I remember the original Saints Row, way back, when I had my Xbox 360. I really liked this ‘satirised’, comedy version of games of it’s ilk like the ever prevalent Grand Theft Auto series.
I liked the stylised, heavily Hip Hop influenced take on the genre which in turn, led me to play the second Saints Row game of the franchise. Saints Row 2 would go on to be my favourite of the entire franchise in fact, however this is where my love for the franchises ended because once I played Saints Row: The Third, I genuinely fell out of love with the franchise. I found The Third pushed the satire into the realm of ridiculous and past the point of the fun satirical take that I had grown to love, and yes I do include the implementation of the beloved weapon ‘The Penetrator’ to this ridiculousness that went too far. In the early days of the Saints Row franchise I liked the way it skirted the line between satire and ridiculous. And in my view, The Third crossed that line.
So when I was asked to review The Third remaster on PS4, I’ll admit, I was reluctant (Editors Note from Luke: I definitely forced this on Lance as I wanted to see why he hated MY personal favourite game in the franchise). But I figured that my views could have changed, after all we are talking nine years since I played it. My opinions have changed a lot in nine years.
So I fired up the game and was met with the familiar characters and setting. Even though this is billed as a ‘Remaster’ the overall look of the game hasn’t changed from what I remember, and that’s where the issues began for me. Saints Row: The Third Remastered is not what I expected from the game at all. I knew it was a remaster, so the game would essentially be the same. However I think, part of me was hoping for somewhat of a new experience, similar to the recently announced remasters of Mafia 1.
Alas, this wasn’t the case. I realised very quickly that the game was the same ride of ridiculousness I remembered. From the opening bank heist, up to the heist’s finale, involving a safe being dangled from a helicopter as my character, wearing an oversized Johnny Gat mask was perched precariously on top, shooting down enemy helicopters with my arsenal of weapons.
The level of over the top, in your face mayhem just isn’t my bag. I struggled to enjoy its heavy satire and tongue in cheek approach to things. I found myself comparing elements to GTA all to often and concluding that GTA simply does it better. In fairness I know this is supposed to be a review of the remaster, And in fairness to the developers, the lighting and new gloss of paint is on par with other PS4 titles, but this, is in fact, as much as I can say about this ‘remaster’, as everything else is just identical to the original release. The controls; the same sluggish affair and it even retains some of its original ‘360 glitches and bugs. So, as a faithful remaster, spot on Volition.
I went into this review, hoping for a fresh take on a game I sort of remembered. However as soon as I loaded the remaster, everything I disliked about the original release came flooding back in droves. For those that want mindless, dumb, over the top GTA style gameplay, this will tick the boxes. Just be prepared for an experience that hasn’t aged well from it’s original 360/PS3 days. Yes, it looks good. But that’s where it stopped for me.
I give Saints Row: The Third Remastered
For a game to be remastered, I’d expect more than just a pretty new coat of paint.