Review: Saints Row: The Third Remastered (PS4)


Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Saints Row: The Third Remastered
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (59.13 GB)
Release Date: May 22, 2020
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Sperasoft Studio
Original MSRP: $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: M
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Saints Row: The Third was released on PlayStation 3 in November of 2011, with a “Full Package” edition coming later containing all the DLC. Saints Row: The Third Remastered (SR3R for brevity’s sake) brings all that to the current console generation.

The game begins in Stilwater, the locale of the first two installments of the series, before quickly relocating to the new (fictional) city of Steelport. The game establishes you as the boss of the Third Street Saints; you run the show. Here your goal is simple-take over the city from The Syndicate. The Syndicate is made up of the three gangs of Steelport: Morningstar, Luchadores, and Deckers. Each gang runs a district of the city, and in addition to the main storyline, you can perform activities and purchase properties to take over said districts.

After the prologue sending you to Steelport, you create your character as either a man or woman, with a decent sized amount of customization options, from the basics of hair and clothes choices, all the way to many non-human skin colors, right down to “sex appeal”. Sex appeal controls the size of either the woman’s breasts or the man’s “package”. This fits in with the aesthetic of the game. The remaster has expanded the available color options, which is a nice touch.

The story is basically that of an over-the-top action movie that plays out in an open world environment. Various missions during the story also act as introductions to some of the side missions strewn about the city. Escort missions, slamming yourself into moving vehicles as “Insurance Fraud”, and rolling in a tank destroying the city are just some of the crazy things you can do to gain money and “Respect”, which is SR3R’s equivalent of XP. As you gain Respect and level up, you can spend cash on a wide range of upgrades to your character, your gang, or your weapons. The RPG elements would be considered light, but add to the depth of this game.

The game controls fairly well when on foot, although the sprint button is L1, which is not consistent with how games control these days. This is not the only control choice which I found to be odd. When driving, using the Cross button to handbrake/drift seems like a product of the “old days”, as most driving games use the Square to do that now. Neither of the control issues were more than an annoyance, although the ability to change the controls would have been appreciated. The driving, however, is solid overall. The various vehicles seem to have the weight and control you would expect when jumping into them, although some of the time it seems inconsistent. While I’m personally not great at controlling them, air vehicles control as they should as well.

Throughout SR3R, you will refer to your cell phone to access the next missions, bring up the map, upgrade your character, et cetera. You pull up the phone by using the touch pad, which is a nice use of that underutilized feature of the DualShock 4. The game flows well overall, although it’s easy to find yourself driving around the city performing side activities and buying properties. This, of course, is why the series (unfortunately) is typically referred to as a clone of a certain Rockstar Games series. I like to look at it as more than that, and SR3R stands on its own.

Visuals:
Saints Row: The Third has been remastered, rather than remade, but the game still looks excellent when compared to the PS3 version, and, in general, resides comfortably in the current generation of games. Redone vehicle, weapon, and character models, improved lighting, and HDR all combine to offer a highly satisfying visual experience, even during the cutscenes, which sometimes are given short shrift with remasters. The colors really pop, especially when compared to the last-gen version.

One notable addition is new loading screens. The load time isn’t very long, but while you are waiting, the screen pops with dynamic images. It’s not a huge selling point, but shows the level of commitment the developer gave to the makeover.

One of the loading screens.

A few minor items did come up for me. During cutscenes, I found the lips did not perfectly sync up with the dialogue. This is a minor distraction while watching the story progress, but it was noticeable enough for me to mention. Another bothersome thing was I sometimes found the crosshairs difficult to pick up. In some cases, by the time I would locate it on the screen, I was getting lambasted.

Lastly, during the Insurance Fraud side missions, when getting thrown around by the vehicles, you mesh with them and briefly become indistinguishable from the cars. Again, it wasn’t game-breaking in any way, but annoying nonetheless.

Audio:
The voice acting in SR3R is good. The actors deliver their dialogue well enough, as cheesy as it is sometimes. As mentioned above, the lip sync issue is minor, and doesn’t take away from the lines at all. The voice options for your created character are good enough. You have the choice of three male, three female, or zombie voices, none of which really stand out to me. They get the job done though.

The audio of the open world is solid. People talking on the street to one another, or to you when you bump into them, is standard fare in these types of games, but it’s still done well. The audio of the weaponry and vehicles are also solid. The explosions are, well, explosive.

The lawyers that drew up the licensing agreements must have worked overtime, because the music from the game nine years ago carried over to the remaster. When you hop into a ground vehicle, you are offered several different radio stations from which to choose. These stations are populated by a good amount of well-known musical acts of all different genres. Even better, you can create a mixtape and cherry-pick what you want to listen to whilst cruising through the streets of Steeltown.

Online/Multiplayer:
Saints Row: The Third Remastered offers co-op play, but only online. You can join a friend’s game, have a friend join your own, or go through matchmaking. If a friend joins your game, you pick up and play where you last saved. You also have the option to start a new game in co-op, but it overrides your last autosave.

Co-op gameplay with the boss.

The actual online experience went well, with the caveat that, at the time of this review, we played on pre-release servers. The game ran smoothly, yet “Slow Connection” kept popping up on the screen while we played. Both Glenn (thanks boss!) and I have excellent internet connections, and we think that just may be a result of being on said pre-release servers. We intend on revisiting this after release, and will update accordingly.

Conclusion:
Whether it is the wacky storyline, or the over-the-top violence and humor, Saints Row: The Third did enough to separate itself from similar games in the open world action genre. The game being nine years old doesn’t seem to matter much, as the developer of the remaster, Sperasoft, has taken Volition’s original product and applied a fresh coat of paint to bring SR3R into this generation. The game has never been for everyone, but if you enjoy zany antics and lots of violence, it may be for you. Whether you’re visiting Steelport for the for time, or going back after a long absence, Saints Row: The Third Remastered is worth your time.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by John Payant

John Payant

PlayStation Nation editor and writer. Been playing games for over forty years. Maybe someday I’ll actually be good.

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