Like a bat out of Hell, the expansion will be gone when the morning comes. However, the re-elected core of this package will be around for a long time to come.
There seem to be more remakes, remasters and re-releases of games on the new-gen consoles than original content. I am not saying this is a bad thing, as some games are worth playing again just to enjoy the beautiful new visuals or take advantage of the generally included “Game of the Year” style abundance of DLC. However, Volition are perhaps going a bit further than most with Saints Row IV: Re-Elected as they are not only offering their brilliantly fun Saints Row IV for the new-gen consoles along with a substantial amount of DLC, but they are also including the new stand alone expansion, Gat Out Of Hell, which is also available for the last-gen consoles by itself. Something old and something new – good times.
In Saints Row IV, which started life as a possible expansion for the highly enjoyable Saints Row III, players once again took up the role of the leader of the Third Street Saints gang. The adventure this time around becomes even more outlandish, as is customary in the Saints Row games, with the leader becoming president of the United States of America and then having to fight aliens in a virtual world with the help of super powers. Really, I am not sure that it could get any sillier.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected brings all of this craziness to the new-gen consoles, the Xbox One and PS4, along with an absolute shed load of DLC, making it easily the best package for gamers who have yet to enjoy Saints Row IV. For those who played the game on the previous consoles, the included DLC may make this package very attractive. However, as far as improvements for the new consoles are concerned, Volition have not really made many changes. Sure, the resolution and frame rate have been upgraded, but the game itself is looking more dated than ever on the new-gen machines. Looks aside, there is a lot of fun to be had here, and of course there is the not insubstantial subject of new content…
Gat Out Of Hell is a stand alone expansion for Saints Row IV which can be picked up by itself or as part of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected. What craziness will be unleashed this time?
Well, the story is that during some downtime, the Saints throw a birthday party for Kinzie Kensington and the inevitable party games result in bringing out the ouija board. However, the fact that the board itself once belonged to famed occultist Aleister Crowley is overlooked until the boss, the president of the United States and your character in Saints Row IV, is pulled into Hell to be married off to Satan’s daughter, Jezebel. Not willing to stand for this, Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington head into hell to rescue their friend and leader, and perhaps to shoot Satan in the face if the chance arises.
To be honest, the series’ trademark silliness continues from here, with the player taking on the role of Johnny or Kinzie as they try to annoy Satan enough to get close and shoot him in the face. The pair are not alone in this though and, along with some recognizable characters from the series, the player will have to enlist the help of some pretty famous characters, including Shakespeare who happens to be running a night club in hell, and Vlad the Impaler, whose appearance includes possibly the best use of “The Wheels on the Bus” ever heard in a videogame.
By helping out, or proving yourself to the likes of Shakespeare and Vlad, the player will unlock some pretty sweet demonic powers. Combine these with the fallen angel wings that are bestowed upon the player when they enter hell, and you have the perfect tools for traveling around the underworld and dishing out the damage. The flight mechanic, with its stamina and flaps, takes a bit of getting used to but makes travel around the lava-spotted city a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, the game itself doesn’t give players a series of story missions as they work their way up to the big boss and saving their friend, but rather gives the player a choice of disjointed activities to wind up Satan and achieve their goal. There is no cohesion, with the player moving from one place to the next to do one thing or another. Sure, there are some great moments as the player progresses (the much hyped musical number is a bit special), but with all of these seemingly random missions being tied together mostly by fairytale picture boards and a voice over.
Still, a relative lack of story doesn’t mean that Gat Out Of Hell is a bad game. Indeed, rolling around hell as Gat or Kenzie is really good fun, if not that far removed from the antics of Saints Row IV itself. Something that really adds to the fun are the new weapons to be found in Gat Out Of Hell, and this is where things get biblical!
Weapons that fire insects or frogs, weapons that fire coins or make your enemies a bit randy. Yeah, Gat Out Of Hell has a pretty weird round up of weapons, even by Saints Row standards. Of course, the most impressive is the 7 deadly sins offering for sloth – the highly advertised Armchair-a-geddon. Sit back and relax as you reduce your enemies to piles of pulp.
The Gat Out Of Hell experience is fairly short and can easily be finished in a single session. However, there are plenty of reasons to come back, such as collectibles, more impressive weapons to unlock and other random side activities.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is a great package for Saints Row newcomers, or even just for those who want to make the move to the new-gen consoles. The changes are not really noticeable, but there is a hell of a lot of content here, and a lot of fun. The Gat Out Of Hell standalone expansion is a bit more of a disappointment though. Whilst still a lot of fun and having some great ideas, the expansion feels like it doesn’t take advantage of these ideas. The expansion is more of the same, which will be exactly what some fans will want, but it won’t entrance the masses.