There are two other ways to have a look at the Switch port of Saints Row: The Third’. From a glass half full perspective, what you are getting an exceptionally shut conversion of the PS3 unique, nearer nonetheless in the event you play in handheld mode. But considered in a glass half empty manner, all the failings of the last-gen console variations stay in full impact on this new launch: let’s make no bones about it, efficiency is poor and the controls have extreme enter lag points.
Let’s focus initially on the positives. Playing Saints Row: The Third in Switch’s handheld mode is unquestionably the easiest way to expertise the sport. It renders at a full 720p – making it a pin-sharp native expertise on Switch’s six-inch display screen, whereas efficiency appears to be extra constant than the docked mode. As regular, the smaller display screen does a great job of hiding among the cut-backs and compromises and to all intents and functions, it’s certainly the PS3 model within the palm of your hand. And to be clear, this recreation has at all times been hilarious enjoyable – and this was the primary motive why we had been so trying ahead to the Switch port, and most definitely why we have had so many requests to have a look at it.
Much of the attraction wears off when taking part in docked, as regardless of migrating Saints Row: The Third to full 1080p decision, it seems like a step too far for the Switch’s cell . Blown up on a giant lounge show, the additional decision is welcome, however nearly any main use of alpha transparency results clearly reveals ugly sawtooth edges – an indication of decrease decision buffers in play. These had been already in the reduction of on the last-gen consoles variations, however the compromise is much more pronounced on Switch with even decrease decision artefacts. There’s additionally an impression to efficiency: the frame-rate lows really feel worse than they do in handheld mode – making the expertise really feel much more uneven.
And this leads us on to what’s undoubtedly the most important disappointment with this conversion – it would not handle what’s by far essentially the most unsatisfactory side of the unique launch: the frame-rate. Saints Row: The Third’s historical past here’s a actual subject. The Xbox 360 model performed comparatively constantly, however did so accompanied by some hideous screen-tearing. Curiously, v-sync might be pressured on throughout the choices, however efficiency might plummet as a consequence. Its PlayStation 3 counterpart used a triple-buffer v-sync to take away the tearing, however swapped in wobbly frame-times as a consequence. Back within the day, there was no passable solution to play this recreation on consoles – solely the PC model was able to delivering clean gameplay.
There are additional choices within the right here and now, although. Saints Row: The Third at all times ran on consoles with an unlocked frame-rate, that means that working the unique recreation on Xbox One back-compat sees a welcome raise to efficiency, with all the tearing banished. Indeed, run the sport on Xbox One X and the frame-rate often settles between 50 to 60 frames per second, with the odd deviation into the 40s. It’s not ideally suited, however it’s nonetheless an evening and day enchancment over each different console rendition (although given the selection, PC remains to be the popular possibility for revisiting the sport).
For Switch customers, the mix of an unlocked frame-rate with efficiency lows nicely under 20fps produces an excessively jarring expertise – illustrated completely within the recreation’s opening moments, taking you thru a sequence of set-piece motion scenes the place the refresh can careen from a jerky slideshow to nigh-on 60fps relying on the place the digicam’s pointing. Handheld does appear to really feel extra constant – probably as a result of cell mode has 50 per cent of the GPU energy driving 44 per cent of the pixels rendered within the docked configuration. Interestingly although, utilizing an exploited Switch, upping CPU energy by 75 per cent and rising GPU and reminiscence bandwidth by 20 per cent did not produce a game-changing expertise. The prevalance of low decision buffers might trace at a bandwidth-bound expertise.
Our understanding is new patch for Saints Row: The Third is incoming, which can or might not increase efficiency – however to be frank, any enchancment to the sport’s frame-rate lows could be very welcome certainly. However, with that stated, addressing the enter lag state of affairs can also be of essential significance in getting this port into form. The analogue sticks are exceptionally heavy to the purpose the place pulling off headshots could be very tough certainly, with common play feeling cumbersome. Meanwhile, the identical exams in the identical conditions on the PlayStation 3 model reveal a a lot tighter response. Right now, the one to get any form of enchancment in any respect on Switch is to extend horizontal and vertical stick sensitivity all the best way as much as 100 per cent – however even then, management stays muggy and never a patch on the sport’s unique launch.
Unfortunately, the poor controller response paired with dodgy frame-rates truly implies that the sport is much less satisfying to play than it was on the last-gen console techniques – and general, there’s the sense that this conversion is a missed alternative. Docked decision increase apart, there’s little extra to distinguish the expertise from what got here earlier than – shadow dithering tweaks and decrease decision alpha buffers apart, the sport seems to be a lot the identical because it at all times did. Even the extent of element pop-in travelling at pace by way of the town is a match for the PS3 model of the sport. That’s not essentially a nasty factor on a title with a stylised appear to be this, however addressing the important thing points with the older releases is essentially the primary motive for this port to exist – and it would not ship in its present state.
It’s a disappointment, then. In reality, maybe extra so as a result of bringing Saints Row: The Third to Switch was an impressed selection by Deep Silver – the unique delivered a lot hilarity, however the console variations had been let down on the technical facet, stifling among the enjoyable issue. Based on what we have seen from different Switch conversions of last-gen video games, we had been on the lookout for a real enchancment right here, however to be served up the identical compromised expertise with further points virtually eight years on is a let-down. Can the builders persevering with to work on the sport and releasing a brand new patch handle these issues? I hope so – however within the meantime, the PC rendition and Xbox One back-compat are our picks for taking part in Saints Row: The Third at its finest.