Friday, May 10

Review: Saint's Row: The Third - The Full Package [Nintendo Switch eShop]


If there was one major series that would seem to be a great fit for play on the go and the Switch it would be Grand Theft Auto. Having your own portable chaos and carnage simulator that you could enjoy anytime, and anywhere would be terrific. Unfortunately, so far there’s nothing more than occasional rumors that have gone nowhere of substance concerning Rockstar’s flagship series coming to the system. Given the GTA-shaped void in the console’s line-up you had to figure at some point someone would give it a shot, and sure enough we now have an older (but I think best overall choice) iteration of the Saint’s Row franchise to enjoy.


If you aren’t familiar with Saint’s Row the most essential thing to know about it is that it doesn’t take itself seriously and its goal always seems to primarily be to take the core gameplay of Grand Theft Auto and crank the crazy up to 11. Whether that means getting into gunfights while freefalling high over the ground, blasting cop cars and other vehicles to smithereens with a rocket launcher, beating someone to death with a giant purple rubber dildo, and so much more there’s just something unique about this title in particular. For some folks that may all be a little too extreme, but if the thought of the above (and so much more) puts a grin on your grill this could be a fun time.


Though there’s a general story it’s not remotely the focus here, especially with the inclusion of all the game’s DLC, which since you’re starting from scratch can make you feel a bit overpowered quickly and also muddies up what you should be doing at times. For the most part your focus will be on Missions, which can be assigned by multiple people and tend to correspond to the original game and then the DLC as well, and some of those DLC missions, if you tackle them too early, can be a bit overwhelming. You can also look up contracts for assassinations, specific cars to steal, and challenges that are a bit like collect-a-thons in many cases but involve some sort of violence and keeping a tally of what you’ve been up to.


Overall, the selling point here is a ton of content that’s absolutely bonkers and with the added DLC missions, outfits, and weapons it’s all the more silly. You have a chum gun that will summon a Great White Shark in the middle of the ground to gobble up enemies, ready immediate access to a tank, and all sorts of outrageous costumes for both yourself and your crew. If you’re looking for structure the game doesn’t provide much, but if you’re just down to load up a game, check out a mission, and blow things real good it’s a great time.


Outside of the relative shallowness of it all the other concern would be performance, though a Day 1 patch is in the works that should be looking to improve on that issue. The thing is, I was able to bomb down the streets in a fast car with next to no problems without the patch, and while there are definitely some murky textures and some ugliness at times I’d consider it playable. Probably where things struggle the most is when there get to be explosions everywhere and with the game’s tendencies that’s not an uncommon occurrence. When it gets tense in these cases things get more noticeably choppy but I didn’t consider it to be interfering with my ability to play the game either. Hopefully the patch will remove any remaining hitches though, but if that’s a concern for you keep an eye out for how people respond to it.


Saint’s Row: The Third doesn’t quite have the same feel as GTA 5 but I’m grateful it’s out there as an option since there’s absolutely nothing like it on the system. While comparing it to the Rockstar series is a bit of an apples to oranges situation I think the game does a great job of demonstrating that at least with some compromises a game like GTA should be possible on the Switch. If you’ve got a bit of a warped sense of humor and are in search of a game full of lowbrow humor, over-the-top violence, and yet not a tremendous amount of narrative structure this is a game that will entertain you, just it does have some limits.


Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • The closest you’ll get (hopefully only for now) to playing a GTA-type game on Switch
  • If you enjoy chaos and carnage without reservation there’s a lot of fun to be had
  • The DLC content generally made me laugh at its even more ridiculous nature

Cons:
  • Framerate and texture quality issues when things get crazy, a Day 1 Patch is supposed to be working to diminish those problems though
  • If you were hoping for much of a story or some structure there’s not much to be found
  • The more easily you’re offended by just about anything the less the game is appropriate for you