The Saints Row franchise has gone through several permutations before finally finding its voice in Saints Row IV. While the gangster-spoof vibe persisted with each release, developer Volition shifted towards a more comic-inspired approach by adding superpowers and exaggerating the characters further. They introduced just enough changes to differentiate the series from Grand Theft Auto, without losing the established tone and style of the first two titles. While an official fifth installment remains unannounced, publisher Deep Silver is releasing a superb stand-alone DLC with their SR IV HD remake that celebrates Saints Row’s absurdity. Gat Out of Hell is like the Saints’ greatest hits collection. It’s a silly and well written side story featuring Saints Row favorite Gat. It’s a great way to experience Saints’ explosive action and humor on next-gen consoles, even if it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
"It’s a great way to experience Saints’ explosive action and humor on next-gen consoles, even if it doesn’t bring anything new to the table."
As the title suggests, Gat Out of Hell revolves around everyone’s favorite Saint wreaking chaos in the underworld and pissing off Satan. After being kidnapped at Kinzie’s birthday party, the Saints’ leader is forced into marrying Satan’s daughter Jezebel. After opening the gates to hell with a Ouija board, Gat and Kinzie set out to free their boss. The plot is silly and captures the Saints’ colorful universe perfectly. Newcomers may not grasp all the SR inside jokes, or even know who Gat is, but the writing is so hilarious and the action so frenzied, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a longtime fan or not.
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a sandbox in hell. The mission structure differs little from other open-world games, but its uniqueness lies in the over-the-top action and satirical narrative. Saints Row is about brainless fun. It’s a video game in its purest form. It’s about blowing things up, feeling invincible and embracing idiocy. If recruiting a DJ Shakespeare to fight Satan sounds like fun, then Gat Out of Hell certainly delivers.
"It’s a video game in its purest form. It’s about blowing things up, feeling invincible and embracing idiocy."
Players can switch between Gat and Kinzie when playing solo, or they can team up with a buddy and play the entire storyline via co-op. The goal is to cause enough chaos and destruction to get Satan’s attention. This involves recruiting famous historical figures, killing demons, demolishing Satan’s structures and unlocking new abilities. The gameplay is an extension of Saints Row IV, but with an “underworldly” flavor. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as all activities are exciting, but SR veterans hoping for a lot of new content may walk away craving more.
Furthermore, those expecting a true next-gen Saints Row adventure may be disappointed. Visually, Gat Out of Hell is a cleaner and better looking Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 game. The enhanced resolution, textures and lighting are appreciated, but Volition could have done more to take advantage of Playstation 4’s hardware. The anti aliasing is rough and the frame rate unstable. While there’s a 30 fps lock in the options menu, it does nothing to improve performance. Considering the game’s chaotic nature, the technical inconsistencies are frustrating and disappointing.
"It’s not very challenging or deep, but there’s nothing wrong with just having stupendous fun."
But despite its lack of variety and last-gen visuals, Gat Out of Hell is still a blast and offers plenty of collectibles and unlockables. Much like Prototype, Saints Row is one of the few games that allows gamers to act out their wildest comic book fantasies. It’s not very challenging or deep, but there’s nothing wrong with just having stupendous fun. Like the Dynasty Warriors franchise, it succeeds by keeping things simple and enjoyable.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Playstation 4