a Third Street Saint, you just got one.