Disclaimer: I worked at Volition for 4 years, however that was about 8 years ago. I worked on Saints Row 2 and it was my first job in the games industry. However I paid for this game (And in fact paid for it twice), have not had a connection to the series since Saints Row 2, and while I know some of the people still at the company, I do not believe that reflects on this review. I am only including this in the interest of disclosure.
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is the fifth Saints Row game, and the first to not be fully developed by Volition. It’s also the first one not numbered, and also the first one that doesn’t have a strong narrative throughout missions.
This last piece is the biggest issue with Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell. Instead of a standard 20-30 story missions, there’s a single final mission in the game to tell the story, and a number of optional side missions that slightly relate to this. There’s cutscenes, including a very funny musical number but they occur at “random” points in the game, and by that I mean they occur at predetermined percent complete points. And they come fast if you’re just beating every mission you can. Instead of a well developed narrative about hell, we get a brief tour.
The story is the “President” from Saints Row 4 (The player’s character, which is somehow loaded into the game seamlessly, impressive) is kidnapped by Satan when the gang plays with an Ouija Board. Johnny Gat doesn’t take this well, and goes to hell to “shoot Satan in the face”. He’s escorted with Kinzie Kensington. From here they are greeted by Dane Vogel (voiced again by Jay Mohr) and set out to fight the big bad Satan. That’s pretty much the whole story, and the opening cutscene.
In fact, the biggest crime of the game is the criminal underuse of the world and motif. WIthout story missions most of the game is filled with side activities with four story cutscenes interlaced at different points. There are four (technically five) characters that the main character meets, which are Shakespeare, Vlad the Impaler, Blackbeard, and the twins from Saints Row 3. If you are familiar with Saints Row, the idea of having Shakespeare, Vlad, or even Blackbeard as homies is incredible. Having to run missions with them is exciting to think about. Too bad you don’t do either.
Sadly the only one you really interact with is Vlad, and even then it’s over in under a minute. None of the characters hang out with you or work with you. You don’t run missions with them, or anything beyond the few seconds of meeting them. You will get a few collectible tomes in their voices, a few sayings when you see them at their assigned locations, and that’s it. It’s underwhelming, when you take three incredible characters full of potential, and don’t use them. They don’t even appear in the final fight. Such an incredible waste of famous characters.
But not everything is hellish in this game. There a very bright point in the game, flight. The player is able to use a famous artifact given very early (less than half an hour) in the game to gain wings and take to the air, and this is easily my favorite part of the game. Saints Row IV had the feeling of flight while propelling the player through the air, Gat Out Of Hell perfects it and delivers true flight, and it works wonderfully. In fact I never had a problem with going even across the entire map because it’s just a joy to take to the air and fly between points.
While there’s a lack of main story missions in the game, there’s still a lot to do in the game, I believe trying to do every challenge every mission, and every thing I can in the game took me close to 25 hours. I may have wasted some time doing things in a less than optimal manner, I still spent a good amount of time in this game. If you are a completionist there’s a lot of things to sink your time in, yet sadly nothing ever reaches the heights of the series previous entries it’s still interesting twists on classic gameplay.
The four major activities are Hell Blazing, Salvation, Mayhem, and Torture Fraud. The first two using the new world to all it can, requiring use of flight to complete a race, and catch falling souls respectively. The later two are remakes of the classic Mayhem and Insurance Fraud which have been series staples since the original game.
There’s a series of other minor activities such as survival, and then a massive number of collectibles to round up, almost double what was available in Saints Row IV. Nothing will stand out, but nothing really feels out of place in this sandbox game.
Ultimately Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell isn’t a great game, it’s not a fully fledged game, but it was created as a standalone expansion retailing for $19.99. I would have prefered Saint Row 5, and I am still holding out hope, as I am not as big a fan of Agents of Mayhem but I bought Saints Row Gat Out Of Hell for both Playstation 4 and Steam, and played through it twice, enjoying it both times.
The flight system is still excellent, and the powers are fun. If you want a long narrative story, and classic Saints Row gameplay, that’s not here. However if you enjoyed Saints Row IV’s super powers and want to add flight on top of it, as well as a whole new (and unique) city to use them in. Saints Row: Gat Out Of hell will entertain you for a decent while.
If enjoyed this review or you want to see what games I would or would not recommend, you can find my curator page at this link. http://store.steampowered.com/curator/31803828-Kinglink-Revi...