Saints Row is a video game series which I have been with since the beginning. Its funny, irreverant, serious, dramatic, and stupid in equal parts. Starting as a transparent rip-off of Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas, it evolved into its own darkly comedic crime thriller in Saints Row 2. In Saints Row III, it became a wacky superhero universe in Saints Row III. In Saints Row IV, it became about as sensible as Team America: World Police only it took place in The Matrix and had you fight an alien overlord to Stan Bush's "The Touch."
Gat out of Hell is the capstone to the series' continuity before the series is rebooted and has the premise of your long-time companion, Johnny Gat, taking out Lucifer to rescue series' protagonist the Boss from marrying the Devil's Daughter Jezebel. Johnny Gat is assisted in this quest by playful hacker Kinzie Kensington who is an optional player character during Johnny's rampage through Hell.
|The choice of both a male and female protagonist is a nice bit of progressiveness.|
Not quite over-the-top ENOUGH to be the ending of the franchise.
|Flying is, unfortunately, a huge part of this game while boring as all get out.|
A major addition to the gameplay is the addition of winged flight, which I didn't actually care for all that much. Unfortunately, it's an unavoidable and plays a role in numerous missions. Not only are all the race missions done from the air but it's also your primary means of egress. I would have much preferred to do my travel around hell on foot. On the plus side, there is far-far less platforming in this game and that makes it superior to its predecessor in at least one respect.
There's no music licensed for this game, which is unfortunate, as a fully-realized sequel to Saints Row IV would have been boss with Meatloaf's "Bat out of Hell" album. The song, "I would do anything for love" would have been perfect for Kinzie or Gat rescuing the Boss from his infernal wedding to the Devil's daughter. Likewise, all of the Hell Lords you can befriend make too little of an appearance. Still, I can't complain too much when Jezebel bursts into song like its Les Mis.
|The wedding of the six-hundred and sixty-sixth year!|
Much of the game's story feels wasted as we get introduced to the four Hell Lords, rescue them from peril, and then never really see them again. If you're going to have Shakespeare running a night club while rapping his works then I want to see more of him. The lack of cutscenes is understandable in a game which only costs twenty-dollars but the game feels like a tease, especially since there's a bit at the end where you get to see how a team-up of your favorite foes might have gone. That felt like a mission I would have loved.
Indeed, the game's length is its biggest flaw as opposed to the boring flying sections. I was complete with the game in under four hours with little incentive to do any further missions. You could maybe squeeze in a full six-hours of gameplay but that would be pushing things tremendously. Normally, I wouldn't say a game leaving me wanting more was a bad thing but there's a difference between good enough I wanted more and serving an appetizer but no real meal. This feels like the latter more than the former.
|What does a machine-gun comfy chair have to do with Hell? Who cares?! It's Saints Row!|
Some fans may object to the use of Johnny as opposed to the Boss but I think it makes a great deal of sense. Not only is Johnny's passionate love of his friends a major cornerstone of his character but we also have been getting hints, for some time, he's suicidal. Johnny has been wanting to die since the death of his lover Aisha and seeing his final fate is, well, Hell is more dramatic than expected. Kinsie doesn't really do much in the story and I can't help but think Shaundi might have been a better choice. Hell, no pun intended, it might have been fun to have the second character be Jezebel.
|Jezebel is adorable. As adorable as Elizabeth from Bioshock.|
This is definitely a good buy for fans of the series but too long for a short game and too short for a long game. It feels like a lot of unrealized potential and that brings down its overall enjoyment factor.
Still, singing Devil's Daughter!