Saints Row: Gat out of Hell Review
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell builds to an impressive peak nearly halfway through it’s five hour campaign. It’s a remarkably fun and admittedly cheesy musical number inspired by the likes of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Unfortunately though, no other part of the game even comes close to recreating the creativity in this five minute scene. That’s not to say that Gat out of Hell isn’t worth your money - at $20, it’s a fun and carefree violent waste of time, but unfortunately it never really reaches for anything more than that. It recycles a lot of content from Saints Row IV, which was starting to feel old on it’s own right. Fans of the Saints Row series will love Gat out of Hell, it does most of what the series has done well for years and rewards those who understand the series’ mythos with constant in jokes and references but most will be quoting the game’s protagonist and wondering “is that all hells got?”
"...it’s incredibly silly - even by Saints Row standards."
Gat out of Hell’s premise is simple if not overly silly. The main character from Saints Row IV, your created President of the Universe has been sucked down to hell as Satan finds him as the only one rotten enough to marry his daughter Jezebel. In true Saints Row style, gangster extraordinaire Johnny Gat and master hacker Kinzie resolve to follow their boss into hell, shoot Satan in the face and bring him back home. Yes, it’s incredibly silly - even by Saints Row standards, but it’s full of great lowbrow humor and inside jokes that the franchise has made it’s name on. The majority of the game is played in New Hades, the capital of hell, which looks awfully familiar to Saints Row IV’s Steel Port, except you know - covered with hellfire and brimstone. The NPCs that populated the living world are replaced by wandering corpses and demons intent on hurting you in any way possible.
If you’ve played Saints Row IV, you’ll feel instantly at home with Gat out of Hell, for better or worse. While the game starts with a interesting premise, it soon throws it all away for some reason in favor of what can only be viewed as busy work. At the beginning of the game you’ll be tracking down old friends and enemies (Saints Row 2’s big bad Dane Vogel, voiced by Jay Mohr makes a triumphant return) as well as make allies with some of Hell’s most famous residents like Shakespeare, Vlad the Impaler and Blackbeard but their roles are reduced to little more than cameos and rarely heard from again. The plan to get the President back is simple, make enough chaos and noise in hell to draw Satan out and into a confrontation and you’ll apparently do that by doing everything that was a side mission in the actual Saints Row games. Rampage missions, racing missions, fraud missions, yep they’re all here but unfortunately they don’t carry as much weight when they’re supposed to be the game’s main content.
"... the best addition is the ability fly throughout the city."
Like in Saints Row IV, you’ll have an impressive amount of super abilities to conquer hell with. Like the majority of the game, a good amount of these are recycled. Telekinesis is gone in favor of the ability to summon demons and other creatures to take out your enemies. New Hades is played out well enough that these powers are fun to experiment with, especially the super jump ability. By far though the best addition is the ability fly throughout the city. It’s thrilling and even a bit challenging to soar through Hades thanks to an intuitive control scheme that actually requires practice to master. All flying takes stamina and you’ve got a limited amount of time and flaps (which gain speed) before you’ve got to touch down. The world map is definitely built with flying in mind as there are great perches to land on and challenges that take you through long tunnels and some interesting terrain.
I played through Gat out of Hell very quickly, but not because I tried to. I spent a good portion of my time with Gat out of Hell wondering if I was missing something. I would scour the quest log thinking I was missing something that would propel the game forward but I never found it. Gat out of Hell’s mayhem is fun on it’s own, but it always felt like it was missing something, something big. There are plenty of great, creative weapons to try out against your foes in hell, and you can level them all up, but the game is so easy to begin with that it almost feels unfair to level up all of your powers and weapons to almost god like levels. Gat out of Hell feels like it has all of the pieces in hand for a great and fun expansion pack, but it has no clue how to put them together.
With Gat out of Hell, you’re getting what you expect from the Saints Row series. It does nearly everything the franchise is known for but it does so in such an uninspired manner that you’re going to think you’re missing something. There are moments of greatness to be found in New Hades but they’re so few and far between that they feel like exceptions to the rules that the game creates for itself. Fans of the Saints Row series will have fun with this expansion, but everyone else may be looking for a quick trip to the land of the living.
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