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Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell review: A great expansion that deserves even more

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 20, 2015
Here's a hypothetical: What if you were floating through space with the last remnants of humanity when a Ouija board came to life, opened a portal into Hell, sucked the President of the United States through, and informed you that (s)he's to marry the devil's daughter? What would you do?

Reviewing a Saints Row title is weird though because the developers always do this thing: The game knows that you know that something doesn't quite work, and it acknowledges its own failings. You could look at it as an apology of sorts, or simply as an attempt at lampshading, but either way it's there.

Gat Out of Hell does it. After you trigger the second of three major "events" in the game (by causing enough chaos to draw Satan's attention) there's a cutscene where Johnny Gat is literally sitting in the Volition offices scratching his head while the narrator says that "He accepted the fact that without traditional missions [going off to do arbitrary side content for an arbitrary amount of time] was the best way to further the story."

So what am I doing writing this review? Calling out something that Volition already knew was potentially a problem while working on Gat Out of Hell?

The other big letdown for me: No licensed soundtrack. Music is expensive, and that's clearly one of the areas where Volition saved on budget this time. If you were hoping to hear Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell while playing Gat Out of Hell, I hope you have Spotify loaded up in the background. (I certainly did.)

Bottom line

I stand by what I said in my preview: Gat Out of Hell is a hell of a lot of fun. The flight mechanics are fantastic, the new arsenal of weapons is as creative as any other Saints Row title, and the game basically fixes all the problems I had with Saints Row IV as an open-world game. It's a bite-sized portion to hold you over until the inevitable (and larger) Saints Row V.

The only thing that sucks is looking at what's here — the setting, the characters, the various storylines, the weapons, the powers — and thinking of what could've been done with them had they been given a full-sized, numbered-sequel budget. In other words, if Saints Row V had been set in Hell and followed the same plot, but expanded on its characters and world. In other other words, if Volition had done with Gat Out of Hell what it did with Saints Row IV (which was originally scoped to be a Saints Row the Third expansion).

But if Volition considers this wealth of jokes "B-side" content, hopefully that means we're in for something really special with the actual Saints Row V? I can dream.

 

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