One of the concerns some of us have with the DLC business model is that we suspect good content is being held back. We worry someone is cutting cool stuff out of our games and then selling it to us separately. Fortunately, no such thing seems to be happening with Saints Row 3!

After the jump, Saints Row 3 jumps the panda

After a flurry of costumes, weapons, and cheat codes that passed for paid DLC, the Genki Bowl add-on is the first in a set of supposedly substantive add-ons for Saints Row 3. It adds some new activities, laid out in a linear sequence of missions, based on the strange cat mascot named Professor Genki. You remember him from those shooting gallery rooms where the two announcer guys tell jokes that aren’t really funny, but you can’t really hear them anyway, because you’re trying to shoot your way through the same stupid set of enemies for the seventh time so you never have to do this again.

The Genki Bowl DLC is weird for weird’s sake, and frankly, it’s not even that weird. A giant ball of rampaging pink yarn is just an immutable Katamari. The new pink catwomen homies are no stranger than the costumes you’ve probably been wearing all along. A pink convertible with mounted flamethrowers sure would be cool in a game without VTOL cycles, TRON tanks, and a moon buggy. The Apocalypse Genki activities — all both of them — are just slightly more convoluted versions of the Genki challenges already in the game. And then there is the skydiving game with a gliding panda, at which point the Genki Bowl DLC goes from being a pointless diversion to an actual obstacle. Remember those infuriating challenges in Arkham City and Just Cause 2 where you have to glide through rings? It’s like that, but with sloppier controls. It’s as if someone played through the ridiculously goofy and entirely throwaway skydiving sequences in Saints Row 3 and thought, “These should be harder so the player has to do them several times!”

Saints Row 3 is a tough act to follow, particularly given how much awesome over-the-top stuff is already in there. But dribbling out forgettable and pointless content like Genki Bowl is exactly the wrong way to follow it.

1 star
Xbox 360