Game developer Volition released Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell on January 20, 2015. The standalone DLC for the fourth installment of the popular Saints Row series, the game follows Johnny Gat as he goes to Hell on a mission to shoot the Devil in the face. An action-packed third person shooter, Gat Out of Hell received a 3.5/5 on Metacritic and is commended for its open-world environment as well as its classic Saints Row humor. Features Editor Samuel Guglielmo and Managing Editor Beth Peter had a few disagreements about the playability of the game.
BY SAMUEL GUGLIELMO
The big thing that has always appealed to me in the Saints Row games has been its humor, and Gat Out of Hell has that in spades. After Satan decides to kidnap the President of the United States to marry his daughter Jezebel, his two best friends jump in after him. It’s an already absurdly entertaining plot but in typical Saints Row fashion the whole thing gets even more ridiculous. At one point the characters break into a Disney style song, with otherwise serious characters singing their hearts out. In typical Saints Row fashion, the characters are aware of the silliness and a later attempt to break out into song is met with an entertaining “Hush, we’re not doing that again.” The Saints team up with dead historical figures like Blackbeard and Shakespeare, all of whom have their own problems and entertaining quirks.
Gameplay wise, Gat Out of Hell plays similar to Saints Row IV, which is not really a bad thing considering how much fun that game was. It does enough to put its own spin on the formula in three ways I really liked. First was the flight mechanic, something that worked really well and made me hope future games would adopt it. It’s smooth and made getting around the city of New Hades really fun. Second was the Seven Deadly Weapons, which are seven weapons based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Each one is unique and hilarious. Sloth gets a recliner with built in machine guns, for example. It’s as amazing as it sounds. Finally there were new enemy types that littered the game. Instead of fighting the same tired old gang members like past Saints Row games, various demons with special abilities blocked the path. While the game wasn’t overly difficult, it did change how I approached combat more than past Saints Row games did.
At a cheap launch price of $20 (or $50 bundled with Saints Row IV) I found Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell to be worth the time for both fans and newcomers to the series.
BY BETH PETER
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a highly overrated game. While the humor and gameplay are consistent with the Saints Row canon, to enjoy the game would require the player to like the franchise to begin with. Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington tear through Hell making allies with the various historical figures sentenced there on a mission to get the Boss back from the Devil. The Devil is planning to marry his daughter, Jezebel, to the leader of the Saints. After the events of the game, he declares Johnny worthy of marrying her despite the girl’s protests to her father’s actions. Jezebel’s complete distaste for Satan’s choices, along with his decision to ignore her and assert his ownership of her made the game difficult to play through from the beginning. Include Johnny’s constant hypermasculinity, and Gat Out of Hell is another game designed to stroke men’s egos and emphasize the absurdity of girls in the gaming audience. We get it – you’re not confident in your masculinity and are threatened by girls who possess skills typically deemed as “masculine.” Great. Leave my video games out of it.
Once we work our way past the sexism present in the game, the plot hinges on the wordplay of the Seven Deadly Sins and the number of historical figures who plausibly could’ve gone to Hell. The first time I use a weapon based on a Sin, it’s clever. By the seventh, I was bored of shooting cakes at people with my Gluttony Gun.
Gat Out of Hell may appeal to diehard Saints Row fans, but the overall experience was unimpressive and draining. After forty minutes of gameplay, I was done. Unfortunately, the main story alone was another three hours and twenty minutes. If you must play it, rent it. If you mustn’t play it, don’t.