It goes without saying that the Saints Row franchise is one of the craziest in videogames. Starting out as an alternative to Grand Theft Auto, trying to be as big as a game as that series’ third and spin-off incarnations, it eventually settled into its own thing, that is, being completely bat shit bananas.
For me, that insanity really came together in Saints Row: The Third, the point in the series’ story where the eponymous Saints are about as big as Mickey mouse, selling their likeness to toys and hawking their piss-flavored Saints branded energy drink. They got worldwide fame, so much so that they see the opportunity of taking things to the next level by trying their luck at another town, Freeport, after owning all of Stillwater, the setting of the previous two games. Sadly for them, the local boss isn’t too happy about them moving in on their territory and literally throws them off of a plane to their deaths.
Everything about this game was ridiculous nearly ten years ago, and since then, a lot has changed, down to there not being an actual new Saints Row game in quite a while. The brand changed hands and is now owned by Deep Silver, who’s been doing what they do best with bought franchises, that is, re-releasing prettied up versions to current consoles and PCs. That’s all and good considering that some of the games that they have been reworking really needed facelifts, and overall, they’ve done a satisfactory job, for as little work as has been done to the games themselves outside of the visual reups.
This Saints Row: The Third remaster has all the bells and whistles you’d come to expect from a re-release, which include HDR, higher fidelity textures, along even with some new character models. I wanted to do a fair comparison between the old and the new, so I played through a healthy portion of both versions in order to see what’s seen improvements, and the results were certainly positive. While I won’t go out and say that this new version of Saints Row: The Third looks absolutely amazing, it’s an easy step up from what we had before, for sure.
Out of all the new features, HDR is about the best inclusion to the game. Considering that a lot of it takes place at night, under bright neon colors and blaring lights, the new lighting effects really make a lot of difference, especially during the opening bits of the story, with the gang jumping out of planes, jacking cars, and storming places they don’t belong. Ah hell, when do they ever go to a place they do belong? This is Shauny and Johnny Gat we’re talking about here. Anywho, putting the two versions side-by-side, the remaster comes out on top in this department for sure.
The part of the remaster that I’m not quite as impressed with are the new character models. While they do look somewhat sharper than before, I feel that they aren’t as expressive as the old ones, even more so when it comes to random characters you run across, not so much the main cast. It’s really weird switching between the two and noticing that, but it’s definitely an issue that I’ve noticed. Then again, the work that was done with the main cast’s models really shows, down to how shiny their new silver jackets look when compared to the opaque ones that they wore back in 2011.
Content-wise, the Saints Row: The Third Remaster includes all of the DLC that was released post-launch for the original version, so expect to find all one your old favorite mission packs and new items, vehicles, and weapons ready to go once you’re through with the introductory missions. If you’ve somehow missed playing the third Saints Row originally, there’s a lot of content to get through here, and for the most part, it’s as dumb and turn-your-brain-off fun as it’s ever been. My recommendation: go for the zombie voice!
For the most part, the Saints Row: The Third got things right for today’s HD audience. Issues that I have with how some character models look aside, this is the version of The Third you want to play these days.