One of the hallmarks of console gaming in recent years is the rise of the "HD" remake, and with the new generation of consoles, the new trend is to offer games from last generation with improved performance and a handful of graphical upgrades. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected is one such package, and it comes with a new, standalone expansion: Gat Out of Hell.
Gat Out of Hell's campaign begins where Saints Row IV ends, with the Saints in their spacecraft having a laugh. Someone gets the bright idea of playing with an Ouija board, and things go south relatively quickly. After inadvertently opening a portal to Hell, the leader of the Saints gets sucked in, Johnny Gat decides to go after them, and Kinzie tags along. Upon arriving in Hell, you learn that Satan plans to marry off his daughter Jezebel to the leader of the Saints. Johnny figures out the best way to solve this problem is to kick Satan's ass, and off you go.
Along the way you'll meet several (in)famous characters from history, such as Blackbeard and William Shakespeare, as well as some old friends and enemies from previous Saints Row games, irritate Satan, and otherwise cause all manner of destruction in Hell.
Early on, you gain the power of flight, which (after mastering the slightly squirrely controls) is a great amount of fun. By the end of your adventures in Hell, you'll be flying all over and doing all kinds of tricks. However, the rest of the powers you gain are fairly uninspired, and feel like slightly altered versions of the powers you have in Saints Row IV.
Saints Row IV already suffered a bit from its origin as an expansion pack, where long stretches of the game were simply the other characters telling you to go participate in side activities. Gat Out of Hell is almost entirely made up of repeating side activities - even the "Loyalty" missions turn out to be repeatedly doing side missions. The new characters are all criminally underused as well. If I've got Vlad the Impaler on my side, I really want to do something other than try and complete the Salvation or Torment Fraud activities.
Cause enough chaos by completing activities and you'll fill the Satan's Wrath meter. At certain points, you'll get a cutscene to advance the story. Saints Row has been getting increasingly absurd and Gat Out of Hell is no exception: parts (not all) of the storyline are presented in musical form.This might turn some people off, but it's just so… so… stupid. It made me laugh quite a bit, and I found myself wanting to power through the aspects of the game I didn't enjoy quite as much just to see what would happen next.
At those same points, the world will be altered a bit to make life more difficult for you - at first Satan will pepper the world with demonic surface-to-air missiles to try and shoot you out of the sky. Then he'll kidnap all of your friends. You know, the usual stuff.
Gat Out of Hell's worst crime is probably the fact that it doesn't really make good use of its setting. The minions of hell all drive sweet monster trucks, but Hell itself feels kind of like Steelport with lava. Flying around and grabbing orbs to power your abilities is fun and all, but the fact that all of the citizens are just the same tormented soul model removes a lot of the fun. Part of the appeal of screwing around in previous games was pulling off sweet wrestling moves on random citizens in fur suits or weird costumes and there's nothing like that to be found here.
Playing as a set character also takes away Saints Row's excellent character customization options. Part of the fun in previous games is dressing up in completely ridiculous outfits, or otherwise redesigning your character and its personality on the fly. None of that exists here. Even the weapons can't be reskinned in the same way that you could in Saints Row IV. That's not to say that playing as Johnny or Kinzie isn't fun in its own way, but I've found that I've grown quite attached to my own vision of the leader of the Saints.
The co-op features haven't changed from Saints Row IV, other than who you play as. You'll still be able to play with a friend or join a random player in the online space, and it works as expected. Since the open world isn't quite as fun to just screw around in, I'm not sure I like it as much as I did in Saints Row: The Third or IV, but you should still have a decent enough time.
All in all, I probably wouldn't recommend getting Gat Out of Hell on its own. There are also a handful of technical issues, such as special move animations having serious clipping problems. It actually stands in contrast to the otherwise excellent port of Saints Row IV that also comes in the package.