Saints Row is mental – and that’s why I like it. What once started out as a bit of a GTA spoof has now become a brand in its own right with each game getting progressively outlandish. So where could the game go after the planet was destroyed and everyone was living inside a computer simulation akin to The Matrix? Well, the answer is hell. In this stand-alone addition to Saints Row 4, the game picks up where the previous game left off with your team and the alien Zinyak having some fun at a birthday party with a Ouija board. Typically something goes wrong when the boss is sucked off into hell to be married off to Satan’s daughter Jezebel. Not somebody needing an excuse to unleash hell on hell, Johnny Gat also takes the plunge through the portal along with hacker Kinzie Kensington and thus begins an adventure in a hellish Steelport populated by pedestrian husks, lava and winged demons out to kill you.
To be honest, things don’t start too well. Playing this on Xbox One, the performance doesn’t seem to be noticeably better than the 360 version, controls are skittish and lots of the exposition is told through 2D drawings and voice over. Nice as they are, it’s obvious that some shortcuts were made to cut costs of this game that sits somewhere in between a full price game and DLC.
Thankfully, as you start to gain powers and importantly level up, things get a lot more fun. Flying with some big impressive wings is the big highlight of the game. Initially things are a little bit limiting but as you gain more stamina and the ability to dodge and flap wings mid-flight for a boost, the sense of freedom is really satisfying. You’ll be swooping around collecting soul clusters and other items and taking part in missions and races all over the map. You can switch between Johnny and Kinzie at any time at the base and even play the game co-op, although there are noticeable omissions compared to the full Saints Row 4 game including no music to listen to in cars, no outfits and no real campaign as such. You’ll recruit dead denizens of hell including Blackbeard, a techno Shakespeare and The Twins you despatched previously, and just keep doing missions until you fill up a meter. Once that’s full, you can then face off against Satan and sort out getting your boss back.
It’s basically stuff you’ve seen before but with a devilish twist. You get to punish a citizen of hell to get a gold rank in a similar way to the insurance fraud missions, you’ll be doing survival missions, there are armoured trucks to stop and steal and bosses to fight as you open up teleports areas around the map. You can also rip the hearts out of missile silos dotted around the map that are trying to clip your wings as you fly over them. Weapons involve the usual pistols, machine guns and shotguns, as well as some more silly stuff including a frog grenade launcher and Gatling armchair named Armchair-a-Geddon that packs a punch on the ground but has limitations when aiming at enemies above you.
Oh, and there has to be a special mention for a Disney style musical rendition between Satan and Jezebel. It’s really rather different. Gat out of Hell is an enjoyable if not short romp that will keep you busy for a weekend but only you can decide whether you think it’s sufficiently new enough to warrant a buy. It gets 6 out of 10.
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