The Game Over series will chronicle games we here at GameGrin complete this year, each article giving a retrospective on the game and our opinions on it.
When Reece came up with the idea of writing about games we finish, I immediately thought of replaying one of the Saints Row titles, just so I could have an excuse to write about it. However, I decided that would be too easy -- and I was already part way through the standalone DLC game Gat Out of Hell, anyway! My first playthrough on PS4, anyway...
I’ll start by explaining the series -- a group of gangbangers (Third Street Saints) rose to become the dominant force in their hometown of Stillwater, before going on to be darlings of the media despite their violent tendencies. Movies, TV shows, clothing lines, energy drinks -- they were so popular that the Boss (the player character) became the President of the United States of America.
That sums up to the start of the fourth title, the one set before Gat Out of Hell. I won’t spoil how Saints Row IV ends, but for reasons not entirely unrelated, at the start of this game President Boss gets kidnapped by Satan and dragged to the Christian version of Hell.
Unlike every other title, you take control of one of the top lieutenants of the Third Street Saints by the name of Johnny Gat. You can also play as Kinzie Kensington, a former agent of the FBI, but if you’re a longtime fan of the series then you’ll want to spend time with “Earth’s most puissant warrior”.
As you explore Hell on your quest to rescue your longtime best friend, there are tons of hidden nuggets of information in the guise of logs and guidebooks. They explain things such as why Hell looks the way it does, why the husks wandering around don’t look human, and all about what each character you meet has been up to since they were sent to the fiery afterlife. You get to punish the backstabbing Dex, find out what happened to the twins from Saints Row The Third, and you even get to meet Shakespeare -- a former lieutenant of Satan.
You learn that Satan intends his daughter to marry President Boss, and in order to get an invitation Gat must get noticed -- by blowing things up, killing demons and saving souls. One thing that confuses me is that, even before Satan is aware that you’re working against him, the demons who act as the police forces go after you for any crimes committed. Kill a bunch of husks, for instance and they’re after you -- it doesn’t make sense, as sins are a currency in Hell, and widespread murder is totally a sin… Though I suppose Satan does specifically say that counterfeit sins are currency.
As you kill your way through Hell in your efforts to anger Satan, you unlock super powers by being given the fallen angel’s cracked halo. These include flight, speed and a variety of mayhem-causing powers. Saints Row: The Third dabbled with super powers in one of the DLC, and Volition made Saints Row IV almost exclusively super powered, so by the time you get to GooH it doesn’t take much getting used to. Although it is the first time the powers have let you fly, so I found myself in the lava quite a few times when I first played, getting to grips with flying without a vehicle.
There are tons of callbacks to the previous Saints titles, as you’d expect from the series, with a lot of the activities crossing over too. Insurance Fraud sees you causing husks to injure themselves in traffic to get centuries knocked off of their stint in Hell, which is a little different, but plays the same as the other titles. Gat and Kinzie have a load of asides which are references to past games, so for a continuity nerd like myself they are all wonderful.
Certainly don’t make GOoH your first Saints Row game, but it’s a must play for any fan. It takes less than 10 hours to finish, but you’ll want to keep playing. Mainly because there’s a challenge for playing for 40 hours… At least there’s lots to do, with collectables abound.