Saints Row The Third is really blurring the line between remake and remaster

It’s been a full weekend and I can’t quite get over how good Saints Row The Third Remastered is.

Before I continue, I want to make an important differentiation between Remake and Remaster. What we got with Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil 3 in April were remakes. A complete reimagining of the games from the ground up, featuring a wealth of extra content, using a brand new engine.

Saints Row The Third is a remaster, essentially leaving the content intact but redefining the textures, audio, and generally cleaning everything up so that it looks, runs, and plays much more smoothly on current systems.

Here comes the curveball – Saints Row The Third Remastered has been so well put together that it genuinely feels like it’s starting to blur the line between the two definitions.

PS4, Xbox One, and PC owners have, without doubt, now got the absolute best version of this game with all of its DLC. As for Switch owners, they’ll probably feel a little bit miffed considering the recent re-release last year now feels heavily outdated.

Sperasoft Studio and Volition haven’t just touched the game up and given it a new lick of paint, this is an enormous upgrade from the PS3 / Xbox 360 version. In fact, it’s hard to see how the game can be improved upon any more in its current form, with every expectation exceeded.

So, yeah, it’s the definitive edition of Saints Row The Third in every sense of the word. And I guess it’s better to ask what hasn’t been changed. Most of the VFX reworked, there’s new realistic animated sequences, all the weapons remade from scratch.

Even all the main model characters have been recreated and pedestrians have received PBR shades and adjustments.

And it seems to be an incredible amount of effort for a franchise that hasn’t always been taken seriously. Yet it shows the incredible faith Volition and Deep Silver have in this IP as we edge closer to Saints Row 5 and this remaster is a real show of respect for the best selling instalment in the franchise.

Honestly, SR3 looks incredible. So good, in fact, that it’s comparable to similarly themed games that released this generation, and is even better in some cases.

Lighting has been changed based on time of day with a full reworking of the sky. The foliage assets have been redone, and all structures have had external renovations.

Best of all, the game runs smooth as butter, even on a base unit. Just take a look at our video footage from the game’s opening mission to see just how impressive it really is.

For a really in-depth analysis of how much has been changed from the original, I’d highly recommend Digital Foundry’s coverage as it really deep dives into the painstaking detail and incredible effort that’s gone into this.

Basically, you’d be hard-pressed to tell this was a last-gen game. In fact, it seems perfectly positioned to run like a dream on the next generation and still look like it belongs there.

Without remaking the engine and redoing the entire game from scratch – even though that’s pretty close to what’s been done here – that’s honestly a miraculous and astonishing feat. And to top it off, they’ve even made it better, addressing the game’s previous issues with frame rate.

So, yeah, I get this isn’t the newest game on the block and the appetite is ravenous for an all-new Saints Row. Honestly, with everything happening in the world, there’s probably going to be an even longer wait for that than before. Sorry.

Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to dive into Saints Row The Third, which can still draw a smile and runs like an absolute dream. It’s as close to a remake as the game will surely get, utilising the best modern technology of the day, coupling it with rock solid performance. You honestly couldn’t ask for more.

Seriously, let’s just get Sperasoft remastering everything from now on. Mass Effect, next?

Saints Row The Third Remastered is now available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One

Played on PS4

Code provided by Koch Media

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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