Taking the Good, with the bad.
I did not 100% this game. After having spent 110 hours in the city of Steelport prior to this remaster I can honestly say that the game is done at this point.
After the scores, I will talk about the necessity of this remaster and whether I think it was worth remastering and worth the money. As such, this review will read more like a standard review.
Let’s start off by saying first and foremost by saying: It runs better, looks better, plays better but has some hiccups along the way. Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado – The review.
For the un-canonised out there, Saints Row The Third is the sequel to Saints Row 2. Taking place years after The Saints take over the city of Stillwater by killing Dane Vogel – head of the multi-million-dollar company Ultor.
The Saints go from being a high priority gang to taking the place of Ultor. With movie deals and brand recognition, The Saints are untouchable in the crimes they commit – able to pay off and bribe any official. That is until Saints Row The Third.
“The Boss”, Shaundi, Johnny Gat and Josh Birk (In-game tv show celebrity) start off robbing a bank. It’s apparent that this bank is no ordinary bank when the tellers pull guns on the gang and the security floods the place.
The team do not make it out unscathed and end up in jail. Whilst lamenting on how things went so horribly wrong, they are confronted by The Syndicate – the gang who’s bank they robbed. The gang are taken to an aeroplane where the leader of this gang makes them a deal that’s too good not to refuse.
In a feat of absolute game logic, Shaundi, Johnny and yourself break your restraints and show just how much you dislike this deal by fighting your way through the plane, into the sky, back into the plane and bank to the skies before landing in the city of Steelport. Johnny Gat is presumed dead.
The leader of The Syndicate decides its time for The Saints to suffer and has his underling 16-year-old, Matt Miller of the Deckers gang, drain your bank account to 0. Now things are deadly serious. In a move that can only be considered for a Darwin Award, The Boss and Shaundi decide to rob the National Guard armoury.
The rest of the gang show up in Steelport in order to aid you in your new-found crusade to destroy The Syndicate and everything they stand for.
The Syndicate are broke up into 3 distinct gangs:
The Syndicate (themselves) – Dressed in red and black suits and dressed, identified by a Pink star. This is the main gang, ran by Phillipe Loren and his Under bosses Viola and Kiki DeWynter, twins who run the Prostitution racket for The Syndicate.
The Luchadores are the next gang in The Syndicate. This group is run by Eddie “Killbane” Pryor – An egomaniac Luchador who takes over The Syndicate at the end of Act 1. The Luchadores are more like muscle to the outfit and wear predominantly green.
The Deckers are the final gang. Run by 16-year-old Matt Miller. The Deckers wear Black and neon blue and look like scene/emo kids who implemented technology way too far into everything they do. Described by The Boss as “Neo-Cyber Punks” The Deckers are the technology side of The Syndicate
This game takes a more Saints row 2 approach to things. Whilst making your way through the gangs the games secondary plot unravels. Monica Hughes (Ex wife to the mayor in Saints Row 1), unveils a bridge in the name of her late husband.
At this point in time, The Saints are holding their funeral for Johnny. At this point, Monica if on the bridge. At this point, Killbane has the gang on the other end of the bridge set with RPG’s ready to ruin the funeral. He, in turn, destroys the bridge completely. Vowing vengeance Monica sets into play “The STAG Initiative”.
The story of Saints Row The Third chronicles the rise of The Saints in a new city as they have to start from the ground up in a city where nobody likes them. The game also features 2 endings: Good and Bad. Take it from me, the bad ending is better, but you feel like scum for doing it.
But how does it run? Solid. Unlike the original, I didn’t crash. Solid 3 sessions with no major issues. The game dipped once into sub 60fps but after a quick restart that was solved. The game world just tried to spawn too much in at once after a very specific mission.
Take a look at these charts:
Please note that minimum framerate of 29 and 30 are due to the framerate in Cutscenes and not reflective of the overall quality.
Each test was done over a 5 minute period at different points in the game.
This final chart was recorded on the ultra preset at 2K.
My game had 1 or 2 little stutters here and there but it was nothing major. There were no hangs or crashes but there was 1 specific bug that happened a few times. When performing a “Bo-Duken” I would fly in through the window… then fly through the roof. Honestly, it was funny. I wouldn’t rate it down for something that only happened twice in 9 hours and that caused more joy than frustration.
There was also this rather strange “Burn-in” that would happen after Alt+Tab(bing) in and out of the game. The last image was burnt into the game and in recordings, it bumped the brightness up. You can very clearly see the car and surroundings burnt into the missing texture (Also a result of Alt+Tab).
The fact that this game performs better than the original is testament to a good remaster, at least where performance is concerned. Solid 10.
Saints Row has always broken down into many different aspects when it comes to gameplay. At its core, it is an open world thirst person shooter. How you do the shooting is where things come into play. I don’t think there is 1 activity where I didn’t have to end some poor souls existence.
To start you have the story mode. Initially this will teach you about the activities: Tank Mayhem, Escort, Guardian Angel, Snatch and Insurance Fraud to name a few. Even when you are a rag doll you can still kill someone, just by accident.
Each activity offers a fun way to earn rep and cash. Completing each activity fully (all instances) can unlock upgrades for the player early. This is also where the bulk of your cash will go, buying perks for the player, this includes infinite ammo and health as well as reductions to certain damage types before level 50.
When you’re not playing tag with the busses you can go for a nice drive through the city of Steelport. If this drive happens to lead you to exchanges of lead with rival gangs or the law is up to you. You can also try to find some of the collectable drug pallets or inflatable pleasure women.
Guns can often feel underwhelming however and I found myself sticking mostly to the default pistols, even the later game laser weapons paled in comparison to dual pistols at level 3, the only other weapon to come close is a meter long purple dildo called The Penetrator. It’s essentially a long floppy baseball bat, shaped like a penis.
So how do I rate this game? Well, very high given my 100+ hours on Saints Row The Third before this game out. Everything is the same. Apart from some lighting, models, textures and sounds – It’s still Saints Row The Third.
I do love the Saints Row series though but I will say that the third entry has less cause and effect in terms of story. It seems too concise and rushed, as an example the mission “The Ho Boat” sees you drive to a boat to rescue some girls that will be sold into prostitution.
This mission is initiated when Viola betrays Killbane as vengeance for killing her sister. At the end of the mission you are given the option – Give the girls back to The Syndicate for a nice lump sum of money or keep them for cash injections through the game.
The issue lays in that this mission does not help with The Syndicate but is in fact used as a framing device for a later plot point that is outside that particular plot. There are many cases where the A plot is used more as a framing device for the B plot without actually furthering the A plot in any significant way.
Compare this to a mission in Saints Row 2. You and the crew rob a casino owned by one of the rival gangs, in robbing this casino it leads to major plot developments. The leadership of the gang is called into question by his lieutenant and his father in Japan.
As such he orders the lieutenant to go to your gang members home to get the money back. In the ensuing altercation, your lieutenant is left hospitalised after taking a katana to the stomach, his partner is decapitated and due to the failure of not getting the money, the head of the gang comes from Japan to oversee the operation.
Whilst all this is happening he keeps telling his son how much of a disappointment he is. This leads the character down a self-destructive path that ultimately gets him killed due to his reckless behaviour when he attacks the player and his lieutenant at the decapitated wife’s funeral. This, in turn, leads his father the leader of the gang.
These missions all follow a narrative that furthers the plot of the gang. In Saints Row 3, missions often have no actual correlation to the gang outside of the cutscenes that follow. Keep the girls for yourself and Killbane gets angry and complaints to Matt Miller for going over his head and offering the choice of money for the girls.
That mission ends with “The S.T.A.G Initiative” being passed through congress, but we get to see it on the TV. The mission also starts with the discussion of that said “The S.T.A.G Initiative”. That is being set up by Monica Hughes who has no affiliation with any of the gangs.
I honestly feel that this remaster was not worth it. We may have got some updated textures and better lighting, as well as better stability but with the addition of more bugs, were introduced as well. The original game is only 9 years old after all. We are truly in the age of remasters.
You can spend £35 on the new remaster that comes with some DLC (Including the story DLC) or you can spend £10.99 on steam (at the time of writing) and receive Saints Row: The Third plus an addition 17 items of DLC.
Remasters can be useful and the question being thrown around was “Why not remaster Saints Row 2?”. Though we can’t confirm is there is a remaster of Saints Row 2 in the works what we can confirm is that they only just found the source code, atop that there are rumours of a new game in the series that is under development.
Maybe the remaster was a way to gain more funding for this due to the recent global pandemic that has impacted every sector of the world in 1 way or another. Yet the game was in development long before this happened.
Regardless of all that though – I myself saw no need to remaster this game. Am I glad they did it? – Yes, it gave me another reason to sink 9 hours in the city of Steelport. Did we ask for this? – I don’t believe so. The game was already out on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC & Nintendo Switch. We didn’t need it, but we got it and I’m only kinda complaining.