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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #321: Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Volition

Publisher: Koch Media

Category: Action

Release Date: 5.10.2019

Price (at time of review): $39.99 (digital & physical)

Buy Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package from Amazon here.

Get Over Here & Play In The Sandbox

In one of my last reviews, I brought up how the healthy competition from making great games would, in turn, push competitors to step up. My last example had a first-party with a very popular title, which pushed third-party developers to work harder to create more material the fans wanted. This time, we have third-party developer, Rockstar Games, who created the Grand Theft Auto series, which was so monumental that it had everyone changing the way we played games—and it also had other third-party developers stepping up their game and trying to capture some of that spotlight for themselves.

In comes Volition Games, who created the Saints Row series, which takes the open world—or sandbox—formula and puts you in charge of a gang called the 3rd Street Saints. When the series started, it was rocky, and It leaned more into the serious and realistic side. Some stood by the sequel as the perfect feel for the game, and others preferred the zany and crazy aspects laced with dark and crude humor that the third installment brought—and stayed with throughout the rest of the series, with the games only getting crazier as they go.

Third Street Saints Going Corporate

Five years after the events of Saints Row 2, the 3rd Street Saints have merged with the Ultor Corporation to become a media and consumer empire, with assets that include an energy drink, a lifestyle brand, and a chain of clothing stores. While robbing a bank to promote the upcoming Saints Row: The Movie, The Boss, along with top lieutenants, Shaundi and Johnny Gat, experience unanticipated resistance from the staff, and are arrested by corrupt policemen.

They are turned over to Phillipe Loren, the mastermind behind an international criminal enterprise known as The Syndicate, who wishes to make a deal with the Saints, seeing them as a threat. The Saints refuse and stage a breakout, with Gat making a huge sacrifice to allow Shaundi and The Boss to escape. They land in Steelport, a city ruled by The Syndicate that is dominated by three gangs. Now they have to kill anyone in their way and take the fight to The Syndicate to make sure the 3rd Street Saints prevail.

No Gun? Will A Purple Dildo Bat Work?

Once you take the plunge from the private jet, the game has officially set a tone: you’re dual-wielding automatic machine guns, killing enemies as they fly by, all while dodging debris, like cars, and trying to catch your friend and land safely. The game starts here and doesn’t slow down. You have the main mission that you’ll play to work through the campaign, and you have a cell phone with contacts that you can reach out to for missions and side missions alike—which may remind you of another game.

But, before you get going, you have to customize your character; and my gosh, this customization is vast and dense, with so many options that could have you going down a rabbit hole of endless variations, including making certain parts of your character’s body larger than the others—on both male and female characters—and this is called sex appeal.

So, if you’re done giggling along with me, as I said, you can customize your character to your heart’s desire, or just hit the randomize button until you find a crazy-enough-looking character that touches your inner weirdo. You can obtain wealth in the game by doing things The Saints are known for. The wealth you can obtain will allow you to purchase buildings and grow your empire; but don’t forget, you’re not the only player in town! The other gangs will feel your presence as you ascend to the top, and they will fight back.

When you encounter these gangs, if you face them head-on and defeat them, you’ll acquire respect—and heat. This is where the term “Mo’ money, mo’ problems” comes into play, because as you grow in influence, so does the target on your back. More than likely they’ll hit that target at some point, but luckily the game doesn’t do a lot to make you feel bad for dying, as when you do, you’re brought back at a hospital somewhere close to the last spot you were at when you perished.

One thing that was left out of the controls—and it is a complete shame—is the ability to use motion controls. Aiming was another low point that the motion controls maybe could’ve helped with. It has been patched, and I can say that, after the patch, it is much less noticeable, but will still need more patch work to tweak it further. You can play with the sensitivity in the settings, and I got it to the point where, as I said, it was far better; but just know that aiming is important, and there is no lock-on feature.

One thing I did quite often was take a hostage that I could use as a human shield to take out enemies in a gun fight, all while letting my hostage—who was usually a bad guy—take all the bullets I would’ve taken. At any time, controls such as crouch, run, jump, vaulting over small waist-high structures, or running up walls, Jackie Chan style, all help make the battling system feel fleshed out, but I wish there was a better cover system to protect myself when all hell breaks loose.

Just like the other sandbox games, you can commandeer any vehicle with a simple press of the button—you can even be a little more on the brash side and jump through the windshield, taking over immediately. While driving, you can use the little GPS to move around and keep an eye on objectives and waypoints. This will also show your properties and the rival gangs’ areas, which you can avoid or just be on guard.

Speaking of cars, you can mod the hell out of your vehicles—actually, with enough money, you can mod the hell out of anything, from your car to your guns and wardrobe. Do you want to look like a samurai who sports a tuxedo, with crazy hot pink hair, a crazy car that’s modded out to the nines, and even a gun that can shoot out sharks? Of course you do!

If you start to get bored, which I don’t think is possible, you can dip into one of the many side-missions of the game, or play the “Whored Mode” where you can either go solo or co-op—online or local couch co-op—against waves of very odd-but-dangerous enemies. You can tackle the regular game in co-op as well, but I loved just playing solo, and never got bored for a moment.

Audio & Visuals

The soundtrack is well done, and typical of these games, as you have radio stations that you can skim through, listening to what fits your mood at that moment. The voice acting is top-notch, with everyone doing a solid job, even when over-the-top, as needed. You can even choose your character’s voice, which is a nice touch. The ambient sounds are well done as well, such as the gunfire and crisp reload sounds.

The visuals seem to have an uncapped framerate that tries to help the experience run smoother, and for a game that’s two generations old, you’d think it’d be silky smooth, but it ran rather rough at launch—though it has been patched quite a bit, working on audio and visual issues. On my last playthroughs since the patch, everything seems to be running a lot better on both fronts, and I’m hoping, with more patches, the game will be even better, as they seem committed to working on it. Docked is where most issues came from originally, but I’ve had a great experience playing it handheld, both before and after the patch.

It’s A Wrap!!!

I’ve been saying since the Switch’s one-year anniversary that they needed GTA-style sandbox games on the Switch, as Nintendo has been more open to their adult audiences; and I think that’s what is making this my hands-down favorite console. Koch Media and the developers at Volition have answered our call, and brought a game that’s an absolute blast. It’s impossible to get bored with, and it reminds me of a time when we weren’t all so sensitive and could just laugh at fun crazy games such as this one. I definitely would recommend purchasing this for Switch, even though it can be found cheaper, as this runs amazing in handheld mode, and that’s the number one reason for buying it—because who doesn’t want to have a little carnage on the go?

Score: 9/10

Buy Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package from Amazon here.

Saints Row: The Third Official Website

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*Review Code Provided by Tinsley PR

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