Saints Row: The Third – Full Package Review
The Saints, Stilwater’s notorious purple-clad crew are back on a home console after almost 8 years of being MIA, and while I am quite happy to get familiar with these rowdy bunch once more, there are a number of issues that have me reluctant on recommending you turn back to a life of crime. The wacky gameplay and larger than life characters of Saints Row The Third are still very much intact, but a myriad of performance issues left me with a poor taste in my mouth
Even after all these years, there really isn’t quite anything like the Saints Row series, and Saints Row The Third is no exception. What started as a charmingly campy story about gangbangers trying to make it big has the motley crew setting their sights on bigger pursuits, becoming a household name in the process. The progression in this game is especially smooth, with you gaining experience doing almost anything,. It’s a refreshing approach, allowing you to purchase the myriad of unlocks of upgrades that are available. Saints Row 3 is also a standout even among the franchise, featuring some totally ridiculous weaponry ranging from mind-controlling explosive octopus launchers to gargantuan dildo bats and fists that make people explode at the slightest touch. There’s a ton of tools to mess around with, and going on rampages in Steelport is still as memorable as it was back in 2011. There’s also no compromise in content, but my issues with the game lay more in how sluggish it feels, with this port feeling like it was plucked directly out of 2011, without any polish added to it.
I don’t want to get overly technical, but the Switch should definitely not have issues running a game as old as Saints Row The Third. The game runs ok for the most part, but over the entirety of my time with the game, I couldn’t shake the floaty controls. Even after copious amounts of tweaking, the game still felt barely playable, with my aim seeming to drift past where I wanted to shoot which made some missions feeling much tougher than they had any right to be. At multiple points I was fighting my aim more than I was fighting the various gangs, which is very frustrating. I also noticed the driving felt particularly slippery and that I was crashing into other cars and people more often than I had intended. This isn’t to say that the game is a total blunder, as it runs well enough. Saints Row the Third definitely feels like it could have done with a little more time in the oven though. My main gripe is that for a game that’s this old and with its surprisingly steep price tag, I’d hoped that it was given a new coat of paint and some quality of life adjustments in the process to warrant that. It’s simply an okay port, not a great one.
Doing Hard Time
Despite the performance issues I seemed to run in to, there are still plenty of moments where I’m reminded of why I enjoyed this series so much. Saints Row The Third is genuinely fun, featuring creative activities that Grand Theft Auto wishes they thought of. Insurance Fraud is still an absolute riot, and sending myself flying down highways for thousands of dollars is still as satisfying as I remember. Saints Row The Third is also quite indeed a full package, featuring every bit of downloadable content that the game received over its lifetime, including the maniacally fun Genki missions and vehicles/weaponry that came with it. There’s also the surprisingly robust customization, allowing you to create all sorts of characters. Be it a hardened gangster, a femme fatale, or a Simpsons knock off, you can make some pretty crazy stuff. This also extends to the vehicles, with every vehicle being customizable to a surprising degree. It’s a shame that the character sharing service isn’t making a return or featured in some capacity, but there is still plenty for you to work with, without a doubt.
It’s also nice to see that for the first time with this title, you are able to play the game in both local-wireless and online. This covers both the “whored mode”, a wave-based game mode that has you taking on all sorts of enemies from various gang-members to S&M Clad gimps and guys in soda pop costumes. You’re also able to play the whole campaign and every activity with a buddy. I wasn’t able to test how seamless it is to join a friends game as servers were offline, so hopefully the online play is relatively smooth for those wanting to play with friends in other cities or countries.
In its current state, it’s hard to recommend Saints Row The Third. The Switch has been fortunate in receiving some ports of titles that were widely well received or have fairly large cult followings, but I can’t say that Saints Row has made the same successful jump as some of those other ported titles. It’s wacky, balls to the wall approach to open-world crime games is still in a league of its own, but you could just as easily grab the game on a platform where it runs significantly better than it does on this platform. There are plans of a first-day patch that should hopefully make the gameplay smoother, but in its current state, I can’t recommend it unless you’re sorely in need of some open world shenanigans.
**Switch Review code provided by publisher**
- Plenty to see and do
- Excellent progression system
- Still as funny as ever
- Poor optimization
- Very steep price tag
- Controls feel unresponsive