It’s taking everything I have to keep myself from writing about Dragon Age: Inquisition (which comes out on the 18th, by the way) for every article this month. But if something catches my eye enough to drag me from my DA trance, during release month no less, you can bet that it’s something amazing. What developer Volition has put on the table is nothing short of that. You might even call this DLC… sinfully good.
I’ve never talked about it on this blog, but I adore the Saints Row series of games. …Or at least the ones I’ve been able to play on Steam—three out of four ain’t bad. To recap briefly, the series follows the titular Third Street Saints, a gang led by its sociopathic leader known only as “the Boss”. The Saints go from taking over their town of Stilwater as the most powerful gang in the town to becoming business moguls and, eventually, the President and staff of the United States. The series started as a Grand Theft Auto rip-off of sorts, and took a more serious look into how gang violence is a reoccurring cycle and how badly it can destroy people’s lives, but the games eventually found their own voice in the absurd humor that produces things like a dubstep gun (a gun that shoots out sound waves of dubstep songs) and being carried back to your hideout in a chariot powered by a man in a gimp suit. Ah, how far we’ve come.
From the series, no character has been more popular that the too cool for school (but secretly a huge nerd) Johnny Gat, the Boss’s right hand man. This popularity was reflected in the games as well, with Gat becoming the face of the Saints rather than the Boss (who is a player created character). The Gat love was strong enough that when Volition killed him off in Saints Row: The Third the complaints from the audience were so loud and numerous that they brought the lovable sociopath back in Saints Row IV. And now we get to play as him in this stand-alone DLC.
Gat Out of Hell seems to be exactly what it says on the cover: Johnny Gat—and ex-FBI tech expert Kinzie Kensington—venture to hell to save the Boss’s soul and maybe stop the unholy matrimony between the Boss and the Devil’s daughter, Jezebel. Mostly, though, it seems like Gat wants to shoot the Devil in the face. Business as usual. The DLC is said not to follow the typical mission structure of the previous Saints Row games or typical RPGs; instead, it takes more of an open world approach. To explain further, the characters are given a meter that fills up as you do things in the city—which will probably range from beating up the Devil’s minions to finding various collectibles—and at different points on that meter, the story will progress. Although this kind of mechanic essentially boils down to the same “do a certain thing and the story continues”, it does add a certain replayability aspect to the game, since doing different order of things will eventually get you the same result.
I’m a little disappointed they used the male Boss character in the trailer; especially without releasing any promotional material with a female Boss character to balance it out. This has me a bit worried that, instead of importing the player-created Boss character from previous Saints Row save files, we’re going to be stuck with a pre-made Boss. Since I played through all of Saints Row with a lady Boss, it’s going to be extremely disappointing and jarring if that’s suddenly taken away from me. Still, I am pleased that we get to play as Gat and Kinzie. And thought the series isn’t perfect by any means, I trust Volition to make sure that the wedding plot isn’t full of disgusting tropes that will make the DLC really uncomfortable to play.
Gat Out of Hell is set to rain fire and brimstone on January 20th of next year. If you loved Saints Row IV and the superpower system, then I’d highly recommend keeping an eye out for this. If you’re one of the Saints Row 2 purists: lighten up, man. Just enjoy the ride.