What happens after you’ve risen up the ranks, taken control of a gang, destroyed all your street rivals, became the president of the United States, and fought off an invading alien race in a digital realm? You get kidnapped by Satan himself and taken straight to Hell, or at least according to Volition and High Voltage Software’s Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, the latest standalone expansion for the campy, action-packed third-person open world adventure game. With the president out of the picture and held by the king of the underworld, Johnny Gat, the newly resurrected and legendary member of the Third Street Saints, and Kinzie Kensington, the brains behind the crew, descend into the Abyss to save their leader from eternal damnation, and of course give us a couple more hours of explosive, balls to the wall entertainment.
Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell
Developed by Volition and High Voltage Software / Published by Deep Silver
Available on the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Reviewed on the PC.
Gat Out Of Hell is not that different from what we’ve already seen in Saints Row IV, with players completing a variety of fun and usually ridiculous missions while having the liberty to participate in a assortment of activities whenever they want, but the focus is still on superpowered characters capable of supernatural feats instead of the typical open world activity of driving around in vehicles from place to place (though cars are still around, if you prefer to take your time getting somewhere).
Players switch between Johnny or Kinzie, and start off the game powerless; but in true SR IV fashion and after a couple of quick introductory missions, they’ll gain the power of super sprinting and flight, kicking off the player’s mad and extremely entertaining rampages through the surprisingly tame realm of fire and brimstone. Eventually, players will get access to other useful and offensive powers as well, such as the ability to summon attacking imps, turn enemies into stone, and more, making them bonafide badasses when it comes to taking on the legions of hell. Then there’s also a crazy selection of guns too, which aren’t too far behind in absurdity and awesomeness – thanks to many of the designs being inspired by Hell itself or just a combination of ridiculous things – that are insanely fun to use and experiment with in the quest to thin out Hell’s ranks. Just like SR IV, guns and abilities can be also be upgraded as well by collecting cash and souls, allowing them to be powered up for even more pain and damage potential, and allowing you to own any opposition.
Just like its predecessor, Gat Out Of Hell controls extremely well, with smooth as butter running and gunning, and easy to use super powers at the tap of a button. Flying around New Hades with angel wings is definitively the highlight of the game though, as it controls so well and can quickly become your favorite thing to do as explore the environment, weaving your way through buildings and other structures like a boss.
While the main campaign is pretty short (it’s an expansion after all) and it’s further compounded by the lack of any real missions (the game makes players go from one activity to another in order to progress through the story), the game does have a high number of things to do, padding the experience a bit. There’s a high number of collectables (souls clusters, character journals and observations, secret glyphs and unlockable chests, etc.) to pick up, various activities (some similar to previous ones in the series, like rag dolling against traffic in Torment Fraud, destroying everything in sight in Mayhem; others new, like catching falling souls in Salvation, or racing through aerial checkpoints in Hellblazing), and a number of diversions that’ll have players race around the map searching every nook and cranny and completing everything in sight. The game also features co-op, for those who’d like to take on the minions of hell together and complete some activities in tandem.
Despite all the fun you’ll be having though, the game is far from perfect. There are minor clipping issues, the framerate chugs occasionally – especially when the special melee attack animations play out, other animations occasionally glitch out, and the player character can sometimes get stuck in the environment. Most of these are minor issues, but they rear their ugly heads quite a bit from time to time.
Gat Out Of Hell is a decent standalone expansion to Saints Row IV, bringing forth more wacky, action-packed gameplay to a whole new setting. The story is a bit too short for my liking and the game has a couple of noticeable issues, but overall it’s a genuinely fun addition to constantly improving series.