Review by horror_spooky
Saints Row began as a crime-oriented GTA clone. It started off as a serious answer to Rockstar's franchise, albeit noticeably cheaper and without quite as much polish or talent going into the production. Saints Row 2 upped the ante further, and then Saints Row 3 took the series in ridiculous new directions. The over-the-top insanity of Saints Row 3 then gave way to Saints Row IV, which takes place on a spaceship, and is all about aliens trying to take over Earth. Um.
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a standalone expansion for Saints Row IV, and it takes the insanity yet another step further, if that was even possible. It stars Johnny Gat, instead of the player created character that is featured usually, and depicts his adventures in Hell. Yep.
Johnny has a variety of abilities that are related to the angel/demon dynamic. They're really just tweaked extensions of the super powers that dominate Saints Row IV. Players use these abilities to complete typical Saints Row missions and side activities as they progress through the fairly short story mode and explore Hell.
Hell itself is really disappointing. There was a ton of opportunity to fill it with hilarity and satire, but Volition completely dropped the ball. It's just a really dull open world with little to actually see or do besides the pre-set missions.
When the open world in an open world game is boring, that is a kiss of death. Compounding the problems for Gat Out of Hell is the issue with the combat being also incredibly boring. It's about as basic of a third-person shooter as one can get. The only difference between Gat Out of Hell and Saints Row IV from a combat perspective is that Gat Out of Hell features a much larger focus on combat, which is not a good thing, as it is not a strong point for the series.
With a boring game world and boring but technically sound combat, Gat Out of Hell is basically dead out of the gate. There's little reason to actually play it, beyond the story. While Volition mostly drops the ball with the story and doesn't fully take advantage of the many opportunities for quality satire, there's still plenty of laughs to be had and crazy moments. The game is an epilogue to Saints Row IV, and fans of the franchise will want to see what happens next.
The graphics are terrible, especially considering this is on Xbox One. Basically, they created the game for 360 and PS3, and then just ported it to eighth gen systems, which is not a good way to do things. The game has an ugly art style as well, and would've even been ugly by 360 standards, so don't expect a visual masterpiece from Saints Row IV by any means.
The sound design is fine enough, with a decent soundtrack and solid voice acting work. The dialogue is ridiculous and just as over-the-top as the premise, so there's a lot of fun to be had from that angle.
The game is fairly short, but considering the fact that it's a standalone expansion pack and not a full game, that's understandable. There's collectibles, side missions, and all that jazz, so it's still a decent amount of content for the asking price.
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell suffers from boring gameplay and a boring open world. Volition somehow managed to make "Hell" a boring place to be, which is unfortunate, but that's the way it is. The Saints Row series could probably do with a reboot so that it can get back to its roots as a serious crime game, because it's hard to get invested in anything anymore with how ridiculous the franchise has become over the years.
Product Release: Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (US, 01/20/15)
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