Saints Row: The Third Remastered (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 05.09.2020

Review for Saints Row: The Third Remastered on Xbox One

Saints Row: The Third was a turning point for the series, and is where it has found its stride. With every entry, this sand-box crime sim's tone grew more absurd, and has cement itself to be the goofier alternative for those who found Grand Theft Auto IV to take itself too serious. The Third was the sweet middle ground between the bland earlier entries, and the obnoxious self-parody of what Saints Row IV would ultimately become. Re-Elected was a very modest and restrained effort of remastering its technicalities and visuals. With Saints Row: The Third Remastered, the developers sought to give its graphics a huge upgrade, while targeting a high frame rate. Steelport has never looked this glamorous before.

Saints Row: The Third was the furthest a designer could realistically take the sand-box crime game before it would deform into something else. It pushes what is acceptable in Grand Theft Auto-likes, and just barely teeters into the open-world superhero genre. Saints Row IV crossed the line many times early on, and became something else entirely in the process; having more in common with something like Infamous. Saints Row: The Third, thankfully stays grounded just (barely) enough where all its systems and mechanics manage to keep their purpose.

Screenshot for Saints Row: The Third Remastered on Xbox One

Fans of the original will find Saints Row: The Third Remastered to be a glorious improvement over the last gen release. There is a vastly enhanced lighting engine that paints scenes with glitzy hues and shaders that makes characters feel more alive than ever. It seems that the developers has redone most of - if not all the assets, making this remaster look on-par with most 3D action games released today. The leap in visuals also help accentuate the decadent "celebrity" aesthetics that make The Third unique from other open-world crime games. Everything looks more intense, colours are more extreme, and flashy effects make the world feel like one big rap music video.

There is a profound sense that the developer threw in everything it loves into Saints Row: The Third Remastered. From the movie one-liners, referential musical cues, endless homages, wrestling, anime, '80s pop culture, and other video games, of course - it is a look into the developer's passions and things it probably grew up with. Just having all these homages and references would not be enough on its own. The Third Remastered does manage to be original with its premise of celebrity criminals, by focusing on a compelling cast of original characters. The glue that holds everything together is how these rogues interact with each other and with the protagonist. Most of the time, the narrative is in service of comedy.

Screenshot for Saints Row: The Third Remastered on Xbox One

No matter what, pointing the camera in a direction will likely catch some visual gag. Saints Row: The Third is constantly throwing jokes. The humour is at such a fast pace, that the jokes that fall flat go by unnoticed. Often times, the attempt at comedy is genuinely amusing, and surprisingly smartly written. It also helps that the voice cast is electric, and plays the material with a straight face, with no hint of irony. Comedy video games make a strong case for cut-scenes, since the mechanics of a joke do not translate to gameplay. The use of cut-scenes make for a reprieve for gamers after long missions of driving and shooting.

The core game of Saints Row: The Third Remastered is not terribly interesting or remarkable. What makes it work is the breadth of variety in the mission design, weapons, enemy types, and the outrageous spectacle. The controls are very standard for a third-person action game, with the large amount of melee options being the standout mechanics. The upgrade system is frustratingly tacked-on, and only serves as a grubby, little middle-man between the player and the playability. Earning upgrading currency is typically done by completing missions, but Saints Row: The Third has a cheeky variation of a "style system" that reacts based on the user's risky actions. This is a worthwhile mechanic, it just needed more creative abilities to earn.

Screenshot for Saints Row: The Third Remastered on Xbox One

The freedom and choices afforded to players is a step above most open-world crime games. Impressively, Saints Row: The Third Remastered has multiple endings, and many missions can be done out of sequence from the touch on the protagonist's cell phone. The character creator is robust, and is one of the few that offer multiple voice actors to choose from. It must not have been cheap or easy to have about six different voice actors read different scripts for the protagonist, since every voice actor brings with them their own flair to the characters. With the new and improved visuals, it is finally possibly to make attractive looking characters to play as, and dress them up in almost any way imaginable.

Saints Row: The Third Remastered comes recommended to those who enjoy tapping into their inner hate-demon to make as much damage as possible. This is the ultimate power-fantasy that kids used to daydream about during math class, and the cheeky self-aware humour provides more entertainment value after a long and strenuous turret mission. The effort put into the face-lift almost makes this remaster unrecognisable, like the plain girl in high school who grew up to be a total fox.

Screenshot for Saints Row: The Third Remastered on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Saints Row: The Third Remastered is one of the most impressive guilty pleasures - one that also manages to be much more clever than it presents itself. All DLC is included, and the overall experience is polished to a mirror-like sheen. Anyone who initially wrote off Saints Row: The Third as a insipid Grand Theft Auto knock-off, might want to give it another chance. There is more going on than just being a simple third-person sandbox action game.

Developer

Volition

Publisher

Deep Silver

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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