Jan 19 //
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell (PC, PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360) Developer: Volition/High Voltage Software Publisher: Deep Silver Released: January 20, 2015 MSRP: $19.99
The game opens on the gang aboard the Zin Ship during a celebration of Kinzie Kensington’s birthday. During the festivities, Matt Miller produces a possessed Ouija board that was previously owned by Aleister Crowley, and it opens a portal to Hell. The Boss (your player character in the previous Saints Row games) is sucked through the portal and kidnapped by Satan. Johnny Gat and Kinzie follow through the portal to save their friend, and upon arriving in Hell go to the biggest building in sight.
Ultor HQ. Dane Vogel, head of Ultor Corporation and previous adversary of the Saints, has started his business anew in Hell and lets the duo know that Satan has arranged a marriage between The Boss and his daughter. Vogel has big plans to corner the real estate market in Hell, and he needs Satan out of the way to do it. He presents Johnny Gat with Lucifer’s Broken Halo, a powerful artifact that imbues the user with fiery wings and arcane power, to assist in the assassination of the Dark Lord.
All of the previous statements contained a lot of names that you may or may not remember depending on which games, if any, you’ve played of the series. This is one of the biggest things that marks this as a standalone expansion. This game is very self-referential, and unlike the main entries in the series doesn’t ease players into the world of Saints Row. It makes the assumption that you’ve at least played Saints Row IV, and spends little time on exposition or background other than some short illustrations and voiceover.
This was a bit frustrating, because even though I’ve played through all the Saints Row titles, it’s been a while. It would have made the game more inviting to have at least a short flashback when meeting a character from a previous title, and unfortunately many players might miss out on some of the enjoyment and nostalgia from not having just a bit more context. However, there are a few new characters, and they are a blast. Shakespeare, Vlad the Impaler, and Blackbeard all join the cast, and although this entry is a bit short, I hope that future iterations will introduce as interesting of a cast as this one did.
The setting is where this game really shines though. Hell looks, well, hellish. Instead of another romp through Steelport, we spend our time in New Hades, which is dominated by the Ultor Tower. It’s sometimes hard to notice flying and sprinting at high speeds, but different sections of Hell have different aesthetics, and the whole map, although smaller than Steelport, feels more alive and organic from all the unique buildings.
Gone also are the nameless civilian fodder, replaced by “Husks,” which are the souls of the damned who are made to feel pain for all eternity. The police are instead demons who drive monster trucks, and there are a host of flying, shielded, and gigantic enemies, all with their own styles and methods of attack. All in all they made a much more entertaining and interesting adversary than the Zin, and the whole world feels much more polished and finished than Saints Row IV’s Steelport simulation.
Much like the last game, you have access to a host of superhuman powers. With Lucifer’s Broken Halo you can sprout wings to glide, sprint at high speed, stomp the ground with various elemental powers, call upon demons to fight for you, and turn enemies to stone with power blasts. Whether in a simulation or powered by a demonic artifact, the result is much the same: you’re pretty much the most powerful being in Hell.
I think powers are much more interesting in Gat out of Hell. Something about the last game’s powers being due to computer hacking and being trapped in a simulation was insanely boring. These games are a zany good time, but when I play something like this I like to feel as though I’m actually affecting the world I’m playing in, and getting powers from the broken crown of the Morning Star himself is way cooler. I do have a bit of a qualm with the missing character customization element, though. I understand that the game centers around having to play as Kinzie or Johnny Gat; but it would have been nice to at least change their outfits or accessories.
So everything seems pretty positive about this game, right? It’s a high quality production, and totally awesome, so what could go wrong? Well, that cool setting, low price point, and interesting gameplay came at a cost, namely in the form of content. Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is short. Really short.
The first time I saved my game I had been playing for about an hour, and I was shocked when the screen said that the game was already 14% complete. I figured it was like Saints Row IV where that number didn’t really mean a lot or indicate how much content was left other than at a superficial level. Well, I was wrong.
Gat takes about 6-7 hours to complete the main plot, and it could probably be easily taken to 100% within 12-13 hours. Honestly, I’ve paid $20 for a lot less fun, and although the game is short, what is there is solid gold. Plus, if you’ve never played Saints Row IV, or just want it and all its DLC on latest gen consoles, you can get Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, which includes this expansion for about $50.
Gat out of Hell was a great swan song for Saints Row IV, and it is now one of my favorite entries in the series. There are plenty of games out there about depression, sexuality, violence, politics, and so on, and sometimes it makes me tired. I love Saints Row because I never have to deal with any issues within. There’s no agenda and no life lessons to learn. There’s only pure escapism. which is what games are meant for in my view.
If I wanted to worry about all that, I’d just go to a college campus and listen to people complain for a few hours. As it is though, I hope that more developers take a cue from Saints Row and realize that it’s still okay to tell jokes and implement cartoony violence that’s still ridiculous and fun. I know gaming as an industry is maturing and people want to present new ideas and make statements using the media, but luckily, whenever I feel like I need a break, I will have Saints Row proudly on my shelf.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Like a sinner before the gates of Heaven There’s something about a series that doesn’t feel the need to make a ton of social commentary, or really feel grounded in reality. The Saints Row series is like if the worlds of The Naked Gun and Grand Theft Auto... read feature
When Clancy Brown tells you to do something, you listen
// Jordan Devore
"It's a whimsical, weird fucking game," former Volition creative director Steve Jaros said of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell when I spoke with him about the Disney-inspired standalone expansion.
It's true: there's a musical num... read
Johnny Gat's not a good man. Powerful, but not good. That's why he uses each and every of the seven deadly sins to send all of those already dead to the after-afterlife. Most of them look like they deserve it, to be fair. Especially those nipple-rubbing demons. read
Sprout some wings and take an aerial tour of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell and New Hades with Johnny Gat acting as a murderous guide. When he's not perusing the underworld via an overhead view, he's running down demons in his rambulance or firing swaths of rockets from his armchair.
Our promised musical number hasn't shown up yet, but so far, everything is so wonderfully Saints Row. read
Sep 02 //
Jordan Devore In Gat Out of Hell, your player character from Saints Row IV, the President, is pulled into hell to marry Satan's daughter Jezebel. The devil believes the Saints boss to be the most dangerous person alive -- a perfect general to lead his army against heaven -- but Jezebel isn't interested.
Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington journey to hell to save their fearless leader and from there, it's up to you playing as either character (or both, in co-op) to wreak havoc however you see fit. Perhaps you'll use some of the ridiculous new weapons based on the seven deadly sins. My favorite one shoots locusts, which is almost as good as a gun that fires bees. Almost.
You're meant to run around -- or fly; you have wings -- and fill up a piss-off-Satan meter at which point the story will unfold as various milestones are met. Gat Out of Hell features historical figures and even characters from past games, including Dane Vogel and Dex, plus "well over 30 instances of open-world things to do," according to Jaros.
After reaching 100 percent completion on a given island of hell, you'll be rewarded with an epilogue relating to its central character -- like spymaster general William Shakespeare, for example. Completionists will also be able to unlock a "crazy epilogue" for the full story.
Asked if Gat Out of Hell was considered canon or if it'd have an impact on the series' story going forward, Jaros just kept saying "I recommend that you play it" with a smile on his face.
"It is not a Saints Row V. It is not a sequel," he said. "It's a fun thing for our fans. A new place to go and play around with super powers. Another city to go and terrorize. [A chance to] play as a character that people really seem to dig, and just have another excuse to have a lot of fun and do some shit that we're able to get away with."
Okay, so about that Disney connection.
"I'm pretty certain that we'll be the only open-world game that comes out with a full-blown musical number in the middle of the critical path," Jaros told Destructoid.
"One of the things that we lean on [heavily] for inspiration for this is Disney movies. I'm a big Disney fan. For instance, if you remember stuff like in Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, the beginning of the movies [have] the ornate story book that opens up. It's illuminated text and story-book pictures, and a narrator -- that's kind of our story structure. Jane Austen narrates you through this fairy tale; Jezebel is very much a sort of Disney princess."
The creative director made it clear that "It's not a parody of Disney at all, but it echoes some of those themes." There aren't any talking animal buddies here, but Gat does have a talking gun who wants to help him become the ultimate killing machine.
Basically, Gat Out of Hell is what a fairy tale would look like in the Saints Row universe.
"It's a whimsical, weird fucking game."
There's a full musical number and everything I've played and enjoyed all of the Saints Row games to date, but wonder how much longer this can last. How much more ridiculous can the series get, and even if there is room to up the insanity, do we even want that? Where Vol... read feature
At its PAX panel, Volition announced a new Saints Row, a standalone expansion of Saints Row IV called Gat Out of Hell (PC, PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One). It has you travelling to Hell, is half the size of Steelport, and feat... read
Saints Row IV National Treasure Edition collects all the DLC in one package
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Well just like Saints Row: The Third, Deep Silver is re-releasing Saints Row IV and including all 29 downloadable content packs. Really? 29 goddamn pieces of DLC? Ugh.
Gross, but now's as good as time as ever to buy Saints Ro... read
It's games like Zeus that have me not writing off entire concepts, no matter how tired they may appear on the surface. As described during senior producer Greg Donovan's Game Developers Conference talk "Volition's Challenge: ... read
Actor and comedian Jay Mohr said on Twitter yesterday that he was contributing to a new Saints Row. Not that anyone was expecting Volition to stop making these games all of a sudden.
"About to do my voice over work for new Sa... read
Ash's consolation for not being allowed to motorboat Nolan North
// Darren Nakamura
Anthony and Ashly Burch have come a long way from their humble beginnings as creators of a weird Internet show to where they are now (creators of a marginally popular weird Internet show, among other things). Now t... read
Above all else, I dig the spot-on name for Saints Row IV's upcoming DLC. How the Saints Save Christmas promises to be "a holiday classic for the whole family" (riiight) when it arrives on December 11 for $6.99, or as a free d... read
We thought Saints Row: The Third expansion Enter the Dominatrix was some silly, horny internet thing. But it's real, and it's out today on the PSN, XBLA and Steam, priced at $6.99. If you've got a season pass, well, it'... read
Enter the Dominatrix was originally going to be an expansion for Saints Row: The Third, but it's since been reworked as DLC for Saints Row IV. And, now, we have a release date: October 22, 2013. If you've got a season pass, i... read
Saints Row IV came, saw, and conquered critics alike as well as the charts, and now you can pick up a free bit of content if you're rolling with the Steam version. For today only on the PC, you can pick up the Gat V Pack for... read
Someone's going to make this about GTA V, aren't they?
// Jordan Devore
In its first week of being available at retail, Saints Row IV has sold more than one million copies. Sold, not shipped. According to publisher Deep Silver, the PC version of the game tripled the first-week sales of its predec... read
Aug 20 //
Saints Row IV (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: VolitionPublisher: Deep SilverReleased: August 20, 2013 (NA), August 23, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $59.99
I was laughing out loud with actual noises emanating from my mouth within the first ten minutes of Saints Row IV, and the laughter rarely eased up for the rest of the adventure. Comedy in videogames is a tough nut to crack, but the loving parody, hyper-violent slapstick, and sheer audacity of Volition's latest makes it look effortless. Not only that, it tells an engrossing and surprisingly coherent story on top of all the silliness.
In a plot that proudly steals from The Matrix, They Live, and a bevy of other pop culture fixtures, Earth finds itself under attack by aliens, because of course it does. Though much has been made of The Saints taking the American Presidency, there's no actual time to enjoy running the country, as the Zin Empire kidnaps most of the cabinet and places our antihero -- the puckish rogue known predominantly as The Boss -- into a virtual reality designed and ruled by the deliciously affable Emperor Zinyak.
The Boss must break free of the simulation, rescue his or her crew from their own virtual Hells, and eventually strike back at the Zin. Full of constant surprises, gameplay switches that subvert expectations, and some cracking one-liners, Saints Row IV brings back the kind of satisfyingly deranged narrative that made Saints Row II so wonderful. Unlike The Third, there's a sense of pacing, structure, and conclusion that offsets the overall wackiness. It is aberration tempered with intelligence, something the series needed to return to.
Without that crucial sense of chaotic organization, the sheer level of ridiculousness in IV would risk running out of control. Placing players in a virtual Steelport has given Volition the excuse to truly push the boat out this time, leaning on the Matrix references to turn the Boss from hardy sociopath to full-on superhero. Enjoying a range of fresh powers drip-fed by story missions, the Boss gains access to super sprinting, super jumping, freeze blasts, fireballs, and more, with ideas liberally reaped from games such as Crackdown, inFAMOUS and Prototype.
Rather than simply rip off other games, however, Volition has carefully cherry-picked and refined the very best ideas from the leading sandbox games on the market -- the criminal freedom of Grand Theft Auto, the wall-running and super speed of Prototype, the energetic powers of inFAMOUS, the explorative collection quests of Crackdown, and Saints Row's characteristic nonsense have been beautifully distilled and mixed to create the ultimate tribute to everything open world games have been this generation.
Of course, Volition's not just lifted ideas from other games. A range of new abilities and weapons are on offer, from a ground stomp that shrinks surrounding people, to a gun that fires black holes, and the power to call down alien abduction beams from the sky, there's a ton of demented toys to play with. Telekinesis, mind control, a dubstep gun, giant mech suits, freeze blasts, electrified bullets, inflato-rays -- suffice it to say, there's a ton to use, and almost all of it can be upgraded and augmented.
As well the main story missions, all of which are fantastically varied and regularly make affectionate fun of other videogames and genres, each member of the Saints has specialized Loyalty missions, there are loads of activities and collectibles to find, and a whole host of extra challenges. New activities include a riff on the old Fight Club challenges (this time using super powers), Genki Bowl (in which you throw people, cars, and Genki items through floating rings), and special races through the simulation's virtual systems. Of course, classics like Insurance Fraud and vehicle thefts have been retained.
There are no rival gangs to fight with for control of the city, but the Zin influence over Virtual Steelport is there to be undermined by disrupting the system in various ways. Flashpoints can be cleared of alien guards, Zin towers can be climbed and conquered, Viruses can be injected by enduring wave-based enemy assaults, and stores can be hacked for access and extra money (drolly referred to as "Cache" in this particular game).
Describing everything you can do in detail would take forever and more words than most of you are prepared to read, but suffice it to say that while The Third felt a little shortchanged, IV lavishes content upon the player with wanton abandon. More importantly, it provides this content in stages, with a fantastic sense of build that keeps the player consistently invested and eager to discover the next wonderful toy. It doesn't simply start at the extreme end of "balls out" with nowhere further to go.
The game admittedly does begin with explosions and silliness, but by focusing on variety rather than simply scale, IV doesn't suffer from trying to continually top its own ludicrousness. The result is a game that's confident in itself, that doesn't seem like it's desperately trying to live up to its reputation as a "crazy" experience. It is a game that, despite being about aliens and superpowered virtual realities, sticks to a certain twisted sensibility, and ultimately is a better game for it.
Many of the story missions take place outside of the Steelport simulation, allowing Volition to experiment with fresh types of gameplay and a linear structure that provides a better environment for storytelling and humor. You'll get to engage in a funny Metal Gear Solid pastiche, bring ruin to a 1950s paradise, and even get some beat 'em action going on. Saints Row IV plays many different tunes, and it plays them all with a shocking level of competence.
Everything feels so much more dense this time around, and the cocktail of activities means things never feel too repetitive, even when performing the same activities. Rewards for completing sidequests and obtaining collectibles are generally excellent and worthy of the effort, meaning it can be hours of enthralling distraction before one even gets to the first main story mission.
Saints Row IV addresses many of my gripes with The Third, but a few lingering niggles remain in the woodwork. I still miss the pure villainy of the Boss as found in Saints Row II, since players continue taking on the role of a less morally corrupt antihero. The old gang dynamic has been totally discarded, and while the Zin make for interesting opponents, they lack the variety seen with such enemies as The Brotherhood and Ronin. A new annoying enemy type also puts in an appearance -- shielded Wardens, which need to be blasted with a superpower before they take bullet damage, and they hop and jump everywhere for maximum irritation.
These really are minor gripes in the face of all that IV gets right, however. While we'll never get the old Boss back, Emperor Zinyak is truly delightful as the Saints' new foil (just wait until he sings). Though the Zin are rather uniform in appearance, story missions often take players to entirely different worlds and even finds an excuse to resurrect some of the old Steelport and Stilwater gangs (albeit temporarily). While the Wardens are a pain in the ass, at least they don't appear frequently.
Despite returning to a replica of Steelport, the new aesthetic makes it feel like a totally new environment. Walls shimmer and pedestrians glitch out, the sky is an oppressive red in Zinyak territory and a calming blue in a Saint-controlled hood. Signs urging citizens to OBEY are littered throughout the city in a nod to that oh-so classic Roddy Piper movie. Sometimes the shimmering feels a little too much, but overall the game does a damn fine job of making Steelport feel fresher than it is, especially now that you can leap and glide from its digital rooftops. The new weapons all look and sound wonderful when in use, with some lovely explosive effects.
The game's soundtrack really hits the mark, though. Vehicles are practically useless this time around, so the radio can be played at all times, meaning Stan Bush's "The Touch" is liable to play wherever you go, making even the tiniest of actions feel like the most badass and celebratory of achievements. Some absolute belters are included on the radio stations this time around -- from Haddaway, to Thin Lizzy, to Aerosmith. Sometimes the game takes over the music for its own purposes, and does so to tremendous effect. Volition's exploitation of pop culture for cheap (but effective) laughs is bloody masterful.
IV's voice talent is just as good, too. All the voice actors for the Boss put in a solid performance (especially the obligatory "cockney" one), while the likes of Matt Miller, Shaundi, Kinzie, Pierce, and Jonny Gat are as amusing and pleasant as ever. J.B Blanc, however, smoothly steals the show as the suave Zinyak -- both charming and completely deserving of a vicious comeuppance.
Saints Row IV is, from start to finish, a pleasure. It's a pure pleasure to play. I was cynical, given my feeling let down by The Third, but Volition has worked hard to address almost everything wrong with its last outing, and provide something that delivers over and above expectations. What I love most about IV is how it puts the player first -- absolutely every new feature and ability gifted to the player seems designed purely to make the game more convenient to enjoy, and more fun to play.
And this is why I felt sad when the final credits rolled ...
Cause even when I dream of you,The sweetest dream will never do,I'd still miss you babe,And I don't want to miss a thing.
Don't want to close my eyes,I don't want to fall asleep,And I don't want to miss a thing.
And I don't wanna miss a thing! [Ed. note: Bumping our review from last week, as the game is available in stores today.]
When I finished Saints Row: The Third in 2011, I left the experience feeling somewhat sad. It was a good game, but it felt shallow, held... read feature
Aug 20 //
Level up jumping powers first. They pay dividends as you're more easily able to trounce around and unlock more cores.
If you're frustrated by climbing up buildings, eventually you'll unlock the ability to wall-run, similar to Alex Mercer from Prototype -- just keep leveling up until you earn the right to purchase it.
You can "pre-load" super-jumps in the air by holding down the jump button, then letting go once you hit the ground.
Traversing across vertical terrain is easy if you have the glide ability. Hold down the glide button (LB or L1), then let go when you're near a building, pre-load a super-jump, and repeat.
When you're fighting Wardens, patience is key. Switch to the fireball ability, and wait until the Warden is done jumping around before you blast his shield. Otherwise, he'll just jump around again and re-cast his shield before you can get a chance to do any real damage. If you're looking to make short work of them, save up ~30,000 cache (money) for the rocket launcher as soon as possible.
When choosing what powers to wield, use fire on vehicles, and ice on units. Remember to double-tab the direction pad to switch.
If you're in a jam, sprinting in circles and using the sprinting attack can make for a quick instant kill. You can use this multiple times in succession.
Complete all of the crewmate activity missions (not the loyalty ones, but the ones where the game gives you mixed objectives). The rewards are fantastic. [Jim Sterling]
If you find yourself in a troubling firefight, try and pick off enemies one by one behind cover. Super sprint into the health, rinse, and repeat. Of course, grabbing the "less damage while sprinting" and "vacuum up health" upgrades will help considerably.
Don't forget that you can turn on the radio at any time, even if you're not in a vehicle. Press the B button (Circle) to bring up the menu, and change the radio station with LB and RB (L1 and R1).
You may not even notice it, but when you're not using ammo, a tiny white circle appears on the screen. Use this to aim your projectile powers, and more importantly, aim your jumps when looking down at the ground.
It's really easy to forget about your power dive ability that you'll earn a few hours into the campaign. Press the aim button (LT or L2) in the air to hover, aim the cursor, then press the attack button (RT or R2) to do a Superman-esque dive into a group of enemies. You can do this often -- all it costs is stamina.
If you really want the Dubstep Gun, you'll earn it towards the end of the campaign anyways, at which point you can just equip it from your armory.
Don't forget that you can access the "phone" menu by pressing the Back button (Select), and call your crew for help (it's the lower left option). I kept forgetting this because it's so hidden, but it's very useful.
If you're having trouble during missions involving constantly spawning enemies via portals, the best course of action is to head to a nearby building, and shoot the portals from afar. Otherwise, you risk getting constantly hit, and by the time you get your bearings, more portals will spawn. Without spoiling anything, this works very well in the final fight.
Zap the Zin Empire Saints Row IV is the wackiest game yet. Just when you thought hitting people with giant dildo bats was crazy, how about smacking aliens with giant dildo bats while running 100 miles per hour, leaping 100 feet in the air -- as... read feature
Not much longer now! Saints Row IV is almost out and it's a pretty amazing game. Seriously, check out our review.
The wait can be painful, so here's a new trailer for the game giving us a behind-the-scenes look at some of th... read
Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Why do gamers defend their favorite titles from criticism with such volatility? According to some, it's because they don't want to see their genitalia removed.
Is inclusivity the enemy of creativity? Is restriction an inherent part of congeniality? The Jimquisition considers recent controversies against the fear of a game being "neutered" to "pander" to new audiences. read feature
"We're definitely turning the tables on the aliens. For all the misery they've inflicted on the human race, being able to use the alien probe on them seems only just." -- Jim Boone, senior producer on Saints Row IV.
Quote of the year, ladies and gentlemen. Quote of the year. read
The Super Dangerous Wad Wad Edition, because of course
// Brett Makedonski
The best version of Saints Row IV will also be far and away the most expensive one. We're not talking a couple hundred dollars for some figurines. No, the Super Dangerous Wad Wad Edition will run a cool one million dolla... read
It's a pansexual paradise!
It is with no small amount of delight that I bring you a new episode of Now Bloody Playing -- featuring an early look at the world of Saints Row IV. In this video, I walk you through all the teased "Romance Options" found in... read feature
There will be over 100 tracks spanning seven radio stations too
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Volition's associate producer Kate Nelson spoke with Edge Online about all things Saints Row, and specifically brought up how the team weren't fans of THQ's marketing push using porn stars.
“I did not always love how mu... read
The Inauguration Station for Saints Row IV is out now on Steam and Xbox 360 with a PlayStation Network release set for Tuesday, August 13 (or tomorrow, if you're in the UK). This is the game's standalone character creator, w... read
After a ridiculous amount of faffing about, Saints Row IV has finally been deemed appropriate for adults to buy. Until now, Australian men and women were considered responsible enough to get jobs, buy homes, and get married, ... read
I thought this all got fixed but apparently Australia's ratings board still has decided to refuse classification for Saints Row IV for the second time. A conveining of a Review Board found that the original ruling by the... read
There sure have been some stupid collector's editions, but this one takes the cake -- and I mean that as the sincerest of compliments. It's Saints Row, after all. You kind of just have to roll with it.
Deep Silver and Volitio... read
Well, yeah -- of course Saints Row IV has a Season Pass. And, as expected, it'll include access to Enter the Dominatrix, which is now being described as "a tongue-in-cheek version of what this content was originally going to ... read
Previously slated as a standalone expansion for Saints Row: The Third, Enter the Dominatrix has since been incorporated into Saints Row IV, though "very little" of the content made the cut in the merge accordin... read
Spoilers: Johnny Gat was killed in Saints Row: The Third. Well, you were lead to believe that since it all happened off screen.
Anyway, he's back in Saints Row IV. Daniel Dae Kim is also back to voice the character as well. I loved that little Hawaii joke in the new trailer. read