The subject of damnation, eternal or otherwise, is a serious matter. From Holy Scripture to novels, movies and even games we’ve had our share of heroes searching far and wide for a way to get out of (and sometimes back in to) some version of Hell. Great works like Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy” have cemented the popular notion of Hell, followed by countless more works both great and small. Almost none of those works will have you kicking demons in the ‘nads so hard they fly several meters in the air, though.

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is a standalone expansion to 2013’s Saints Row IV. You would think that after the Earth got destroyed there wouldn’t be much left to build a game around – but you couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, as Gat out of Hell’s opening cinematic sequences point out, Earth’s destruction was a blessing in disguise. The good went to heaven (where they await admittance for pretty much eternity) while everyone else went to Hell, to the bustling city of New Hades.

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The plot for Gat out of Hell is rather thin – it’s Kinzie’s birthday, a mystical Ouija board sucks the president in, Kinzie and Gat jump to the rescue. It’s as deep a plot as you need – because now that you’re in Hell, all bets are off. Since you can’t customize your character (not that Johnny Gat can be improved in any way), you can play as either Gat or Kinzie and switch between them freely. There’s no reason for it apart from cosmetics and different one-liners so as far as I’m concerned, there can be only Gat.

On your quest to save The Boss, you will recruit some allies to your cause: Blackbeard, William Shakespeare, Vlad the Impaler and the DeWynter twins Viola and Kiki. Recruiting each of them will grant you a special power, to a total of four. You will also have a chance to meet Ultor’s deceased CEO Dane Vogel (who did not survive an encounter with the sidewalk in Saints Row 2), Troy, Dex and even God himself. If any of the above names don’t sound familiar to you, don’t worry – with each character introduced, the game will provide a bit of background to help you with their relation to the story.

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Characters and story aside, Gat out of Hell has the same gameplay we’ve seen in Saints Row IV – almost to a tee. You control Johnny from a third-person perspective as you run, fly, shoot and mega-stomp enemies into a fine red mist. Your powers now come from Hell and its denizens, and are unlocked by spending Souls – those blueish hovering spheres scattered all over New Hades, much like SR4’s Data Clusters. For those who played Saints Row IV, Gat out of Hell will feel pretty much the same, for better or for worse. Honestly, there’s not much to write about that you haven’t seen in SR4 already. The four powers are pretty identical and can be customized with “Elements”.  You do get almost all powers at once, though – while upgrades depend on your completion of certain activities that unlock additional elements.

The weapons, however, are an entirely different matter. Other than the Ultor-made “standard” weapons you can expect, there are some very special weapons tied to the seven deadly sins. From trailers and previews released prior to the game’s launch we know there’s an armchair loaded with chainguns and missiles, but that’s fairly tame. How about frogs? Exploding ones, like bouncing bombs. Or the manifestation of greed, an SMG that turns fallen enemies into cash. Gluttony, Envy and all the others are represented in weaponized form and I won’t spoil them for you. Let’s just say they are unique, fun to use and absolutely over the top in some cases.

Gat out of Hell is still a Saints Row game and as such, it’s a mayhem simulator first and foremost. In fact, mayhem is the main objective – the more you cause, the more you’ll be noticed by Satan and the faster you’ll save The Boss. There are no missions to speak of so Mayhem is the only way to advance the game’s story. Mayhem can be caused in a variety of ways – from the familiar activities and distractions to just lounging on your chaingun-equipped armchair and mowing down everything in your path. It’s all demons and lost souls anyway, don’t feel bad about it.

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The only complaint I have in regards to this otherwise-excellent DLC is the length and difficulty. It took me just under 6 hours to complete the entire game a 100%, while playing on the hardest difficulty. I’ve died exactly once (and that was just to get a trophy for dying in lava), gathered all the collectibles and finished all the activities on gold rating. Out of those 6 hours I had the final mission available for at least 2 while I free-roamed and collected. Obviously, your mileage may vary but I’d say that rushing to complete the game could result in a single-sitting playthrough.

Gat out of Hell is a fun, bite-sized chunk of Saints Row. You get to play the most dangerous man in history, meet God, punch Satan, weaponize frosting and you do it all in true Saints Row style, sometimes while singing. Whether you’re new to the series or a veteran, running loose in New Hades is an experience you will enjoy.


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