Publisher: Koch Media / Deep Silver
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop download
No. of Players: up to 2 players
Release Date: May 09, 2019 (JP) / May 10, 2019 (EU & NA)
Price: $39.99 USD
As a series, Saints Row dates back to 2006 and within seven years of the series’ inception, it had grossed an excess of 13 million units sold, but just what exactly is Saints Row?
Quite frankly, it’s a series of open world action games in a similar vein to Grand Theft Auto, except it’s also laced with infectious insanity. Like GTA, the Saints Row games are rife with crime, violence and content that is just too inappropriate for children, but developer Volition likes to take it even further.
From outlandish humour, the most inappropriate outfits ever and plenty of parodies and homages that are based on popular culture and more, Saints Row is like the wasteland one would imagine in the event of an apocalypse.
Almost all bets are off and you can pretty much do whatever you want. The world and characters are for the players to do whatever they wish with them and with every new instalment, they only get worse/better.
It’s understandable why a game such as this wouldn’t be on a Nintendo platform, it’s not usually the kind of thing Nintendo allow, but times have changed, exceptions have been made and within nine months of announcing the game for Nintendo Switch, Saint’s Row: The Third – The Full Package is finally here.
Right from the start, Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package acts as a continuation to the second game, set five years later. Having merged with Ultor Corporation, the Third Street Saints have become a consumer and media empire and they have it all. Branding, a clothing line, energy drinks and a serious amount of wealth, which they happen to push too far.
The crew attempts to rob a bank and while things go smoothly at first, everything swiftly goes to hell and just when you think you’re out of the frying pan, you’ve only gone and hopped into the deep fat fryer.
Playing as the boss, who you are completely free to customise in any manner you choose with the available assets, you and your two top lieutenants are taken by corrupt police officers and put onto a plane where you will face an even bigger fish.
Life for the Third Street Saints is about to change in a huge way and everything the Saints have worked for, is about to be taken away from them, especially when they land in an unknown territory called Steelport and must essentially start over from scratch and get back at the Syndicate in the craziest ways possible.
As the open world game that it is, players are free to go wherever they please, within the confines of the parameters of course. You can’t enter every building and you certainly can’t try heading off to shores unknown to find an entirely new location, but you can do with Steelport as you please.
Want to take on one of the three local gangs? Jump in a car (hold L to sprint and press X to take a car by style,) find the newest gangbanger and go nuts. You can run them down, get out and punch them, toss a grenade in their direction, or even do a sprint in their direction and execute a well-timed take down.
Should you annoy too many gang members and shots are flying from every direction, walk over to the nearest one and press X to take them hostage. After all, they can make a useful human shield and when your current one perishes, you just claim another one.
In addition to getting into gunfights against anyone who looks at you funny, you can steal any vehicle and drive wherever you please. You can also engage in as many story missions as you want taking a break to do something else instead, and you can even rife a Personal Water Craft.
Whatever you choose to do, as long as you do it in style, for practically everything you can do in-game, you can earn Respect and as your Respect level goes up, the more abilities you can unlock, once you have enough cash to purchase them.
You can also take said money to purchase properties that will earn additional money per hour and you can go to any gun store to upgrade any of your current weapons, buy new ones or purchase the likes of tattoos and new outfits from other available stores.
For true power or at least guidance, at any time you want to pull yourself away from the action, press the – button to bring up your character’s phone, with each app serving specific functions like accessing your map, music, missions, challenges and more.
As for the + button, that will bring up the pause screen where you can save your progress, load, or quit to the main menu. Quite simply though, as long as you’ve played the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs or Grand Theft Auto, you’ll be right at home with Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package and shooting every kneecap you see.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Before I go into the things you can do in Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package, first I’m going to cover the things you can’t do as they aren’t featured in the Switch version of the release.
Despite the DLC packs Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package does feature, Unlockable Pack and Bloodsucker Pack, are not among them. The reason for this is due to the fact that they are cheat DLC and they break the balance of the game. It’s okay though, as this content is also pulled from the version of The Full Package available on other platforms.
On the subject of DLC however, the packs that did make it into the game are available in the base game and you are not required to go to the eShop and enter a download code to get them.
Also gone is the full game getting a full release in Japan. While it is uncensored in other territories, the Japanese release requires censorship in place, just so the game can be sold there.
In continuation, there is also no cross-platform support, or means of transferring your progress to the Switch release and if you’re familiar with the website that was used for My Steelport and character sharing and was hoping it would be brought back, it wasn’t, but now let’s talk about what the game does have, including some Switch features.
Firstly, since the game does support online play (be it online, local wireless or lan,) a Nintendo Switch Online subscription is a must and if you do use it, you can use the mobile Nintendo Switch Online app for voice chat. Interestingly enough though, like in the port of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, players will be able to save a boss locally in Saints Row: The Third and load them later, in the same manner.
Something else that is new and does help to make Saints Row: The Third justifiable of playing again, is the fact that you no longer have to explore Steelport alone as local and online multiplayer will allow players to play side by side and get up to all sorts of crazy shenanigans. The only problem is, how well you find the experience, will depend on how good of an internet connection you have.
As for the rest of the content, the majority can be found in the main campaign and in typical open world game fashion, it consists of side missions and ventures. From invading enemy gang territory and making it your own to enduring through the games Genkibowl VII, Gangstas in Space and The Trouble with Clones content, you can steal cars for money, pull off assassinations and driving a tiger around town.
You can even head off to one of your many cribs and customise how you want your own gang to look like, (dress style,) what weapons they wield and what vehicles they should drive. You can also pose for the camera, collect sex dolls and dance in public like the mad boss you are, thanks to a compliment, or go with a taunt and annoy a lot of people.
Long story short, while Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package doesn’t feature as much content as modern open world games do, it’s still packed to the rafters and hours upon hours await you. If you still need more however, there is the Whored mode where players can try to survive as many waves as they can against different kind of enemies, armed with only the weapons given to you.
Should you wish for more than that, you will have to entertain the fact that Saint’s Row: The Third – The Full Package, is the closest we’ve gotten to GTA on Switch and sometimes, it’s better to settle for what you have than to go without and continue to wait indefinitely.
Oh audio, how I love you so. While I’m not personally a fan of the majority of the tracks present in Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package, it still has quite the selection. Regardless of what genre you like, there should be at least one licensed song you enjoy listening to and one radio station you’re willing to put up with during your drives.
In case there’s multiple tracks however, you could always compose a playlist and listen to that instead. Because I’m not a fan of the tracks present though, most of the time I spent it listening to the dialogue spoken by the characters in the street, in your crew and on the radio during brief interviews.
Couple the voice talent with the sound effects of gunfire, helicopter blades and explosions, Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package can be quite the delight, just a shame there were instances of the occasional audio glitch here and here.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
Back in 2011 when the original Saints Row: The Third released, its world, character models and explosions, looked great. It was a game that demanded being played and for the most part, it didn’t disappoint. The problem is, this isn’t 2011 anymore.
I hate to say it out loud, but there are a few aspects of Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package, which looks outdated. In some cases, the more you look at something in particular, or someone, the more it, or them, starts to look a little out of place.
On the plus side, it doesn’t take too long to get used to them and there are still plenty of aspects where the game does look good and those aspects include some of the vehicles, obtainable clothing items and weapons. That being said, while I prefer playing in docked mode, handheld is not off-putting.
When it comes to the actual performance of the game and I’m going to be brutally honest here, it’s not all snowdrops and chocolate bunnies. As for as frames per second go, Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package runs at 1080p/30fps docked and 720p/30fps/ in handheld and it can be rather glitchy.
I’ve not just faced two instances of where the game crashed on me suddenly, but I’ve had it freeze three times within 15 hours of gameplay and I’ve experienced my fair share of other annoying bugs.
From having run over victims getting stuck to my car, with their limbs flailing in all directions, I’ve also had serious slow down issues, especially in Whored mode and there was even one occasion where I was driving too fast, crashed into a building and was thrown from the car, into the building, with no possible escape. I actually ended up loading my last autosave just to play again.
The game is also more likely prone to crashing more so when using cheats and if you forget to manually save after using said cheats, you run the risk of losing hours of progress.
Despite the issues I listed above, while I wouldn’t go as far as to label Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package as being a broken mess, there are plenty of issues present that do warrant being aware of.
Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package is by no means the perfect port, but as long as you are willing to put up with those issues, you can still have a great time playing the game and find yourself getting lost in the madness.
After all, this is a game that allows you to undress your character completely, with their private parts covered by pixels and car surf. It at least deserves a chance, even if it did completely forgo support for gyro controls, which would have made aiming lots more efficient.
What’s more, there is a Day 1 update on the way, said to require 110MB of space to download it. Sadly, there is no mention as to what the update will fix, but as long as it eliminates some of the issues above, it would certainly do the game a favour. Having encountered those issues however, it is apparent as to why the third game was ported and not Saints Row IV as that would have most likely been even more problematic.
While Saints Row: The Third on Switch is not quite as much as The Full Package as it is on other platforms, it still has plenty of content to keep gamers busy in the meantime and provide them with a GTA-like experience that which was previously unavailable on the Nintendo Switch.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*A download key was provided by the Publisher for the purposes of this review
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