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The Highs And Lows Of Saints Row: The Third Remastered

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Saints Row: The Third originally released in 2011, and it quickly became one of my favorite open-world games ever. It combined brazen silliness with empowering freedom, letting players conquer the city of Steelport with a mixture of unique weapons, goofy costumes, and cool vehicles. Today, a remastered version of this title is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and I’ve been checking out the new coat of polish. If you want to know if this over-the-top adventure is worth revisiting, these are the high and low points I’ve encountered during my time with Saints Row: The Third Remastered.

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High: Looks great

From a graphical perspective, Saints Row: The Third Remastered has received more attention than your typical re-release. Comparing the old game and the new one side-by-side reveals a gorgeous new lighting system that brings out the best in the world. Plus, all of the major characters seem to have been rebuilt, with additional facial details that give them even more personality. The vehicle models have also gotten significant upgrades, so the action looks great whether you’re driving through the city, watching cutscenes, or just exploring on foot.

Low: Humor has aged poorly

In many ways, I love the unapologetic crassness Saints Row: The Third. Its obsession with fart and crotch jokes makes it clear that the priority is on stupid fun rather than depicting a gritty crime story. However, in the nine years since its release, some elements of this humor have grown uncomfortably dated, especially with regards to race and gender. The game seems to be equally insensitive to all groups it lampoons, so no one feels particularly targeted – but that didn’t stop me from cringing.

High: Improved performance

When it first released, Saints Row: The Third was ambitious in its size and scope, which caused problems on PS3 and Xbox 360 in terms of framerate, screen-tearing, and other areas. Last year’s Switch version was even worse; it ran so badly at launch that I had to stop playing. This remaster finally gives the game the smooth performance it deserves. You can uncap the framerate in the options menu, but playing on PS4 Pro, I got the best and most consistent results by locking the action at 30 fps.

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Low: The bad kind of chaos

With bullets flying, cars tipping, and rockets launching, Saints Row: The Third Remastered has plenty of mayhem – but not all of it is good. During the several hours I played, I also encountered plenty of chaos stemming from glitches, crashes, and other issues. Combined with questionable ally A.I., unreliable physics, and bizarre enemy behavior, the whole experience still has a sense of instability that left me feeling like I needed to save every five minutes in case something went irreparably wrong.

High: Lots of DLC

This remaster doesn’t just cover the base game. It encompasses the whole experience, including DLC like mission packs, extra costumes, and wacky vehicles. Even better, all of this content is available very early in the game, which gives you access to many options that you normally wouldn’t get until much later. For example, as soon as you get a helipad, you can summon a game-breaking VTOL to go anywhere in the city in no time, firing its infinite-ammo laser as you go. While the weapons and vehicles throw the natural progression out of whack, Saints Row: The Third was never overly concerned with balance, and having the extra options add more the fun than they take away.

For more Saints Row, check out our wishlist for what we want in Saints Row V, and our review of the series’ most recent installment, 2015's Gat Out of Hell.

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