Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Deep Silver/Volition
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

I?ll always have a soft spot for the Saints Row franchise — which is kind of astounding, considering I don?t care for four of the six games that fall within that broad category. I have no interest in either Saints Row or Saints Row 2 (to me, they felt too much like second-rate GTA clones), I found Gat Out of Hell to be a buggy, ugly mess, and the less said about Agents of Mayhem, the better.

But Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV…as far as I?m concerned, those two games were more than enough to make up for whatever shortcomings the other four may have had. SRIV is definitely my preferred of the two on account of the fact it allows you to transform into a literal superhero, but Saints Row: The Third isn?t that far behind. It didn?t just poke fun at GTA-style open-world action games, it was smart (well, smart-ish) and fun enough to play around with genre tropes while simultaneously delivering one of the best experiences the genre had to offer.

In other words, it would take a lot for me to dislike the game now that Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package has arrived on the Switch. So it should come as no surprise that I don?t. Quite simply: I still love this game.

A big part of why I love it, of course, is why I?ve always loved it. It?s big, dumb, fun. It?s a game where you ride around a massive open world in whatever vehicle you feel like stealing, checking off quests that range from the basic (steal a car, take it to a mechanic, upgrade it) to the gloriously, absurdly ridiculous (you randomly get superpowers for a level, foreshadowing Saints Row IV, before those wear off and you make do with a bazooka).

At the same time, though, it has heart. Even with all the absurdity, Saints Row: The Third isn?t afraid to take time to throw in little character moments, like having your character and Pierce driving around Steelport, singing Sublime?s ?What I Got. It?s a nice touch that underlines that, amidst all the insults and the craziness, the titular Saints are still like a family — albeit a weird, messed-up family.

The other reason why I love Saints Row: The Third on the Switch is that it runs pretty well. You wouldn?t expect a fairly large open-world game to run so smoothly on a handheld, and yet, in all my time with the game, I had virtually no issues (save for one random crash). I should note, of course, that I only use my Switch in handheld mode, so I never experienced the apparently less-than-stellar docked performance, but, as a handheld game, it worked almost perfectly.

The only place where Saints Row: The Third arguably falls a little short is that some of it may have aged a little poorly, depending on your sense of humour. We?re talking, after all, about a game that includes a ?Whored Mode, a game where dildos are weapons, and a game where you set your character?s sex appeal — which, in this case, is a euphemism for bust size (if it?s a female character) or crotch bulge (for the males). To be sure, it?s all none-too-subtly satirizing the gender politics at play in a game like GTA, but at the same time, it highlights how different the environment is today than it was eight years ago.

But if that?s the only way in which Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package falls a little short in its Switch port, that?s a pretty good sign of how well this game has been ported. It was one of my favourite games of the generation back when it first came out on PS3, and after sinking many, many hours into this version, I suspect it?ll wind up being one of my favourite games of whatever generation the Switch falls into, too.

Deep Silver provided us with a Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A