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Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell review: A great expansion that deserves even more

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 20, 2015
Here's a hypothetical: What if you were floating through space with the last remnants of humanity when a Ouija board came to life, opened a portal into Hell, sucked the President of the United States through, and informed you that (s)he's to marry the devil's daughter? What would you do?

Here's a hypothetical: What if you were floating through space with the last remnants of humanity when a Ouija board came to life, opened a portal into Hell, sucked the President of the United States through, and informed you that (s)he's to marry the devil's daughter? What would you do?

If your answer is "Fly into Hell with a .45 strapped to your waist and plan to punch Satan in the face," congratulations, your name is secretly Johnny Gat and we've all been waiting for you. Our hero.

Saints Row does Event Horizon

So yeah, in Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell you play as lovable murder addict Johnny Gat — or (surprise) you can switch over and play as genius murder addict Kinzie Kensington. You've got to rescue the President of the United States a.k.a. the boss of the Saints from marrying Satan's daughter Jezebel.

To do that, you have to indulge in what the Saints do best: Rampant [insert swear word] Chaos. Satan's only in control of Hell because somebody bigger and badder hasn't come along to take it from him yet. You can be that bigger, badder someone. Shoot guns! Blow things up! Murder demons! Murder civilian-souls! You don't even have to feel bad because everyone here must've done some horrible things to land in Hell, so just murder away!

Gat Out of Hell is in many ways far more ambitious even as a "standalone expansion" than Saints Row IV proper. Where Saints Row IV basically copy-pasted the Steelport map from Saints Row the Third and added in superpowers, Gat Out of Hell's city of New Hades is a creative and ludicrous version of Hell that's crafted specifically to take advantage of the aforementioned powers.

Flight in particular has been overhauled. Saints Row IV contained a half-baked gliding mechanic that felt kind-of-almost-but-not-really-like flying. Gat Out of Hell, you literally control Johnny Gat like an airplane or like an enormous bird. And New Hades takes full advantage. This is a vertical city — skyscrapers giving way to apartment buildings giving way to strip malls and residential suburbs giving way to street level giving way to tunnels, all surrounded by massive cliffs above an unending lava sea.

It's a fantastic sandbox, which makes it all the more strange that something so ambitious is left so empty.

Here's the deal: I understand Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is billed as a standalone expansion and sold for a standalone expansion price ($20). For what it's worth, I think there's plenty of content here to justify that price. I finished everything except for some of the weapon/power challenges (i.e. kill [blank] number of enemies with [blank]) in about seven hours.

 

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