Saints Row is insane. Not literally, it’s not a real person. But the series has gone from Grand Theft Auto look-alike to some kind of crazy gangster superhero fantasy and that’s been great for the last two games in the series, but it’s beginning to lose it’s luster. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is a stand-alone game that puts you in the shoes of one of the most popular Saints out there, Johnny Gat (and also Kinzie). The issue with Gat out of Hell is less that it’s not fun, because there is some fun to be had, but more that the over-the-top antics of Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV have started to lose their pull and the game has not aged well in a transition to next-generation consoles. Don’t get my words wrong though, the pack contains some fun, I’m just hoping this is the last we see for a while of the over the top Saints and their basic crazy missions that become tedious, and we get a bit more technical goodies when the inevitable Saints Row Five comes around. Gat out of Hell is out on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC for $19.99.
The basic set-up of Gat out of Hell is that your character from the previous games (now the President) is celebrating Kinzie’s birthday on the ship you end Saints IV on, when the group begins messing with a ouija board and a portal is opened up throwing the President into hell and into an arranged marriage with Satan’s daughter Jezebel. Naturally Johnny Gat goes in after you and Kinzie joins up as well. The entirety of the game is spent playing as Johnny or Kinzie (you can switch at any time) as they try to rescue the President and kill Satan. Pretty much a plot that only Saints Row could pull off. The plot is fine, but the storytelling is what stands out. They use a storybook telling method with book pages and narration overlying the story segments that does a good job of laying everything out to the player. Overall the story is solid, so if you’re just in this to see more Saints humor and story you won’t be disappointed.
The gameplay and movement is well done in the game as well, the problem is more in the simplistic mission design. You get a new flight mechanic where Johnny gets wings, and it’s a blast flying around the city and collecting orbs. Along with flight are the typical super speed, and some new skills like summoning minions. Everything in the gameplay department is similar in style to Saints Row IV, with a few new moves and tweaks. I really enjoyed just flying around the city most in Gat out of Hell. Everything looks pretty crisp, the game runs at a solid framerate, and the world has it’s own unique hell-based style that is actually cool to look at (despite some of the city being based on the same one from the past two games). The missions themselves are where Gat out of Hell falters. They introduce some interesting characters, but a lot of the missions are just “kill X amount of guys” or “help me do this thing!.” If the missions were a lot more fleshed out and unique to the characters they represent this would have been a much better game.
Overall Saints Row Gat out of Hell is a decent little side game to the main series, but it carries some of the issues the previous games have had as well. The gameplay is fun, but the missions are not. You’ll get some solid storytelling with a side of comedy and mayhem, though, and maybe that’s all people want from a Saints Row game at this point. I, for one, would love to see a return to the roots for Saints Row Five. My suggestion is to wait for a price drop on this one, or get it for free on PlayStation Plus when it inevitably makes its way there.