14th May2019

‘Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

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Now I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Saints Row franchise – for one they’re sandbox games, and we all know (or at least you should by now) know that I have a particular dislike for sandbox games, and two they always seemed to me to be a poor man’s Grand Theft Auto. So given the chance to review the third game in the series – so long after the game ORIGINAL release on last-gen consoles  mind you – I thought would make for an interesting experience… How right could I be? And how wrong could this game be?

Starting Saints Row: The Third I found myself really enjoying the opening heist, after all what’s not to like about a game that instantly throws you in at the deep end, facing hordes of enemies whilst taking the piss out of the fact your facing hordes of enemies! But then something happened. The bank heist was followed by an awesome sky-diving sequence that sees you not only have to avoid falling debris from the plane that you’ve just jumped out of, but also take out enemies in a mid-air gunfight. That portion of the game (actually the intro) ended I was left wandering about Steelport in a dreaded sandbox environment, engaging in gun battles, buying property and stealing cars… Boring!

However I carried on playing, partly because I needed to for this review, and partly because of the games inherent humour – sick, twisted humour that relishes in all that is morally objectionable. Which I found hilarious. As I said I carried on playing, buying more buildings, fighting gangs and cops. Same old, same old. Then after a while the game suddenly switched. Hurrah! The call came in from fellow Saint gang member Pierce and the more mission based aspect of the game kicked in. Thanks god for that is all I can say.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Saints Row: The Third in terms of game play, its just (as I keep saying) I hate sandbox games, but thanks to the new missions I got back into playing the game for fun once more – pimping my car, then myself and then an awesome penthouse raid and helicopter chase followed. Fantastic fun all round. Of course you can still buy buildings to increase your control over the city and do all the usual (boring) sandbox activities, but the missions will always be there – which means for me I can balance out the dullness of travelling round the city with missions that have clear set goals. Perfection.

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The fun aspect of the game only increasing the more you play. Starting out Saints Row: The Third with basic weapons, etc is fine, but once you buy a few gun shops and start upgrading your weapons then the real fun begins – there’s nothing like uncovering rival gang activity – this time round you’re up against the Deckers, Morningstar and the Luchadores – and calling in an airstrike to take them all out. Beats fighting them one on one, which if you DON’T upgrade your weapons can lead to dying. A lot.

Now I’ve heard from some fellow gamers that Saints Row: The Third doesn’t have the same well-rounded narrative as its predecessor, but having not played it I can’t comment. What I can say it that this third game in the Saints Row franchise is possible one of the craziest games I have ever played. It truly is insane. And you can have insane fun with it too – there’s a reason this game is rated 18 folks! If the narrative is lacking, what isn’t are the graphics and the in-game physics…

The game looks gorgeous – even when the screen is full of explosions, human fireballs and death and unlike a lot of sandbox games, developers Volition have spent time making sure that the in game driving experience feels good as well – I particularly like the fact that should your tyres get shot out the car will pull to the same side (as per real life) and you have to compensate to keep the car going in a straight line. The city itself is extremely well rendered, with plenty of back alleyways, nook and crannies to (try and) hide in and a madcap collection of shops, casinos and dodgy backstreet “establishments” on and in which to spend your hard-earned cash.

In the end Saints Row: The Third IS a sandbox game, but unlike any I’ve played before – rewards are not given for keeping everything under control, but for creating absolute chaos. Hell, even dressing like a madman earns you more respect on the street! And as for Professor Genki’s in-game reality TV show? Utter insanity. And that’s the keyword when it comes to this game, insanity.

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If you like balls to the wall mayhem and madness in your video games then definitely snap up a copy of Saints Row: The Third on the Nintendo Switch – especially given it includes three full-story expansions and over 30 DLC items in the “Full Package”. Though you might want to wait till the delayed “Day One” patch is actually released to sort out issues with online matchmaking, audio sync fixes, frame rate drops, and the subtitles (they currently only appear in cut scenes, not in the open world).

Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package is out now on the Nintendo Switch, both physically and digitally via the Nintendo eShop.

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