From the very first moment of Genkibowl VII, the newest DLC for Saints Row: The Third, the player is drawn in by a familiar milieu of clever pop culture references and whacky, over-the-top scenarios.
Genkibowl promises, essentially, a Super Bowl for the insane, featuring silly events that range from skydiving through flaming rings to lighting pedestrians on fire whilst serving as Professor Genki's chauffeur. But does it continue Saints Row: The Third's benchmark of the most insane scenarios ever? Read on to find out.
Progressing through the five events (two instances each) of Genkibowl VII, there are little touches of Saints Row: The Third and, by extension, Volition's sense of humor sprinkled in but the DLC can largely be considered a series of mini-games culled together for some very brief entertainment. Each of the "events" in Genkibowl is, in one form or another, a riff on the side missions that were featured in the main campaign.
Sexy Kitten Yarngasm is Rampage, only with a giant ball of yarn instead of a tank, and Super Ethical PR Opportunity is Escort, except Genki's vehicle of choice sports flamethrowers, but no event more epitomizes the recycling of side missions better than Apocalypse Genki, which is a re-skinned Ethical Reality Climax. It's all very familiar territory for Genkibowl, except for one bright spot, the Sad Panda Skyblazing event.
In Sad Panda Skyblazing, the player must traverse through a series of flaming rings, whilst plummeting towards the streets below, and occasionally take breaks to chainsaw some mascots who are perched on rooftops before heading back to the skies. Now that is Saints Row: The Third. The other stuff? Cheap imitation.
As someone who found so much to like in Saints Row: The Third, Genkibowl VII, as the first piece in a planned trio of DLC, is an immense disappointment. Having completed all the events in a matter of less than two hours, there is nothing really tangible to hold on to - mostly because all of the clever writing that made the main game so unique is sacrificed for quick action.
There's no overall narrative, or character interaction to speak of, it is simply a mini-game collection, and the mini-games aren't all that engaging. Why Volition decided to take all of the elements that made Saints Row: The Third stand out, not just in a crowded 2011 Holiday season, but from its biggest competitor Grand Theft Auto, and put them aside is confusing to say the least.
Genkibowl VII is really only for the most hardcore of Saints Row: The Third fans - though, even they should be wary. But, if you happen to be in possession of the Saints Row Season Pass, there are worse ways to spend an hour.
Have you had a chance to check out Genkibowl VII? What are your thoughts on the very disappointing DLC?
Saints Row: The Third is available now for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Game Rant played the Xbox 360 version for this review.
[A side note to anyone who has completed the single player, and completely leveled up their character, being invulnerable to any damage lowers the difficulty exponentially. I ended up having to go to my second playthrough save (yes I liked this game that much) because I was simply breezing through most events.]