Johnny, and the Lords of the Underworld.
The Saints Row franchise has come a long way. Starting off as a clone of another popular open-world crime simulator, the series has spun off into ridiculous directions, with each iteration raising the bar for insanity. Gat Out of Hell takes this one final step by tossing our protagonists into the underworld and adding the power everyone has been clamoring for: flight. Even with minimal upgrades this $20 stand-alone expansion packs enough punch to drag me back into the world one last time before we get a proper upgrade to the new consoles.
As I mentioned Gat Out of Hell is stand-alone, meaning anyone can download it and play without having to own Saints Row IV. However, those having never played the fourth entry would do well by picking up the Re-Elected edition of the game for the new consoles as it packs this new expansion, the entire original game, as well as its two substantial add-ons, The Saints Save Christmas and Enter the Dominatrix. Both of these are fantastic additions to an already great package, and for $50 the entire thing screams value.
MSRP: $19.99 stand-alone, $49.99 bundled with Re-Elected Edition
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, PS3, 360
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
Gat Out of Hell follows a familiar structure as previous games with lots of side diversions to progress the main story. The difference this time around is that the playable characters are Gat and Kinzie, as opposed to my created boss of the Saints. As I completed missions I slowly filled up a meter to antagonize Satan, ultimately leading to a final showdown to save the president from holy matrimony with his daughter.
Powers return with the aforementioned flight being the biggest update. Blast, stomp, and aura also return, with a fourth new power coming in the form of summoning. I really enjoyed spawning imps to explode on my enemies, and even eventually a larger sidekick to distract enemies.
Powers are still upgraded by collecting orbs, with the addition of a new flight mechanic one. These basically consist of flying into a starting orb, then completing the string before they disappear. Upgrades are still plentiful, and by the time I maxed out flight, I could soar from one end of the map to the other. This power has to be in the next game or it is a serious step backward.
Weapons played a bigger role for me this time around thanks to the deadly sin inclusions. The chair with mounted machine guns and the frog launcher are among my favorites. I found myself upgrading weapons much more frequently in this expansion. Needless to say there are multiple methods of disposing of the demon horde, and all of them are satisfying.
With the focus being on main characters now some things have changed though. For example all of the customization is gone. No changing outfits and the lack of music to listen to made me sad. I would have loved a hell-specific radio station with some death metal tracks to play to.
All that said Gat Out of Hell is still a Saints Row experience, for better or worse. There is nothing revolutionary here, but I once again got lost in collecting orbs and overthrowing the hordes of the underworld. This also spills over into the Re-Elected version of the original game, which I am now playing on Xbox One.
The Re-Elected edition is packed with the original game as well as both expansions. Both Gat Out of Hell and this port do suffer from minor technical issues in the frame rate department though, which is disappointing. Still not as bad as the 360/PS3 incarnations, but not where this game should be on the new consoles. I am in love all over with Saints Row IV, after feeling lukewarm after it ended, my third play through has been my most enjoyable yet.
Gat Out of Hell can be wrapped up in just a few hours, but completionists could spend upwards of ten hours. The Re-Elected edition still packs at least 50 hours with the expansions, so combine them all and you have an amazing package at $50. For those never venturing into Saints Row IV this is a must-buy, and for those that did, Gat Out of Hell is a solid expansion that should satiate the hunger for the inevitable Saints Row V we all hope is coming sooner rather than later.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.