Saints Row: The Third Remastered Review: An Absurdly Fun Return to Steelport

We'll have to wait a bit longer to hear more about the next true sequel in the Saints Row franchise, but there's no reason you can't have some fun with one of the best entries in the franchise while you wait. Luckily Sperasoft has teamed up with Volition and Deep Silver to give Saints Row: The Third more than just a new coat of paint, but a full remaster, and the bonkers world of the Saints has never looked or felt better. Granted, Saints Row: The Third Remastered doesn't feel like a fully current-gen experience all the way through, but it's a perfect excuse to get lost in a ridiculously fun world once more.

Immediately apparent is the visual overhaul that Sperasoft has given the game. Back in 2011 Saints Row: The Third was pretty impressive, but it's quite shocking seeing the jump from the original to the remaster when you compare them side by side. As bright and colorful as the original was, all of those elements truly pop to life in the remaster, and the city itself feels much livelier this time around with more citizens making their way through it.

Navigating through the city is a dream, by the way, as the arcade driving mechanics are delightfully smooth. Whether you're jacking a motorcycle, cruising in your Saints-themed utility vehicle, or blowing up everything in sight with a tank, the controls rarely get in your way, and soon you'll be power-sliding through the streets of Steelport.

(Photo: Volition)

Things get a little clunkier outside of your vehicle, but there are plenty of new animations for when things require a more hand-to-hand approach. The targeting and gunplay are solid, though it takes a step back due to the constant bullet sponges you'll be facing. The lowest-tier thugs will take half a clip from an SMG unless you score a headshot, so definitely take the time to aim if you don't want to waste your time and ammo.

While the upgraded animations are appreciated, things still feel clunky when a true firefight goes down. Taking a human shield doesn't always hit on the first try, and if something knocks you back, you'll go full ragdoll until hitting the ground, which just looks rather odd. Throwing grenades, sniping, and switching weapons never feel quite right, though you'll learn to live with them.

Some of those things don't quite come as far as they need to, but the tone of this game is second to none. It's simply too much fun causing havoc in this world, and the missions highlight a lot of what the game does well. Whether you're causing mayhem in a tank, running through the lieutenants and generals of the Syndicate, attempting to take out helicopters on a rooftop with a rocket launcher, or filming an action scene on a movie set, the missions ramp up the humor, craziness, and fun factor to 11.

(Photo: Volition)

It helps that the game is always taking shots at itself, and the characters often live by the same creed. That's what helps the rather straightforward story keep you hooked, as you'll quickly develop a fondness for this ragtag crew as they look to re-establish their presence and survive the meddling of The Syndicate.

While the missions are more often than not absurdly fun, the game does suffer from difficulty spikes due to all of the DLC that's included right from the get-go. You can tackle any missions you want, but you will probably be met with retry screens if you go for certain missions too early, and there's not really a clear indicator of it being too difficult to handle right away. That can quickly lead to frustration, but if you stay on the Pierce story path early, you should be fine.

(Photo: Volition)

Saints Row: The Third Remastered is just as ridiculous and fun as you remember, and the new coat of paint and modern upgrades make it an adventure that you'll want to take on even if you've already experienced it before. Fans who missed out on the original also owe it to themselves to see what all the fuss was about, because if they do they will find quite a lot to love. It's not perfect, mind you, but, honestly, you'll be having too much fun to really care about its flaws.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Saints Row: The Third Remastered will be available for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on May 22nd. A PlayStation 4 review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.