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‘Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell’ Review: It Gives You Wiiings

The Saints have conquered everything from The Matrix to the moon, it was really just a matter of time before they took on Hell itself. I adore Saints Row because it’s a series that, with the exception of the first game, never takes itself too seriously. Nothing is off limits, everything exists to be made into a joke, and Volition has proven adept at doing just that.

The version of Hell we see in the standalone expansion Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell has that familiar fire and brimstone look, complete with lava pits, tortured souls and a liberal smattering of dirt and grime.

Like everything else this series parodies, this Hell has been molded to fit in with the self-aware humor and dirty jokes that have become staples of this franchise. There are more single entendres than you could shake a pitchfork at, but I never got tired of them.

The story doesn’t try too hard to make sense, though I’m more than willing to forgive that since it allows us to step into the sneakers of everyone’s favorite anti-hero, Gat. For a reason that’s either not explained or I’ve since forgotten, Satan abducts the leader of the Saints, dragging him/her down to Hell so he/she can marry his daughter. Gat and Kinzie go in to retrieve their boss, and from there, we’re treated to more Saints Row.

I wish Volition had done more to make this expansion worth playing for those of us who have played most or all of the other Saints Row games. As it is, the only new feature, aside from the location, is the introduction of wings. Flying around is easy and it gets exponentially more enjoyable the more upgrades you unlock.

Gat Out of Hell is essentially a slimmed down version of Saints Row IV, with a fire red coat of paint slapped on it. Character customization, vehicle customization, and a number of other features have been removed, possibly to keep us from getting distracted by what color we want the interior of the car we’ll never use.

While we’re on the subject of vehicles, it’s worth mentioning that this expansion takes them out of the equation. It’s not surprising, Saints Row IV also went to great lengths to make vehicular transportation obsolete. I wouldn’t be surprised if this shift away from using vehicles continued with the inevitable next game.

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Weapon customization is one of the few remaining features that hasn’t been dropped, and I dare say this is the best arsenal yet for the series. The weapon types are familiar — pistols, machine guns, explosives, hooker bludgeoning tools melee weapons, etc. — only they’re Hell-themed now.

There’s a gun that shoots homing bugs, and another that fires explosive frogs. The real stand-outs are the weapons that represent each of the seven deadly sins. My personal favorite was Sloth, because it let me massacre fools from the comfort of a recliner that had been outfitted with homing missiles and ridiculously powerful turrets.

Gat/Kinzie’s abilities have been tweaked, too.

Gat Out of Hell will take about four hours to complete. A plethora of collectible items have been scattered about, hidden and waiting for some smart-mouthed man with tasteful shades — or smart-mouthed woman with tasteful glasses — to collect them. The motivation for doing so isn’t really there, but that didn’t keep me from finding every last one of them.

Because this expansion comes bundled with Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, let’s touch on that real quick. I spent maybe 5-6 hours with it on Xbox One on top of another 30 or so when it released last year for last-gen consoles. Unless something drastic happens 10-ish hours in, this is a tough recommendation if you’ve already played it. If you haven’t, by all means, jump in.

The abilities are as wildly overpowered as they were before, and slight improvements have been made to the lighting, which is nice. The game does bring with it all of the DLC, including the Enter the Dominatrix expansion that breaks the fourth wall more times than I broke the feeble bones of the elderly who strayed too close to the fancy faux-Lamborghini I just stole from what I’m sure had to have been a terrible person — who else would own a car that costs a quarter of a million dollars?

Re-Elected is barely worth the purchase, and unfortunately, Gat Out of Hell does little to make up for that. It’s one part musical, two parts eagle simulator, and the rest mostly consists of jokes and stuff going boom. This isn’t the current-gen debut I would’ve liked to see from this series, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit forgettable, romp through Hell.

The Final Word: Gat Out of Hell is an irrelevant, irreverent and incredibly addictive ride through Hell, even if it does little but glide on the ideas of its predecessor.

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