Saints Row: Gat out of Hell on PlayStation 4
In August of 2013 Volition released the fourth entry in their Saints Row series to much fanfare. What originally was planned as an expansion to Saints Row: The Third grew to be its very own title that introduced super powers to the series’s open world hijinks. It was a new twist on an established formula that was almost a complete success. Now, well over a year later, Volition aims to strike gold once again with the latest stand-alone expansion Gat out of Hell.
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell picks up shortly after where Saints Row IV left off. The boss/president of the USA, you, has defeated Zinyak and saved the remnants of humanity from utter annihilation. Everything is going so well that you and your gang feel safe enough to celebrate Kinzie’s birthday with a bit of ouija board shenanigans. Unfortunately those very shenanigans break that streak of everything going well and sets the stage for the Saints’ next adventure.
The boss has been dragged down into the pits of hell for some scheme hatched by Satan himself. It is now up to everyone’s favorite long-standing member of the Third Street Saints Johnny Gat, and Kenzie Kensington to explore the bowels of the underworld and save the boss. For the first time you will play as someone other than yourself as you attempt to do nothing other but save, you guessed it, yourself.
At first glance, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell may seem like a re-skinned release of Saints Row IV ,and you honestly couldn’t be blamed for thinking so. Both place you in a weird city with super-human abilities, insane weapons, and enemies that are anything but human. But where Gat out of Hell shines is the way it manages to improve on all of the shortcomings of the main title. The studio shows that it learned from and listened to feedback in order to provide a truly fun experience.
If you happened to play Saints Row IV or any of its previous expansions you may have noticed that vehicles were pretty much useless after a certain point. The introduction of super abilities made the need for a car non-existent. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell recognizes this from the very beginning and shifts the focus to super powered traversal. This focus shows in the mission structure and even permeates the very level design.
New Hades, the hellish city you’ve fallen into, has a much more interesting design then those of Saints Row‘s past. If you’re worried that the trip to hell eliminated the city towers you’ve come to know and love, worry no more because they are present and accounted for. The major difference is that the developers took into account that you are now capable of flight. You now have tunnels, valleys, cut outs in buildings and other tight spaces for you to navigate in order to make flight truly engaging.
Combat has received some much needed life in the form of more difficult enemies. Enemies are smarter this time around and will use their abilities to maintain the upper hand in battle. Snipers will teleport once you get a bead on them, truck drivers will catapult over obstacles to get to you unlike in past games, and there are many more airborne enemies. Weapon variation between enemies also makes for interesting scenarios.
Don’t worry not all of the cool weapons are reserved for the minions of Satan, there are quite a few reserved only for your enjoyment. Seven weapons known as the 7 Deadly Sins are scattered around New Hades to be found and used against the denizens of hell. Each one is the physical manifestation of a sin in weapon form. Take the sloth weapon for instance, gatling guns affixed to an armchair produce the Armchair A Geddon, sit back and relax as the death flies at hundreds of rounds per second.
The whole theme centered on hell is even used to make for interesting NPCs. Fans of the series should already know that you end up killing many, many major characters throughout the course of your adventures. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell uses that knowledge to reintroduce some fan favorites throughout the story. Whether they are used just as a nod towards the past, or as allies to help you in your fight, seeing each and every single one of them will send your nostalgia into overdrive.
The writing is top-notch as well. While you won’t get a deep storyline that will make you question existence, or send you to seek out deeper meaning in any of the many characters, you will get a game that is funny from beginning to end. From arguments with former nemeses to musical scores (yeah, you read that right) the writing never fails to deliver. Even the characters are aware of everything going on and will occasionally break the fourth wall.
The cherry on top of Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is its standalone status. You can enjoy all the super-powered, brimstone infused, over the top action of this expansion without every having owned Saints Row IV. It’s easy to overlook this tidbit, but the ability to play an expansion on its own definitely removes a lot of the risk, and allows you to relax and enjoy the game.
Volition have done a great job with this expansion, but it isn’t without it’s issues. The game is very pretty but it does have occasional framerate dips, especially when the action on screen becomes intense. It also crashed a couple of times throughout the play-through. It didn’t occur enough to be considered game-breaking, but anything that interferes with the sheer amount of fun present in Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is something worth mentioning.
But, even with the occasional hiccups Saints Row: Gat out of Hell manages to be a completely worthwhile experience. The first new city since Saints Row: The Third, great characters, hilarious writing, awesome weapons, and a much more refined focus on gameplay all lend to the overall sense of fun that permeates every aspect of the game. At a price tag of $20 USD it is definitely worth picking up.
For more information on Saints Row: Gat out of Hell check out the official page.