Saints Row the Third Genki Bowl DLC Review – I (didn’t) survive a Japanese game show

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With the latest title in the Saints Row franchise releasing last year, it was clear that the gangsters from Stillwater had finally escaped the image of a Grand Theft Auto clone and had managed to forge their own identity, one that was loaded with off the wall absurdity, cheesy stereotypes and absolute insanity.

While the loco experience may not have been to everybody’s taste, it was still a massive hit for developers Volition, and their tongue-impaled cheeks have been busy working on some DLC that expands more on the surreal Japanese game show of SR3 that mixes more craziness with mascots, over-sized dildos and challenges.

The madcap scientist Professor Genki is back, and this time, he plans on having the biggest, most brutal competition ever for his annual Genkibowl tournament.

It’s a slight tweak on activities that have already been covered in the initial game, and while it is kind of disappointing that there isn’t much new available here, the Genki Bowl challenges still make for some fun and ridiculous gameplay.

The retooled activities on offer are for the Genki Bowl comprise of Sexy Kitten Yarngasm, Sad Panda Skyblazing, Apocalypse Genki, and Super Ethical PR Opportunity.

Apocalypse Genki will be the most familiar to Saints Row fans, as players again have to navigate through a maze that is filled with deadly flamethrowers, electric traps and killer sharks, blasting away at various mascots in order to beat the clock and claim some cash.

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Sexy Kitten Yarngasm acts as a surrogate Tank Mayhem challenge, as players have to manoeuvre a giant ball of yarn over and through the city and its inhabitants, racking up a combo meter that allows for shockwave attacks.

Super Ethical PR Opportunity is essentially the escort missions with a new coat of paint, only this time, you’re protecting Professor Genki from overzealous fans, and helping the deranged host of the competition get his kicks by using the built-in flamethrowers on his car to torch civilians and objectives around him.

The Genki-mobile is a fantastic vehicle though, and allows for the onboard weapons to be activated once you’ve killed enough pedestrians. Sad Panda Skydiving however, is the one unique aspect of this DLC pack. You’ll find yourself falling past skyscrapers, dressed in a ridiculous panda outfit, having to navigate through flaming hoops while taking out henchmen on the roofs below.

Should you lose too much height however, there are conveniently-placed balloons, which a player can bounce off of to regain some altitude. While the premise is more unique, it could have done with a bit more polish, as the objectives can become unclear, while the controls can be stiff and unresponsive at the worst possible time.

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It’s not a very long DLC pack either, with the missions easily completed within the space of an hour or so. There’s plenty of new items available to customise your character, but its not the most substantial content to ever be released for a game.

If you’re looking for some quick content to while away the hour with and don’t mind a few spins on some gameplay that is already in the main game, only with a more vicious Japanese twist to it, you can’t go wrong with the Genki Bowl DLC.

Otherwise, it’s not really an essential addition to an already superb game.

Reviewed on PS3

Last Updated: January 31, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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