Saints Row IV: Gat Out of Hell

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If there are purple wings in hell then I’m going there.

Steve-O and I enjoyed our time with Saints Row IV so much that we decided to extend our experience with the Gat Out of Hell expansion. At the time of purchase it was $19.99 on PSN. We figured $20 would be a fair price for 10-15 more hours of Saints Row over-the-top ridiculousness with the added bonus of playing as Johnny Gat in Hell going toe-to-toe against Satan. Thankfully we were not let down.

Things start off with the surviving gang celebrating Kinzie’s birthday. One of the geniuses decides it’d be a great idea to get out the Ouija board. Then things go straight to Hell. Literally.

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Even Zinyak gets invited to these things.

The main protagonist you created in Saint’s Row IV gets kidnapped, and Johnny heroically decides to save them. Kinzie comes onboard because reasons. Hey, it’s her birthday dammit, she can go to Hell if she wants to.

A cool feature we didn’t take advantage of is being able to choose to play as either Johnny or Kinzie. Steve-O and I didn’t know much about Johnny since we jumped on the Saints Row train on The Third, so it was fun to spend time with the SR veteran character. He’s all for pointless violence, and the DLC basically has you committing many of the same violent side missions as the main entry to fill your Satan “aggro meter” to draw his attention. These include Hell versions of some of our favorites like Tank Mayhem and insurance fraud.

One main feature, game play wise, that stands out from SRIV is the addition of flying. Johnny has ember wings and can soar to traverse the underworld and collect clusters for ability upgrades. This is way more frustrating than the awesome super-sprint. To me, flying is like swimming… I pretty much always hate how it works in video games. Unforunately, Gat Out of Hell’s flying mechanics are not as polished as they could be, leading to quite a bit of frustration if you plan on doing the mini-games that require some relatively precise flying skills.

As with most Saint’s Row games, I was astounded by the creative weapons we were given to play with. Seriously, developer creativity amazes me at times. Since you’re in Hell, you get weapons representing everything from demons to plagues. There’s even an armchair with machine guns for arm rests.

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This hot number is Uriel’s sword.

In Gat Out of Hell, we were treated to a lot of interesting surprises. The plot isn’t entirely complicated, but it throws in some super entertaining tidbits like musical numbers, cameo appearances from famous historical figures like William Shakespeare, and an exclusive peek into the Devil’s family drama. Satan’s daughter, Jezebel, is rebelling, and what better bad boy to fall for than our own Johnny Gat?

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Satan is pretty much how I expected… But still a lot of fun to watch and fight.

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Disney-esque random outbursts into song never get old!

If you enjoyed Saint’s Row IV and need an excuse to visit the series’ wanton violence and over-the-top humor in the fiery pits of Hell, Gat Out of Hell has you covered. It’s $20, sure, but it has enough content to easily occupy a gamer for at least 10+ hours. We certainly didn’t regret diving into Hell to rescue our sociopath President!

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Shena’s E3 Highlights

All the big press conferences and interesting events of E3 2015 are now over, and I’m still sorting in my head which games I’ll be scrambling to find the time to play next year! This year there were some announcements that excited me more than I care to admit, while others I sort of shrugged off, and some that made me happy for fans of franchises that I don’t necessarily follow.

Let me start by saying that I think Nintendo totally bombed their pre-recorded show. The puppets coming out at the beginning was cute and all, but they failed in using that Muppet-esque distraction as a decoy from their shoddy presentation. It started out with a new StarFox game. I’m glad for the people who have been begging for a new StarFox game for years, though it isn’t something that interests me. The gameplay will have to be amazing to win people over, because the graphics certainly aren’t doing it. Seriously, how embarrassing. After playing Bayonetta 2 and experiencing what the Wii U can put out graphically, it looks terrible. At least during SquareEnix’s conference they came out and said, “This demo was only in 30 FPS but the game will be 60,” to let the audience know if something is indeed downgraded because it’s a work in progress.

Nintendo had a super terrible 3DS multiplayer Metroid title… thing. I don’t even know, because they didn’t bother to go into detail on that even though fans have been BEGGING for a Metroid game for years. They did delve into the 3DS multiplayer/co-op Legend of Zelda game that NOBODY WANTS. But, you know, couldn’t go out of their way to show what they’ve been doing with the Zelda Wii U game they showcased a year ago.

With Fire Emblem off of my personal radar, Nintendo still had a few titles that I am looking forward to: Xenoblade Chronicles X, “Super” Mario Maker, and that 3DS Paper Mario meets Mario RPG game looks fun too.

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I honestly don’t usually get excited about mech games!

Xenoblade Chronicles and Mario Maker got dates which makes me really happy…. December 4 and September 11, respectively. So that’s two E3 games from Nintendo being released before Christmas. I loved Xenoblade Chronicles, and really wish I had spent more time with the side quests and other optional content. Mario Maker looks like a great dose of fun creativity. I can’t wait to see the levels my fellow gamers develop that I will undoubtedly die 1,000 times on.

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A goomba pyramid…. genius.

I also watched most of Sony’s press conference. The new IPs like Horizon and No Man’s Sky look pretty awesome. The Last Guardian made a lot of people happy, but I’ve gotten “Meh” about it after all of these years. The Final Fantasy VII reveal made me shed fangirl tears… Although now I’ve got my cynical glasses on, just waiting to see if SquareEnix is going to screw it up like they have everything else in the last decade. (Okay, except FF:RK. Srsly, it’s the best F2P game ever.) I know I’ll be playing it either way… whether they totally eff up the battle system and shoehorn in all the stupid FFVII compilation crap.

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If nothing else, it will at least be pretty.

Unsurprisingly, there was also fun gameplay footage from the new Uncharted game. My hubby and I are looking forward to playing A Thief’s End, so the vehicle driving sequence with all the Drake/Sully banter kept us at the edge of our seats.

I’m shocked there was nothing God of War related at Sony’s event, but I suppose it is for the best.

Going back to SquareEnix. First E3 press conference ever. And it shows. Well, as a fan of JRPGs (growing up, anyway) some of what they showed did intrigue me. Especially that Kingdom Hearts mobile game that I’m positive NOBODY asked for. In all seriousness, I really liked what we saw of KH3 (still no release date time frame.. no kidding). The battle system looks as fun as the story is convoluted. At this point I don’t even know if I should recognize the characters playing chess in the trailer… Someone help me out here!

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Seriously, who is this Rikku look-alike?

I haven’t played Just Cause games yet, but the third game looks like a lot of fun. I’ll have to do some research on them. Judging from the footage from Just Cause 3, I think I could get sucked into the sandbox carnage on display. There was also more FFVII (including an IOS port alongside the PC port), more Final Fantasy World or whatever the hell it is called, a new Nier project, more Deus Ex Machina, and the rather secretive Tokyo RPG project. Tokyo RPG project seems to exist to solidify their dedication to creating JRPGs.

I’ll admit my focus has shifted to Western RPGs in recent years. In the last year, the RPGs I enjoyed the most were probably South Park: The Stick of Truth and the Mass Effect trilogy (I didn’t start playing them until last year). And, I’m happy to announce… there were new games announced for both series! The new South Park game is titled “The Fractured But Whole.” Let that sink in.

While I am disappointed that no new details for Mass Effect were divulged outside of the title and release time frame, I’m still excited. While many might harp on my for wishing this… I was really hoping for a Mass Effect trilogy remaster. I need an excuse to play the trilogy again. The thought of slogging through the first Mass Effect in its current state pains me, but I can’t picture just picking up Mass Effect 2 from the start. I’m weird like that.

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Bioware swears this is not Spiderman wearing N7 armor.

And those are pretty much all the games that I’m personally excited for. I’m jealous about Tomb Raider, but seeing as how it is a timed exclusive I suppose I’ll get over it. Hopefully Uncharted won’t come out too late and will scratch that itch for me.

What were your E3 highlights?

Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 4: Sons of Winter

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I’m sure this city needs no introduction.

The latest in TTG’s Game of Thrones interactive series, Sons of Winter, picks up in some story lines and drags in others. Mira Forrester, the handmaiden to Lady Margaery who keeps finding herself in all sorts of King’s Landing gossipy troubles, was even more painful than usual to slog through. I should’ve enjoyed stickin’ it to the chubby jerk named Andros. He rightfully deserved the double-handed trickery I performed against him in the name of preserving the Forrester’s hand in ironwood trade. And yet, I was more than willing for her portions to end to get to the more action-oriented segments.

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Daenerys is definitely one of the best looking adaptations to her HBO counterpart.

Daenerys’ model is certainly one of the better looking ones. But what she was bestowed upon with beauty the writers took away in attitude. She’s got a stick up her butt or something… all bent outta shape over Drogon going missing. Yet for some reason I can’t discern (except to cause conflict for the sake of conflict) she refuses to believe Asher and company saw Drogon. And when I presented his tooth as proof, she got all defensive and stood by her poor baby when we described how he KILLED a bunch of people. It was all very contradictory to the Daenerys we know, who was guilt-stricken over her dragons eating children and CHAINED them up in dark seclusion.

As usual, Asher and Beska’s sequences are full of action. In this case, they are assisting The Mother of Dragons in taking over Meereen in return for acquiring an army to assist with the Forrester family’s Whitehill problem. There was a “stealthing through the streets of Meereen” portion (insert not-so-surprised gasp). Usually I hate stealth, with all its transparent tacked-on-because-every-game-needs-stealth-moments and OHKs. This wasn’t so bad. Easy, short, and to the point. I’m a bit concerned about potential ramifications over what I allowed Beska to do, defying orders and all, so we’ll see if it amounts to anything in Episode 5.

Garred Tuttle, our Castle Black token character, had a rather bland showing this episode. He, along with Cotter and Pyke, finally leave Castle Black behind in pursuit of the legendary North Grove. I was relatively disinterested until his cliffhanger at the end, when we’re introduced to a new character:

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Looks like she’s wearing a Daenerys wig.

I won’t spoil who she is, but suffice it to say, I’m curious to see how Garred’s story will progress moving forward. I’m hoping it gets the shot of adrenaline it needs.

And, at long last, the Forresters on the home front FINALLY start giving it back to the Whitehills. After tolerating Gryff the entire series thusfar, there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to beat his face in when I had the chance. Elaena, Rodrik’s betrothed in my game, finds her breaking point and is instrumental in assisting the Forresters in exacting revenge on the Whitehills.

Did I mention how much I love it when women in the GoT universe release their badassery?

I was a little worried when this dashing young man came walking in with my woman:

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Finally, some archers!

I almost thought she was going to say she was sick of all the drama and moved on with her life. Instead, I got a “Do you remember my brother?” And released a sigh of relief.

While it’s true this episode finally let me release some pent up aggression against the Whitehills, it still sets the stage for some interesting events forthcoming… I can’t help but feel all the advances I made are going to blow up in my face next episode. But hey, that’s all part of the allure when it comes to playing these sorts of games. And it wouldn’t be Game of Thrones if they didn’t pull the rug out from under me and kick me in the face a few times, would it?

Saints Row IV

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That’s an enormous energy drink can, in case you were wondering.

Over-the-top violent and sexual humor, super powers, and a whole lotta purple. My three favorite things.

Also, Saints Row IV in a nutshell.

If you played Saints Row The Third, you only need to imagine more of the same type of gang violence and humor, except now your character is the President of the United States and imbued with superpowers in a sort of Infamous knock off kinda way.

This is all possible because… *Cue spoiler alert* EARTH IS DESTROYED!! By this jerk:

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Meet Zinyak, destroyer of worlds.

The game opens with a bang. Quite literally, actually, and removes trite things like reality to offer a radical evolution of the series. Much of the gameplay takes place in a simulation created by Zinyak. Think of him as a collector of humans, placing his toy-things in an artificial reality to play in. The simulation is basically a replica of Steelport. I know it was supposed to be Steelport, but I was so busy sprinting at the speed of light and flying without a cape that I hardly noticed it was the same place. After the obligatory tutorial quests that introduce you to vehicles and aside from the side missions, I never touched a vehicle. I know it’s hard to believe… I couldn’t believe it myself. But with all the crazy upgrades with sprinting, jumping and gliding, there is no reason to drive a car.

You will obtain superpowers that will aide in creating Saints Row-style mass mayhem and slaughter, but they didn’t stop me from using guns. In this regard, the abilities act more as a supplement than a complete replacement. Besides, the team came up with some crazy new weapons that you’ll love to play with. Our favorite? The dubstep gun.

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This is only the first of many models you can choose from.

The dubstep gun fires waves of sick dub beats to dance your foes (and their vehicles) to death. No exaggeration here. In fact, there’s a few different types of music you can choose from too. Other weapons include guns that disintegrate your foes and create black holes. Even the tentacle pr0n melee weapon can knock cars across the map when it is fully upgraded.

All of these fun guns don’t help the battle system for me. I don’t find it intuitive or very responsive. Thankfully, me sucking at the controls didn’t ruin the game for me. Saints Row IV is kind enough to allow the player to become ridiculously OP from the start. Especially with all these crazy new super powers. Becoming OP also happens to be Steve-O’s favorite thing to do, so he pounded out all of the side missions ASAP. Fun side missions such as tank mayhem and insurance fraud from the predecessor are still here. Insurance fraud is great for some flying ragdoll action. The amount of cache you can rack up for upgrades doing these side missions is immense. On top of all the side missions spread across the map, there are also clusters to collect for upgrading abilities. And trust me, you will want to get upgrades and be the most OP MFer out there.

I’m a bit saddened about certain characters from The Third not being included. I read a blurb about all the DLC and it looks like they can be downloaded, but even then it sounds like they won’t have much to contribute to the story. The characters who do return do not disappoint. Their personal quests and loyalty missions (A la Mass Effect 2) are hilarious for the most part. None of them felt like a chore. There’s even some character growth in this game with some background information; helpful for players like myself who weren’t around for the first two games. Hell, all I knew of Johnny Gat was his death scene in The Third.

I can see how longtime fans of the series could have been turned off from this entry. It’s even more over-the-top than The Third (Hell, it has a STREAKING mini-game). The flying, gliding, and overall alien invasion takes away from the gang violence the series began with. Personally, I liked all the new additions… they allowed for much more creativity during exploration and combat. I think the next entry will be a bit more level-headed. Which is fine… I GUESS. It does make me glad they went ahead with this idea, even if it amounts to nothing more than a fringe entry that only weirdos like Steve-O and I enjoyed.

And on that note… we’re already knee-deep into the Gat Out of Hell DLC. Keep your eyes peeled for that review!