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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?

If you're a Saints Row fan and just wondering "Is this worth my time?" then yes, it is.

But what's so strange about Gat Out of Hell is that there's so much potential that goes unused because of the small scope of a standalone expansion. The biggest problem with Gat Out of Hell isn't what's here, it's what's not.

Namely, missions. Each Saints Row game has a gaggle of side missions for you, and it even does that annoying thing where it forces you to play through those side missions for various rewards. But if I asked you to name your favorite Saints Row moment, you'd almost undoubtedly throw back a unique setpiece instead — blasting off on a missile while Aerosmith plays in the background, or recreating the movie They Live, or your character singing Biz Markie on the way to an objective, or the entirety of the "Deckers Die" mission in Saints Row the Third.

The writing in Saints Row is its strength. It's sharp. It's smart. It's silly. It's lewd. It breaks the fourth wall. It's unique. It's weird. It's absurd. Whatever adjective you'd use to describe it, it's the situational comedy in Saints Row that stands out.

Gat Out of Hell has no real missions, and thus a lot of its potential is wasted. For instance, you meet Blackbeard, famed pirate and scourge of the seven seas. He lives on a recreation of the Queen Anne's Revenge. In Hell.

In a real Saints Row game (read: not an expansion) this would be the start of a fantastic line of quests, perhaps culminating in you sailing the Queen Anne's Revenge into a statue of Satan or fighting Blackbeard in a beard-growing contest or hell I don't know. Anything. Maybe you'd sing a rousing sea shanty version of Biz Markie together.

In Gat Out of Hell, by contrast, you have one sort-of mission with Blackbeard. Imps (the easiest enemies in the game) are invading and you have to kill a certain number. That's it. It takes five minutes and doing so unlocks one of your superpowers (Summon Imps) and gives you a new Blackbeard Loyalty mission. The loyalty missions are the same as they were in Saints Row IV — complete side quests. Then you finish those side quests and Blackbeard goes "Great, thanks for doing that," and then you basically never hear from Blackbeard again.

Gat Out of Hell is a lot of setup without the payoff its jokes really deserve. It's a game built around the middling-to-decent side activities from previous Saints Row titles, without the opportunity to go off and do a "real" mission with "real" writing. For instance, the "Insurance Fraud" activity is back but now you're controlling a soul condemned to hell and the more points you score, the more years are taken off that soul's condemnation.


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