Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell PS3 Review

gat_out_of_hell

WARNING: SPOILERS

In continuation of the over the top antics and storyline the Saints Row crew throw a Birthday party for the resident nerd, Kinzie Kensington. They find out she hasn’t ever had a birthday party before, people are only mildly surprised, and then they break out the cake, generic fun party stuff, and a spoof of a Ouija board. They start asking the board a bunch of questions and it somehow opens a portal to Hell. It sucks the President of the United States of America in and then immediately closes itself. Everyone gets pissed and Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington volunteer to go rescue him.

So right off they take the two worst characters of the series and make them the lead characters. Yes, Matt Miller might be a ugly looking dork who’s possibly closet gay and obsessed with a shitty TV series, but at least he has personality. Kinzie Kensington is the kind of nerd that most nerds ignore, because she’s for lack of a better vocabulary: one dimensional. While most people can talk about other things that aren’t their job and live a normal life, Kensington lacks that ability. Same goes for Johnny Gat. His major characteristic is talking about killing people, and then does some killing of the aforementioned people. Seeing how everyone in most of video gaming history has this ability I don’t see why that makes him so special.

Despite this crappy note I liked most of the story that was actually told. Sure it’s a little slap dash, but a lot of the humor is still there. It has a bit of a mundane feeling since its all more of the same kind of either story or gameplay but I at least liked the ambiance of Hell and all the details added to the world. One of the major things I didn’t care for is the feeling that they either left content out or just flat out stopped caring. One major things I always do in sandbox games is take over the town, when able. This is a feature in most of the series and you get a few good perks from shops because of this. In other games like GTA you can even buy houses in areas you’ve taken over. Anyway, when you hit 100% it transfers back to the storytelling version of cut scenes. It’s where one of the main characters opens a ugly children storybook with the Saints Row symbol on it. She then flips through the pages of the book and basically reads it to you with really elaborate art pieces. It goes on for about 30 minutes and gives a dozen or so things anyone could get hyped about. Now instead of letting you play out those things, which would have added lots of depth to your relationship with the members of Hell, tells you how everything happens, rather then you being apart of it. It tells you how a fight unfolds between your group vs. whoever and how they reside in hell now. It’s a complete cop out of game play and some possible good story missions.

The graphics are the standard and good enough for the gameplay. The only fancy elements were the constant drips or raining lava. There were the occasional glitches, but nothing serious. Once I had to restart the game because I was wall climbing and got stuck in the building. Its like I could walk around the interior of the building if it was made entirely of two way glass. Also the freezing glitch, that stopped the game completely, was remedied in this version. Although there were major sound issues. Many times when I’d snag one of the audio collectibles it would get about half way through what it was saying and then just cut out. Then it would be pure silence for the next few moments or you’d switch back to the aerial sounds of Hell and generic music. It also had trouble playing anything in the background while I grabbed one. A few times I’d have someone shotting at me or I’d be on fire and the audio would block everything out and just focus on the collected audio.

All of the previous power ups from SR4 are available in this game as well. You can still run up walls, throw ice/fire/darkness/whatever, send minions to do your bidding, and power stomp the ground. They only improved those marginally. The only addition they included was the ability to fly, but it’s kinda lacking since its more like gliding. They explain that Satan got it from somewhere and Blackbeard stole it, but I don’t remember much after that. Also the variety of weapons they included embody the 7 deadly sins. Most of them are either A) obnoxious or B) already in the game in some form. Like the Ark of the Covenant gun is suppose to represent Wrath. It sucks in enemies and shoots them out in a explosion. Cool, but the stomp power up already sucks enemies in, crushes them, and some explode. When ya think about it it’s not really too great add more collectibles that do the same thing. It makes neat combos, but again, useless when you’re super empowered and killing everything was rather easy.

The final fight with Satan was hideously disappointing. It basically consisted of him disappearing and reappearing in a certain time frame, or essentially a flashy version of peak-a-boo. Sure he hit you with everything he had, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve already gotten every special hidden power up or gun and the health bar becomes a joke. Sure this series is all about empowering, over empowering?, the player, but we’re fighting Satan for fucks sake!!! The master of darkness, the evil of all evil, etc. He could have been at least a little bit scary or intimidating. I mean Satan is cartoonie in other productions, but he still had a feel of intimidation in some way.

This ‘DLC’ was both disappointing and refreshingly strange. While it didn’t add anything new gameplay wise however the level(s) and artistic interpretation of hell was fun, funny, and really damn detailed. While I hate collectibles, the commentary was funny at points and added some depth to the world. The rest of the story was just meh. The musical fairy tale style of story telling was disjointed. It often interrupted by actual cut scenes that felt a lot more serious then the many of the cut scenes. Yeah all the fun parts are there: the running, the shooting, the huge explosions, but it really really feels like one of their writers just said “FUCK IT!” and stopped writing , or caring, at some point about telling more of the story. So it really does feel weirdly incomplete.

If you want something really abstract, even for this series, then try this out. Otherwise I’d be weary of it.

6.0/10

Must Come Down Movie Review

MustComeDown

WARNING: SPOILERS

Ashley is a bit of a free spirit who’s just trying to find a good time and his way through life. After quitting his job to travel he’s traveling back to his home town to revisit past memories. Holly just recently got dumped by her boyfriend. She’s also looking for a new job and is confused as to what to do with her life. The two meet at a bus stop and eventually start talking. They bond and help each other over come emotional obstacles.

So I usually don’t like indy movies because they feel pandering or the story is either repetitive of something from it’s genera. This thankfully wasn’t that. It’s a simple love story between two lost souls and kinda dorky people who just want to be loved. For the most part it’s all about subtle moves. Like Holly will lay on the blatant hints of wanting more then a friendship. Then Ashley would brush it off, but would kinda acknowledge it the next day. It was like a cute disjointed teen romance. There’s one scene where she hugged him and started to cry. Then as he left he looked emotionally drained. I honestly think he knew he made a mistake.

To a certain extent there isn’t much of a story. It’s mostly quick montages of people goofing off together. Yes it seems to deal with Ashley’s social awkwardness, but he doesn’t seem all that bad off. He does mention his parents getting divorced, but it seemed to lack detail. It’s obvious Holly just wants to be in love again but would probably be better suited just keeping calm for a while. It does seem to capture the uncertainty of life, that bad alone feeling, and how great it is to just find someone.

PEW PEW!!

PEW PEW!!

The scenic outlay of most of the shots are brief and capture simple details. They’re nicely shot and the simpler they are capture more of the moment between the characters. Its quick cuts go directly to what the other characters were previously talking about and usually winds up hilarious. The musical pacing is great. It reminds me of Garden State because it didn’t use orchestra music to heighten some emotional scene. It would interject random indy bands and it always seem to help make smooth transitions between the characters, especially at parts with no dialogue.

First off I’ll acknowledge my bias towards Ashly Burch. Yeah I like her acting, and voice acting. I originally started watching her in Hey Ash Whatcha Playin. Which she plays Ashly Burch, the character, who’s debatably clinically insane. So this was a little more normal for her. She did well as a worried emotional trainwreck without giving into some of the old acting cliches of the romance genera. There was only one scene of hers that I think she UNDER played, but the script might have been written that way. David Fetzer was funny to watch as a flighty guy who just seemed to like to coast through life. He was weirdly likeable. If anything his character reminds me of ‘that guy’ at all the parties. He’s weird, he dances to his own beat, and thinks about everything a lot. Liberty Cordova was a cute addition to the cast. Her brief parts gave a ditzy kinda feel. It was brief, but cute. Colin Fugit had about 10 lines in the whole movie and he was probably the weakest of the group. Yeah he played a scumbag character but it seemed stale or hesitant. But eh, it doesn’t mean he won’t get better. Most of the other actors had small parts so its difficult to critique them all.

This is a heartwarming movie despite it’s SLOW pace. The cast plays their characters out well and seem earnest. The music was a awesome addition to the movie. It was probably a bunch of indy bands, but every song laced the scene and feeling of the moment so well it’s weirdly soothing. The scenic shots are light and done very well with natural lighting without too much visual interference. Despite it not ending the way I would liked it to, it’s still a beautifully melancholy romance movie for people who struggle to move on. It’s something us diehard romantics wish we could experience at least once, for a little while. For me its something I’d watch on a rainy day.

It’s available as a digital download, to rent, or you can buy a physical copy at their website.

7.5/10