Saints Row: Gat out of Hell Review (Xbox 360)

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Developer: High Voltage Software/Volition
Publisher: Deep Silver

Main Review

Review Context: I have gone through all the Saints Row games, and they’ve made me like open-world games that don’t take themselves seriously, which is what the series did with Saints Row: The Third.
Date of Playthrough: January 20, 2015 (Release Day)

After the crazy ending for Saints Row IV, many wondered where the series can go next. At PAX Prime, it was shown that the game will venture to Hell to save your character, with you playing as fan favorite Johnny Gat or Kenzie Kensington. The reaction was mixed due to the city being half the size of Steelport and not being able to play your character. Are you ready to ride on the highway to hell, or should you ignore this and stay in purgatory?

Graphics

The visuals haven’t changed much from Saints Row IV, though new animations have been added for Gat and Kenzie’s melee attack. Hell has an evil but fun look to it. The city crawling with empty souls (that can be mistaken for zombie) and vehicles have a trash makeover, which makes sense since car bodies can’t last in extreme conditions. The cutscenes are done in the style of a story book, which does add a nice touch. I came across problems in my playthrough when the game froze up on me, but it wasn’t bad since it only happened twice.

GatOutofHellScreen01

Controls

The gameplay has stayed the same as well for the most part, with switching weapons and using super.. I mean demonic powers, but the new gameplay is the ability to fly. When you earn this ability you will be able to get to locations faster by flying. I am surprised that the taunt button is not used in this game. As I’ll get to later, when you drive a vehicle there is no radio button as well. The driving controls are untouched, having that arcade feel and fun to handle for the short time you do this.

Design

The story in Saints Row: Gat out of Hell takes place after the events of Saints Row IV, which means you will encounter spoilers. You get assistance from Dane Volgel (Boss you killed in Saints Row 2) to save your character from getting married against your will to Jezebel (Satan’s daughter). You have to perform side missions for other people to increase your chaos meter to get Satan’s attention. It’s nice to see different takes on famous historians like William Shakespeare running DJ at a club, and having Vlad the Impaler in an insane asylum singing “The Wheels on the Bus.” You can choose to play as Gat or Kenzie, but during cutscenes the focus is on Gat, as well as the final boss battle. After you help out your pals they give you a new power, and it’s up to you to upgrade your powers in the same vein as Saints Row IV by collecting orbs (Gat and Kenzie make this reference). When you improve your flight ability you can fly faster and longer, but they do limit you by having demons shoot missiles at you, making you stop and take out 25 of the silos spread throughout the city. I am disappointed the game removed a lot of customization from the game. Players can’t change Gat or Kenzie’s attire, weapons, or vehicles.

GatOutofHellScreen02

After doing all the sidequests and the main story I managed to beat the game in 8 hours, so this could be a dealbreaker for some. However, this is an expansion and not the full game, as I’m sure the core team is making the next installment of the franchise. The game does have multiple endings to replay to see all of them. I noticed the “reboot” ending is the one most people liked the most. There are also lots of collectables to find, as well as replaying activities for a better medal. The game supports online co-op for more mayhem fun.

Sound

The voice overs are done well with more self-adware humor, but the best moment of the game is something that was spoiled in the trailer, which was when the characters started singing in a style like you’re watching a Disney movie. Since I knew this would happen, the impact wasn’t as great as if I had seen that with no expectations. The in-game music gets the vibe of being in Hell well, but the lack of the MP3 feature from Saints Row IV (letting you hear music in a vehicle or on foot) is absent, so most of the time you hear background noise. I did notice moments when the audio would cut out for a brief moment during my playtime.

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