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Review: Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (PS4)
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (PS4) Review
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Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is the easiest game I’ve played in ages. Coming in at around four hours (if you’re relatively direct), this standalone expansion is a breeze. The combat is undemanding, the supernatural abilities are hilariously overpowered, and even the final boss is a pussycat. You’d get more of a challenge playing Barbie’s Dreamhouse Party.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In Gat Out of Hell, the President of the United States has been abducted by Satan and forced into an engagement with Jezebel, the devil’s daughter. Eager to rescue their boss, Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington descend into hell intending to “shoot Satan in the fucking face.”

The setting riffs on the concept established by Saints Row IV, except rather than a simulation of Steelport the city is dressed up like hell. In New Hades, spread across five islands, Lava pools replace lakes, tormented souls replace civilians, and various flavours of demon replace the police. Everything is dark and glows red with comedy evil.

In order to rescue the President, Gat and Kinzie (you can play as either, swapping at will) must first get the attention of Satan, running amok around New Haven and causing as much trouble as possible. This is all tracked on the Satan’s Wrath meter, which when full will trigger the final confrontation: your dance with the devil.

Along the way you’ll trigger static, story-book style cutscenes and a bonkers musical number, proving that Saints Row’s trademark humour is present and correct. Gat Out of Hell lacks the occasional belly laughs of its predecessors, but it’s still funnier than most other games out there. That alone is worthy of some praise.

Helping you in your quest are a handful of familiar but humorously represented “Homies” (I won’t spoil who they are), who act as quest givers, dolling out activities for the player to complete. And that’s probably the most interesting thing about Gat out of Hell. Its structure demands that you complete Activities and Diversions, rather than story missions - there are no story missions, in order to progress.

Mayhem, Fraud, Survival, Vehicle Theft - anyone who has played a Saints Row game in recent years will be familiar with the tasks. The only difference is that they’re now at the heart of the game. Whether you think that’s a stupid decision or not will largely depend on your tolerance for yet more of Saints Row IV’s activities. I rather enjoyed them, despite being acutely aware of their recycled nature.

Spicing things up a little are the new weapons and abilities. Gat and Kinsie can now fly; swooping around New Hades, flapping between skyscrapers, and picking up huge collectible orbs that can be used to unlock further powers. I must have spent an hour doing this, swooshing around the environment. It’s great fun and fantastically liberating, especially when you level up your flight abilities, providing you with bonus speed, agility and airtime.

The new weapons are similarly empowering. Themed around the Seven Deadly Sins, they’re fantastically creative and characteristically ridiculous. The highlight is undoubtedly Armchair-A-Geddon. Representing Sloth, this tattered old recliner features a couple of mini guns as well as homing missiles with a flair for the dramatic. They fizz out of their launchers in the wrong direction, swishing back onto the screen and hitting enemies with a big boom. It’s great fun.

As are the new Active Arcane powers. There’s five in total; Blast allows you to shoot energy at enemies; Summons lets you conjure imps to bother your opponents; Aura lets you charge your body with energy that kills baddies in the vicinity; and Stomp sees you smashing your boot down, sending a wave of destructive energy out around you.

I invested most of my points into Stomp, until it became a beast of a power. In modes like the wave-based Survival, it was almost like a cheat code, blasting everyone and everything around me. The ability has a cooldown, but thanks to the small amount of damage even the largest, meanest enemies can dish out, waiting for it to recharge isn’t an issue. It’s just a few seconds and then POW, everyone’s dead.

Which brings us back to the intro. Gat Out of Hell is ridiculously easy. Sat in my Armchair-A-Geddon, raining missiles on demons, sprinkling them with mini-gun fire and Stomping great big crowds of nasties provided no challenge whatsoever. It’s wish-fulfilment, a superhero fantasy, and it’s fun enough, but when even the final boss failed to provide any resistance, it came as a disappointment. I wanted the king of hell and his minions to put up more of a fight.

I also expected Gat Out of Hell to be a little more visually attractive. Just like Saints Row IV: Re-elected, it looks like a 1080p update of a last-gen game, with a few slightly fancy lighting effects thrown in for good measure. It looks cheap. In fact, the whole experience is a little cheap. With no story missions, previous few new ideas and those static cutscenes, Gat Out of Hell feels like it was knocked out rather quickly.

Gat Out of Hell is fun, and perhaps a good entry point for those new to the series, but the players who have already experienced Saints Row IV and its story-based add-ons will have hoped for more.

 

The weapons sound weak and piddly, but the voice actors are great and clearly have fun with the humorous dialogue. The musical number raises a smile.

Poor. Consoles may have made the jump to a new generation, but Gat Out of Hell hasn’t. Wouldn’t look out of place on PS3.

Flying around the city is enjoyable and some of the new weapons are great, but the lack of challenge makes Gat Out of Hell feel rather pointless.

Not bad for a standalone expansion. The core story can be blasted through in under four hours and there’s plenty of stuff left to do after the credits roll. Co-op is as ever, a nice inclusion.

Mostly made up of completion tasks, the trophy list isn’t the best. Stuff like “Find 64 Tomes” is unimaginative but forgiveable. “Spend over 20 hours in hell” is just painful.

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is the Big Mac of games. You know what you’re getting, it’s a bit cheap, you enjoy eating it, you don’t have to chew and an hour later you’ve forgotten all about it. Utterly unchallenging and lacking in fresh ideas, Gat Out of Hell is still capable of making you smile.

 
 
 
Game Info
Developer:
Volition
Publisher:
Deep Silver
Genre:

Release:

US January 20, 2015
Europe January 23, 2015

Collection:745
Wishlist:50
 
 
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