The original Saints Row: The Third remains one of my favourite games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. From its off-the-wall gameplay to its impressive open world, it served as an excellent introduction to the world of Saints Row for me.
Since its initial release in 2011, the Saints’ adventures have taken them to outer space, simulations, hell and even a spin off in the form of Agents of Mayhem. But now the series returns to the original Steelport, courtesy of Sperasoft, while the main development team works on the next entry in the series.
The original content of Saints Row: The Third speaks for itself. The story, world and wealth of content available remain as entertaining as ever but otherwise mostly unchanged apart from minor texture or model updates. The vast majority of the remaster comes in the form of updates and overhauls to the game’s graphics. Seeing the city and citizens of Steelport in a glorious 1080p reminded me of my love of this game from its opening sequence to the credits.
The lighting and dynamic weather of the city has never been so sharp, with water and reflection effects drastically changing the fundamental look at all times of the day. Combining all these effects together makes for some surprisingly serene screenshots, something simply not possible without modding the original game.
However, perhaps the most notable of the changes comes in the form of updated character models. The fan favorite cast has been redesigned from the ground up, providing a much needed makeover for the iconic crew. Some, such as Pierce and Shaundi, have received an update, but kept their original look. Others, however, have undergone more major changes such as Zimos with a new white hair colour, and Oleg with a far more detailed face. In the case of Oleg, this is also reflected in the brute enemy designs. Now players can see a look of true fear as they thrust a grenade into their mouth!
The player character and customisation system has undergone minimal changes other than texture updates, meaning its as easy as ever to make a golden monstrosity, if that’s what you’re into. Alternatively, the updated hair models make creating a less plastic protagonist easier than before, though some added heft to the facial hair would have been nice.
Overall, the graphical upgrade helps brings the classic title into the modern age, making much needed changes to character models and textures, while enhancing weather and lighting effects. However, these upgrades come at a cost. The rigging for the models in certain scenes, such as Josh Burke in the opening, have clearly gone unchanged, with the newly detailed models showing little emotion. Thankfully, these moments are few and far between but they stand out thanks to the new graphics.
Another nice bonus to this remaster is the addition of more than 30 pieces of DLC from the original title, which I’m glad to say has received the same level of attention in terms of graphical updates. No other notable changes were spotted, but if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Saint’s Row: The Third will always remain a classic and favourite title of mine, but this remaster fundamentally changes the feel of the game. While it absolutely isn’t on par (or trying to be) with recent AAA releases, the overhauled graphics make the city of Steelport feel more alive and chaotic than ever before. At the same time, the makeover accidentally highlights some of the unchanged features of the original title. These once minor drawbacks are now more prominent than ever before, but do not ruin what is otherwise an excellent remaster of a downright fun game.
Saints Row: The Third Remastered is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store and the Humble Store.
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