Xbox One, PS4, PC
May 22, 2020
Volition, Deep Silver, Sperasoft
Bigger is better. Go hard or go home. Mo money, mo problems. All these could be perfect taglines for Saints Row The Third Remastered. The third Saints game is finally being released on current generation consoles so players can either relive, or experience for the first time, this insane 2011 open world action game.
You play as the leader of The Third Street Saints street gang. Like in previous Saints games, you need to use your crew, influence and power to smash out the competition. After the Saints experience a failed bank robbery in Stillwater, which occurs in the first mission, the gang retreats to Steelport. Here you find three rival gangs known collectively as “the syndicate.” Also, the government’s Special Tactical Anti-Gang unit (STAG) has been assigned to take out all of y’all, so you’ve got a lot of people wanting to see the Saints grounded!
Due to their bad ass illegal antics, The Third Street Saints have now become celebrities. They have their own Saints cola, clothing range, and people on the street are excited rather than anxious to see them. Therefore, as leader of the Saints, you’re wanted in different ways by different people. Wanted locked up by the police. Wanted dead by your rivals. Wanted for movie/TV appearances by the press. And wanted for photo opportunities by your fans. It sure is tough being a charismatic gang leader.
After you experience a literally explosive opening mission, you are taken to one of the stand out sections of the game. The character creator. It’s obvious that the Saint Row’s devs wanted players to have as much fun creating their protagonist as they have with the gameplay. From choosing a pink devils mask, to making your character super chubby/skinny, to wearing a hot dog costume, there are multiple options here to make your character bat crap crazy!
“Sex appeal” is an interesting building feature. When you increase your “sex appeal” in a female character your bust increases. Whereas in the male build, your groin enlarges. It’s good to see that objectification goes both ways in Saints Row!
Your mobile phone is your best friend and guide. It includes your map, stats, upgrade points and most importantly, available missions. There are 25 main missions, with each one earning you “respect” points. These can go towards upgrading ability points such as dual weapons, unlimited ammo, to being able to pick pocket strangers when you bump into them. Along with the main missions, there are a number of side activities such as gang operations, helicopter/tank assaults and my favourite – Apocalypse Genki.
Apocalypse Genki sees your character participate in a TV game show where the main aim is to run through the timed obstacle course whilst trying to survive shooters, snipers and electric rays. Your surroundings is a cross between Elvis’ Jungle Room and the Jurassic Park ride. It’s equipped with palm trees, heaps of bamboo, oh and rotating fire walls! By shooting targets around the arena you gain extra cash, time and health. Commentators riff in the background as you pummel through people dressed as bunnies, pigs and hot dogs. That this is an actual TV show in the Saints Row universe really highlights how over the top this game is!
The game doesn’t really shine when it comes to its narrative. The missions are usually structured around gaining turf and crippling other gangs by parachuting out of planes, exploding their vehicles with torpedoes and shooting them down from helicopters. THIS is where the game shines. When it lets you destroy everything in your path with the most insane methods that you may never have thought possible.
Weapons and vehicles are a big part of what makes this madness so fun. You can access these through your “cribs” (your home bases) along with changing your outfit and customising your gang’s look and vehicles.
As the game progress you will have the opportunity to play and destroy with laser beams, missile launchers, chainsaws…. and a massive pink rubber dildo. Yup, you read right! If you want to keep it simple, there is also the “usual” shotguns, pistols, etc…but trust me, “keeping it simple” is something you should not even think about when playing this game!
Vehicle wise there is a garage in your crib with 9 vehicles ranging from motorbikes, to tanks, to buggies. If you find a vehicle you like whilst roaming around Steelpoint you can take it to the garage at your crib. There it will be saved for you to use whenever you return back to your home base.
Once you unlock the penthouse crib, you also have access to a number of flying vehicles. The one that stood out for me is called “The Salem” which is pretty much a broomstick. So, yeah, you can fly around the skies on a broomstick and pretend you’re Samantha from Bewitched if you really want to!
Gameplay is also lacking in Saints. Your character’s movements can feel clunky and one of the worst control schemes is changing weapons. When you start any mission or fight, you are only equipped with your fists. It took me a while to figure out what button I had to press to activate the weapons slot. In a game that is so focused on weaponry, this is a big oversight.
Other modes in the game let you play co-op in either campaign or Whored Mode. The latter puts you into an environment of your choosing (I chose the Casino cos’ I wanted to keep it classy), arms your character with a weapon and lets you run loose busting up enemies. However, there is usually a weird catch with each Whored Mode activity. For example, in one level I was shrunk down to twice the size of my rivals and in another I had obviously had too much to drink and therefore had tunnel vision. But nothing would top the “Good Vibrations” level which saw me equipped with that giant pink dildo I mentioned before…and fighting off a pack of gimps.
A lot of fans have been questioning whether they should buy Saint Row The Third Remastered if they have already beaten it on PS3. If they don’t have any way of playing it and loved the original game, I would encourage them to do so. For those who didn’t play the DLCs, the remaster includes all the downloadable content that came with the original. However, I don’t think the remaster is worth the cost if you are going to buy it just for the updated visuals. Sure, it looks a hell of a lot better than the PS3 version, but it is nowhere near the graphics used in many AAA games released in 2020.
For new players, if you love a silly good time and blowing up a bunch of stuff then you’re sure to love messing around with the Saints!
- Character creation is unique and fun
- Missions let you experience all sorts of crazy thrills and stunts
- Side missions can keep you entertained for hours
- Clunky controls
- The world of Steelport is lacklustre
- Storyline is pretty thin
Saints Row The Third Remastered is the game equivalent of fast food. Sometimes you have to turn your back on that healthy dinner option and fill your body with delicious, greasy goodness. Saints fills the void you have when you don’t want to have a complex, heavy gaming experience. It lets you blow stuff up with the most bizarre weapons, drive the most lavish yet ridiculous vehicles and wear items of clothing that you wouldn’t even consider wearing to the Playboy Mansion. Even though its over the top nature can get a bit much sometimes, its self-awareness is the thing that saves it. Its charm lies in its ability to find its “limit” and then push through it. Because like Cady Heron in “Mean Girls” says, the limit for Saints Row The Third Remastered does not exist.