impressions

Saints Row's Genki Bowl DLC Provides A Few Laughs, But Little More

by Dan Ryckert on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Saints Row: The Third was so packed with ludicrous events and activities, it made fans wonder what kind of crazy things Volition had in store for DLC. Early looks at Genki Bowl VII hinted at some insane content tied to everyone’s favorite homicidal Japanese game show mascot. It was made available today on XBLA, PSN, and Steam, and we just finished running through it.

Ads for the DLC tout “new missions” as part of the package, but “tweaked activities” would be more accurate. Most of its four activities (Sexy Kitten Yarngasm, Sad Panda Skyblazing, Apocalypse Genki, and Super Ethical PR Opportunity) are nothing more than altered versions of what we’ve seen in the standard game.

Sexy Kitten Yarngasm is essentially Tank Mayhem, with players running roughshod over Steelport as a gigantic ball of yarn. Earning combos will reward you with a shockwave move, which destroys items in a radius around the ball. Outside of cosmetic differences between the yarn and the tank and functional differences between the shockwave and cannon, these events are identical. You’ll still be racing against the clock to destroy high value targets, fences, and other items in an effort to cause a set amount of damage.

Apocalypse Genki is the same as the Genki levels we’ve seen before, with the added ability to throw mascots into shark-infested waters. Other than that, the combo-based gameplay, electric/fire traps, and weapon pickups are identical.

Super Ethical PR Opportunity is very similar to the Escort activities, only you’re showing Genki around town instead of a prostitute and her john. Instead of sex, murder is the objective this time around. Annoying fans are pestering Genki as he makes his way to an appearance, and he wants you to murder them by way of the Genkimobile’s quadruple flamethrowers. This new vehicle is a lot of fun, and lets you charge the flamethrowers by running over pedestrians. It’s added to your garage after you finish these missions, making it one of the best elements of the DLC pack.

While the previous three activities have essentially been seen before, Sad Panda Skyblazing is the most unique of the pack. After donning a panda suit and flying out of a helicopter, your objective is to murder roof-dwelling mascots and fly through flaming rings in the sky. Falling off of a roof before you’ve cleared it of enemies is annoying, but you can bounce off hot air balloons to regain some height. It may be a new experience, but it’s the most annoying of them all. The scoring system isn’t clearly explained, the skydiving controls can be troublesome, and we ran into several glitches in our time with the activity. In fact, we beat the final instance of the activity thanks to a glitch that magically granted us with more than ten times the cash we needed for completion.

As the first of several planned DLC packs, Genki Bowl VII could be seen as a bit concerning to those who bought the Season Pass. There are some laughs to be had thanks to silly situations involving giant balls of yarn and airborne pandas, but it’s a stretch to call this DLC a mission pack (we finished it in barely over an hour). You might want to check it out if you’re dying for a few new vehicles, homies, and wardrobe items, but you’re looking for substantial new content, you might want to give it a pass.