A Hell of a Good Time
I really love Saints Row . I love what it has become, and I love the continued path it keeps going down. When the first entry came out all those years ago I felt the same as everyone else, but since Saints Row: The Third hit the series has accepted the fact it is not Grand Theft Auto and therefore everything is just tossed to the wind and they are good games. Good solid enjoyable little adventures with nothing too heavy. You’re not saving the world, you’re not fighting the oncoming or already happened apocalypse, you’re simply taking care of your crew no matter the cost, even if the cost just so happens mean you go to Hell and $%^k everything up.
Such is the case of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell . Johnny Gat, long time best friend of the leader of the Saints and Kinzie Kinsington are thrown into the underworld after the President is nabbed by Satan to marry his daughter Jezebel. Once Gat hits the nether realm though Jezebel no longer wants to marry the President and instead wants to marry the most ruthless mortal she has ever meet, Johnny Gat. Gat and Kinzie will team-up with old enemies of the Saints as well as old Saints themselves in order to usurp the Lord of the Underworld and get the President back to the mortal plane. Oh, did I mention there’s a musical number too?
This is the beauty of the overarching storyline of the Saints games. There always this weird line in which you think to yourself they won’t cross that. Hmm, let’s see–give them super powers, check, make them the president, check, allow them to hit people with a purple dildo, why the frak not. Continuing this thought process the developers decided the best thing to give you an advantage in hell was to give you the broken Halo of Lucifer. Yep, won’t win any friends with the folks over at Westboro any time soon. The Halo grants you the ability to sprint really fast (like you were able to in Saints Row IV ) but the real change to the gameplay this time out are Lucifer’s charred still smoldering with embers angelic wings. Again not going to win any friends with their religious overtures. Oh and Hell just so happens to have an eerie resemblance to Steelport, and cars, demons driving cars and motorcycles.
The ability to fly is something I assume doesn’t seem like it would fit well inside the Saints , but it does and it makes the game more enjoyable as you progress through the various side missions and choirs Johnny will have to do in order to finish his mission. Oh and it kinda looks badass too. Just like Saints Row IV , you will need to upgrade your abilities and then yourself in order to truly open the games full potential. After all gaining your bonuses early on, just like anything else, will allow you to breeze through various missions without a care. For example, there is a mission you will have to do if you work on the Loyalty Quests first in which you have to save souls that are falling into hell. If you didn’t take a playful traipse through Hell collecting Soul Clusters or doing various other side quests then that mission in itself is going to make you want to pull your hair out. Simple advice, enjoy Hell a little before really diving into the meat of the story.
Actually this is one of my complaints about Gat out of Hell . Yes there is a story, but it is not feed to you in a traditional way. Instead you get the basic overarch, you get little cutscenes, you interested anecdotes as you move through doing various things, but it doesn’t really feel like that was a focus. It’s weird and odd how it plays out at time. For example, I was racing and flying around goofing off, shooting random people, and doing enjoyable (morally wrong) things and then all of the sudden I get a cutscene involving Satan and Jezebel. Albeit enjoyable, it was sort of off putting to have this happen seemingly randomly. I won’t even go as far as to say this is a complaint really, but more of and odd thing while I was playing.
Speaking of odd, some of the people you befriend and then have to gain their loyalty made me scratch my head. People that you have no problem believing they are in hell are present for you to team up with. Like, Vlad the Impaler seems very typical, the pirate Blackbeard again seems self explanatory, the Twins who tried to off Johnny in Saints Row the Third , Dane Vogel – the antagonist from Saints Row 2 . All of those makes sense to me as to why they would be there. The shocker though, William Shakespeare. Apparently he sold his soul to be famous and was a ruthless d*ck when he got to Hell, but then wound up being the equivalent of a disc jockey at one of Hell’s prime clubs, who loves to monologue.
Each “new friend” you gain gives you a new ability to play around with. Vlad lets you channel aura to allow you to harness cold, seems pretty in Hell, the Twins grant you ability to blast and turn people to stone briefly, Blackbeard teaches you how to summon things to your aid like little imps, and ol’Bill teaching you how to stomp and send everything flying away from you. Each one has their advantages but learning how to master using multiples at once is truly rewarding.
However that is something I found at times difficult. There seems to be far too much mapped out on the controls. Which is a problem when looking at how much you are trying to enjoy the gameplay. Having the shoot mechanic also work as a tiered functionality on the abilities was often difficult to keep track of. Simple as this, when you start playing a game there’s this window of “tutorial” (for lack of a better term) that you give yourself to accustom yourself to those controls. Gat out of Hell just seems fairly loaded with a giant arsenal of various ways to play through the game. I like variety but I also happen to enjoy simplicity and would have liked things to have been a little more crisp in this department. Especially with the amount of time I want to put into this game.
Right off the bat, once you run into Dan, you already have like 51 quests you can do. This only continues to grow as you progress through the game. I already mentioned the side quests of saving the falling souls, but you also have the ability to play as one of the Husks (damned souls) in order to cause as much damage, or as they put it, years in which they’ve been tortured, and then of course the normal stuff like causing as much destruction as possible, races (only this time they are flying races), find various collectibles hidden all over Hell. There’s no shortage of stuff to do in this game.
Things are only made more enjoyable by the voice cast of the game. Everyone nails their respective characters and continue the level of amusing self-aware mentality that has been present for the past couple of games. If you are a comic book fan, think Deadpool only a little more contained when it comes to the fourth wall. Hey did I mention there are musical numbers in this game.
Graphically, this is a solid looking game. Nothing too glamorous, everything just seems like a typical Saints Row game but a little sharper more polished here and there. During my time with the game I have to say it was a very pleasing Hell of an experience. I do wonder is we will see the day when Saints Row games start “growing-up” I really hope not. The stylized fun approach to the series is really what helps it retain its own path and helps define it in its own right.
In the end, should you pick the latest Saints Row chapter? Why the Hell not? The Saints games have continued to walk their own path and if you’ve been enjoying the recent experiences they’ve been throwing at us, then there is simply no reason to not get this one. Tons of gameplay, awesome new abilities, and probably the most enjoyable time anyone would really spend in Hell. Yeah I’m sold and you will be too.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.1 Graphics
It a good presentation but not necessarily anything we haven’t seen already. 4.0 Control
Even after a few hours of playing the controls can feel a little cumbersome. 4.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great voice cast delivers a lot of joyous dialogue and so much more. 4.2 Play Value
There’s a ton to do right from the get go, and the story is engaging. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|