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Saints Row: Gat out of Hell

About This Game:

Systems: PC, XO, PS4, X360, PS3
Release Date: 1/20/15
Developer: Volition, High Voltage Software
Publisher: Deep Silver
ESRB Rating: M
Length: 4 hours

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is easy to dislike. It’s short, it’s familiar, and it honestly doesn’t try too hard. But it has a few moments that will surprise you and make you laugh. Considering that is essentially all this series has consistently done over the years, at least that says something. I went into this “expansion” expecting little to no content and for it to be a clear cash grab. What I ended up getting was something that wasn’t great, but wasn’t awful, just not worth it.

 

Presentationj

On to the laziest part of Gat out of Hell. This game looks and runs like ass. I’m not kidding. I’m playing on an Xbox One, so I already understand that a game isn’t going to look its best for me. But the developers (either Volition or High Voltage Software) obviously just copied the textures from Saints Row IV and pasted them into this game without upgrading them at all. Literally all that was done was a resolution bump, as well as a frame-rate “bump”. I use quotes there because the game runs at an unlocked frame-rate (at least on XO), which means the game spends most of its time bouncing between 20 and 60 fps. This makes it incredibly difficult to play for long periods of time for it can strain your eyes. I feel like they should’ve spent less time adding particle effects (of which there are many to an unnecessary degree) and actually making sure the game ran well or at least looked decent. Considering the fact that I’ve seen games run at a solid, consistent frame-rate that look twice as good as this game shows that the developers really just wanted to get this out the door as soon as possible.

 

Gameplay

I have to get the elephant in the room out of the way first, the movement controls in Gat out of Hell are frustrating and unwieldy. The movement and flying are seemingly the same as Saints Row IV, and yet, this game controls way worse than I remember. Add in a wall running mechanic that is a little too sticky but not sticky enough at the same time (see gameplay video I recorded), and what you end up with is a game that you will spend a lot of time fighting just to traverse the city. The flying is nice though, all things considered, and reminds me a lot of the Batman: Arkham games’ flying mechanics in a good way. The walking, driving, running, and general movement, though, are frustrating to an unbelievable degree. Get ready to die a lot because Johnny (or Kinsie) gets stuck to a wall or runs out of flying stamina at the wrong time.

The gunplay is good enough I suppose, it’s really what you’d expect. The devs threw in a couple of wacky guns, each of which being barely more interesting than the last. The only weapon that stands out from the bunch is the Couch-gun known as “Sloth”. This deadly chair has two large miniguns at each side, as well as rockets that launch from underneath every time it reclines. This is the funniest of the new guns added to the game, but even it has its faults. As seen in the video above, you can’t aim-in with the gun as pulling the left trigger activates the rockets. Also, you can sprint with this gun either, making movement in combat annoying. Worst of all, though, is the animation that plays before and after switching to the weapon. In this animation you are locked, forced to watch Johnny slowly get in and out of the chair. It’s funny the first time, but annoying thereafter. I died innumerable times during the final boss fight due to this animation, which forced me to switch to a generic, boring machine gun instead. So there you have it, the game is so poorly designed it forces you to hate the one cool weapon it has going for itself.

 

Story

Now to the only real reason I was interested in this game. As known from my previous posts, I am a HUGE fan of Saints Row 2. I won’t go into great lengths here, as I already did in that article, but I was overall very disappointed with the new direction Volition took with Saints Row 3. Honestly, though, I liked the little amount of fan service they threw into Saints Row IV, and appreciated their efforts to include old fans. They try again in this iteration, but ultimately fail. What was supposed to be a few nudges to old fans and fan-service in general just seemed lazy and made me feel like I was part of a lame inside joke. Johnny Gat working with Ultor instead of just burning it to the ground, and killing Dex without so much as a cutscene explaining why are really just middle fingers to original fans rather than nods.

With that out of the way, the story of Gat out of Hell is written well enough to put you in the setting without questioning why you are there. The writing, in fact, is one of the best parts of the game. The game has a few good surprises throughout the story, as well as some really funny moments. It even breaks out into a musical number half-way through that both surprised me and made me laugh out loud at how ridiculous it was. In the small amount of cutscenes the game provides, the humor is smart and sharp. It’s the rest of the humor that you see through gameplay, the sight-gags, that drags the game down. Still, the voice acting by Daniel Dae Kim is top notch and the Johnny Gat proves why he is the series favorite. The game even offers five total endings, ranging from surprisingly touching to just really dumb. Overall, the story was the only good thing I will remember about this game considering all of its quirks. As a long-time fan, though, Volition continues to disappoint with the direction they have taken the franchise and have seemingly run out of ideas. But I was able to put that out of my mind long enough to at least see what Gat out of Hell did right.

 

Overall

To sum things up, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is a good idea that was ruined by a rushed and lazy development. The story is surprisingly solid, with great voice work all around, but the game’s frustrating gameplay and ugly appearance make this a huge waste of time for anyone that’s not a mega-fan, and even they will find little here. Worst of all, the game has a short, short run-time of about 3 to 4 hours, which is hard to justify even with its low price tag. It’s clear that this spinoff was made to be a quick cash-grab in between major releases, and that sucks ass. Stay away unless you find it for real cheap.

 

Disclosure: We have since changed back to our old review scale. Therefore, instead of “pass” our score for Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is a 4 out of 10.

Pros:
  • Great voice acting
  • Funny and smart moments in the story
  • Couch-gun
  • Multiple endings
  • Fun Co-op
Cons:
  • Co-op is also pointless.
  • Crappy design
  • Crappy performance
  • Gameplay is too familiar and tedious
  • Big middle finger to long-time fans
  • Too little content for asking price
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell
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About the Reviewer: Cooper

I'm a college student who's passionate about video games.


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