Saints Row 3 Remastered Reviewed on the PS4 Pro
Before we address the review, I would like to say that I was totally surprised at the Saints Row The Third Remastered announcement!
This one is a sneaky release by developers Volition. Joining them are ‘Spearasoft’ who took all the remastering work and it seems this game might have been released to prep us for a future Saints row game? That question so far is yet to be answered but let’s have a look at what this remastered edition brings to us in 2020.
Acting as the third part in the Saints row series, the game follows the antics of the criminal organization that now runs a media and consumer conglomerate of their brand. Five years after Saints Row 2, this part involves the Saints coming to grips with the newfound fame which makes them a bigger bullseye target for competitors and warring rivals, namely an enterprise – The Syndicate.
The game includes a huge incident at the very start and that shapes how the story involves the protagonist being us, taking the fight to the Syndicate while striking new friendships and rivalries.
The story element of the game has in the past been the major draw for being totally unrepentant and over the top. There are some missions that stand out more than others and the game does not help to keep them all connected well in terms of pacing.
The game allows the users to choose missions that are broken down with the various “Homies” who are fellow gang members like Shaundi & Pierce, although not limited to only them, the player does acquire new allies.
Overall the story is probably still the best of all the Saints Row games we have seen to date. Re-playing the game again, especially almost a decade since its original release, makes the story feels flat, bar some fun missions and side activities like ‘Genki’s Bowl’.
The plot will probably appeal to the core fan group of the Saints Row games, who have always preferred this game being a parody of Grand Theft Auto. It might also appeal to younger gamers who were introduced to GTA5 as a first sandbox game who now want a more ‘no holds barred’ and shorter experience.
This over here is the “Money Shot” as numerously described in the game devilishly, as without a doubt, Saints Row The Third Remastered is a visual beauty. Comparing the older visuals on the PS3 where I originally played the game, you can straight away see the immense effort and love poured in.
The visuals from day to night, loading screens to in-game videos, everything is a 10/10 from developers Spearasoft and Volition. They have to be commended on doing a tremendous job and if you want to revisit the game with visuals being your biggest interest, then you will be astonishingly pleased.
The remastered visuals are actually a benchmark that other games should look at, now I stress the fact that this is a remastered game and not a “REMAKE’ therefore I did not expect the visuals to be of such high quality.
The developers have also included a plethora of visual options, such as HDR Brightness and more gamuts like Peak Brightness Slider to adjust, it’s a remarkable inclusion. These options translating into a big impact is one thing that is yet to be seen, as the common knowledge base by consumers on fiddling with these details is quite low and elementary.
The default 30 FPS is pretty consistent while I played the game on the PS4 Pro, with slight fluctuations at night time where I did find some instances where it dropped a little bit to 26. I also encountered some choppiness and small glitches where my player got stuck in between certain levels where I had to restart the checkpoint. It occurred only twice and was easily remedied.
The inclusion of the frame rate option allowed me to test the game on an unlocked frame rate and I’m not too happy to inform that the game barely ever hits 60FPS. I was able to get an average of 46 but there was some screen tearing and jitter at night time, although it happened ever so slightly. nonetheless, it takes away from the immersion.
Looking at driving and basic gameplay also seems very plain, now more than ever and I cannot help but look at more worthy alternatives like Sleeping Dogs which did a much better job. The positives are the inane and wacky choices of weapons especially ‘The Penetrator” that can be used to smack and kill enemies to pedestrians, a feature that made the game notorious and has a strong following.
Saints Row 3 Remastered does not improve on the gameplay as it’s not a remake and that is an important fact for anyone looking to try this game out for the first time. If you ever wanted to get into the series, then yes SR3 Remastered is the best initiation part and the performance compared to the original is definitely better but the dated feel lingers on and might be off-putting for the not so patient gamers, who may dismiss it, a notion that is important to consider given the massive library of games to play.
The gameplay is a mixed bag as revisiting the game now with a fresh coat of beautiful visuals still feels it has not aged that well. The remaster although visually stunning and I repeat this is a huge accomplishment, is brought down by sloppy controls mechanisms whether you are driving vehicles, helicopters, motorcycles, or a ‘Salem Broomstick’ and yes, you read that right!
The most fun you can expect wise is when playing DLC which now comes included with the game such as Genkibowl VII & Gangsta’s in Space to name the few exciting ones. Gangsta’s in Space had the most fun gameplay as it reenacts you the leader of the 3rd Saints as the main Hero/Heroine while shooting a movie. aliens, jumping off ramps, fighting alien ships, and romancing different beings, all bring joy to the usual monotone gameplay the original game settles for once you’ve played it for a few hours.
The inclusion of the Co-op Campaign where you can play certain parts or the whole game as 2 players online is a necessary inclusion given the internet connectivity today. Another mode called the Whored Mode adds to the ‘mindless not taking itself serious’ fun for players looking for a Horde mode.
You can play this mode on its own or online which has options like switching on friendly fire or not. This mode brings wave after wave of enemies ranging from and I quote the game “whores to naked brutes to gimps” and so much more! The fun continues and you also get to play in a tank to wielding The Penetrator, so if this is your cup of tea, Volition delivers.
If you like GTA style sandbox games where you can walk around and beat up people with R rated weapons called ” The Penetrator” (the novelty wears off soon) and have senseless fun with the Murder, Mayhem tag line the game promises, this is a decent game.
In terms of the development with the sandbox genre we have seen with GTA5, Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row 3 Remastered does not bring anything new or exciting in 2020.
The Saint’s Row games have always been popular for their music and hearing Kanye West’s “Power” once again from the title screen to various points in the game is still a blast and a sweet nostalgic feeling. The game brings back the excellent variety of radio stations which makes it stand out fro other games. The commentary on some of the channels to the soundtracks and hip hop tunes from the 2000s is music to my ear’s.
The in-game sound seems to match the original games so there isn’t much development on that but the voice acting shines as it did with the original. The sound department is solid from what we can expect from the game although simple options where you can tweak it depending on the output source being headphones, tv speakers, home entertainment system to match the 4K visuals with HDR would have been a nice added bonus.
2020 has seen some amazing remaster and remakes and while visually refreshing, SR3 Remastered brings nothing new or worthy. There are alternatives like Sleeping Dogs & GTA V which provide much better of everything else. The game is also marred with occasional performance glitches, janky controls, pacing issues with the story & no clarity on why it was released, without the promise of an SR4 sequel in an announcement.