My buddy Pierce calls me with half of an thought, and the subsequent factor I do know I’m hanging out of a helicopter, dressed like a wizard — large, floppy Gandalf hat; black robes fringed with purple; stars-and-moons sample, naturally — giving the side-eye to a rooftop swimming pool atop a skyscraper.
Kanye West’s “Power” is taking part in within the background. I scope out the panorama.
So what does the Remastered remedy give the 9-year-old sport? I performed on a PC hooked as much as my TV, and watched the mayhem explode in 4K at an excellent 60 frames per second. It appears to be like, for all of its age, like a contemporary sport with fairly lighting and high-resolution textures. This is a model of Saints Row: The Third that matches what I bear in mind from the unique launch — perhaps not instantly visually dazzling however, with this contemporary restoration, it nonetheless holds its personal in opposition to the competitors.
If the Remastered model of Saints Row: The Third have been launched as a brand-new sport right now, I’d settle for it as such. The solely actual disappointment comes from the console variations, that are locked at a 30 fps body price. The Windows PC model, then again, can run as quick as your system can deal with.
The technical info is attention-grabbing, however I’m right here to social gathering.
Guests mingle and dance at a penthouse social gathering, however I’m not invited. Neither are my associates in third Street Saints, a gang with fame, merchandise, and PR that might make Disney blush. I’m their chief. I’m additionally an outlaw, however a citizen-approved, internet-famous outlaw, which implies I get to do no matter I need in Steelport, town that stretches out so far as I can see in each route beneath me.
It’s lowbrow in the identical manner as professional wrestling. If you’re going to get pleasure from it (and I get pleasure from each), you’ve received to make peace with the cognitive dissonance consistently poking you within the eye. And the in-universe motive you get away with nearly the whole lot has little or no to do with simply winking on the digital camera.
So I bounce.
I plan my entrance throughout a number of seconds of free fall, yank the ripcord, and steer my manner into the splashiest (GET IT?) touchdown I can think about — dead middle within the pool. Nice.
But no one notices, which is bizarre. Also, I need my associates to affix within the enjoyable, so I seize a dude and “interrogate” the elevator code out of him.
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Someone notices the shakedown, so I flip my informant right into a human defend simply because the bullets begin flying. Civilians run and scream in terror, rival gang members seize their very own human shields, and I chuck the meat puppet absorbing the bullets meant for me into the pool for a posthumous splash of his personal.
Kanye is telling me that “no one man should have all that power,” and he’d be proper in the true world, however having all that energy is the entire level within the very faux world of Saints Row: The Third Remastered. Acting with impunity and embracing silliness is what makes the sport so rattling good — regardless of all the customarily uncomfortable absurdity that is still the higher a part of a decade after its authentic launch, recontextualized and nearly remixed by the whole lot that’s gone on since then.
Saints Row: The Third is a sport totally preoccupied with ensuring that I’ve enjoyable in seemingly countless methods, and it’s nice so long as I don’t suppose an excessive amount of about what I’m doing.
The Saints are marching
Saints Row: The Third Remastered is a third-person open-world sport that appears like Grand Theft Auto however behaves just like the digital incarnation of a 12-year-old boy’s fever dream. The character creation device is the work of insanity, particularly with a lot content material unlocked from the very starting. I steal vehicles, hang around with my associates, take selfies with strangers; watch 10 minutes of my life disappear after I understand that I can take all of my garments off and press a button to go streaking; do some homicide, steal, and brutalize the world in each foolish manner the sport’s inventive staff might give you.
Saints Row: The Third Remastered is totally preoccupied with forcing you to have enjoyable. And it succeeds. But for practically a decade now, there’s been a battle brewing inside my head concerning the sport, too, which is that it derives a few of its enjoyable from the weirdest, grossest locations. This is the sport, in any case, that turned a big, floppy purple dildo right into a weapon.
I’d most likely recoil like Dracula at dawn at seeing that in mainly some other sport — not a lot as a result of it was offensive or too “edgy,” however as a result of it looks as if such an affordable, surface-level thrill. And it’s. But that is the wild half: Saints Row is all floor, so even the gross stuff appears to slip off the edges of the polished machine designed to thrill and empower me.
Rewards for even probably the most mundane acts seem, feeling like countless incentives to make it possible for I’m by no means bored and that I get some type of reward for my destruction. Might as properly steer into incoming visitors, practically hit each automobile I move, and drift my manner round corners — as a result of every of those actions fills a meter, and each stuffed meter provides me extra fame, and I need that fame earlier than I even know what the purpose is. Using my money to purchase unlocked talents attributable to my respect stage is enjoyable, positive, however who doesn’t need respect by itself deserves? I win both manner.
I’m an untouchable agent of chaos, and I’m carrying a goldfish bowl-style area helmet as a result of I need to. The rooftop battle set to Kanye West’s “Power” provides you a way of the sport’s scale and grandeur, however it’s additionally an instance of the eye to element all through. The funds only for the music rights will need to have been as astronomical as it’s justifiable, as a result of Saints Row: The Third Remastered desires to mild up each pleasure middle of your mind, however it desires to take action with manufacturing values, dammit.
After I let my associates up by way of the elevator and we get rid of the entire “bad” guys, wouldn’t you realize that we be taught that there’s a bomb, and this complete penthouse goes to blow. What’s a star gangster to do?
Simple: I hijack a helicopter, have interaction in a high-speed midair chase with one other chopper, shoot and grenade my manner by way of a warehouse, interrogate the dude I chased out of the helicopter about disarming the bomb, snap his neck with the press of a button, and inform my associates to chop the crimson wire.
This takes place within the span of perhaps 10 minutes, and it’s emblematic of the gorgeous, baffling, audacious quantity of selection in Saints Row: The Third Remastered.
This is the online game equal of a sped-up improv comedy present, the place the sheer quantity of jokes flies by at such a breakneck pace that it’s tough to recollect the small print, however simple to keep in mind that it was an excellent time.
The sport is relentless. Each new set-piece that raises the stakes, every new mission that includes me capturing (actually) a film or escorting a surreal cat mascot to his vacation spot whereas utilizing my automobile’s flamethrowers to roast random pedestrians in order that I can refill the cat’s “pleasure” bar on the prime of the display screen as a result of dammit, he simply loves watching harmless individuals burn … all of it provides to the unusual sense that this sport can and can do something doable to place me by way of one thing that’s novel and ridiculous, however in the end pleasurable on some stage, even when it ought to make me supremely uncomfortable.
A way of absurd, chaotic pleasure springs from these Saints who sing alongside to Sublime in a automobile whereas headed to the subsequent caper. Steelport is a grand playground whenever you occur to be one of many individuals who matter. Everyone else is a goal or is barely price interested by. Unless they’re a star visitor star.
Saints Row: The Third Remastered does a trillion silly issues, and the whole lot is intentionally excessive, however it’s a lot enjoyable that I by no means dwell on the the components that may in any other case make me uncomfortable, as a result of it’s totally, fantastically dedicated to its absurdity. It punches up, it punches down, and it punches each which manner besides at me, as a result of me? I’m cool.
Subtlety is dead in Steelport. There is not any childhood sled known as Rosebud right here. But there’s a large, purple dildo and a specific amount of shameful pleasure to be present in swinging it at numerous faces. And you guess your ass that’s what I do, as I additionally do my greatest not to consider it an excessive amount of.
Saints Row: The Third Remastered will probably be launched May 22 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. The sport was reviewed on PC utilizing a last “retail” obtain code supplied by Deep Silver. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You can discover extra details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.