Saint’s Row series is one of my favorite in the open world action genre. It brings with itself a sense of humor and creativity that is hard to find in any other game. Naturally when I heard about Volition the developer of Saint’s Row, working on a brand new IP for the current generation consoles, I was beyond excited to hear about it. While I wanted them to try their hands at another Saint’s Row, the idea that they were tackling a new IP didn’t really sound that bad. Unfortunately Agents of Mayhem might seem like a fresh idea but it doesn’t really come close to the experience offered by Saint’s Row and as a result, it was hard not to feel disappointed by it.
Agents of Mayhem feels like an attempt by Volition to tackle the current craze of featuring a group of characters on a mission. It features 12 distinctive heroes for the players to choose from and each of them has their own unique gameplay. The characters here are ethically diverse but fail to impress with their personality. This is one important aspect of the game that disappoints right from the get go. You have such a diverse cast of character here but with the same monotonous personality that doesn’t set them apart from one another.
The game is set in the city of Seoul where an evil villain Doctor Babylon and his organisation L.E.G.I.O.N has taken over as they attempt to control the world. You will be controlling the 12 agents that work for an organization M.A.Y.H.E.M whose ultimate goal is to foil the plans of Doctor Babylon. The game’s story sounds pretty old school and this is what the developers have intended to be the goal for it. If you think the setting here sounds familiar, you might remember the conclusion of Saint’s Row: Gat out of Hell which gives the user multiple endings at the end of the game. The world of Agents of Mayhem is the outcome of one of these endings and this is essentially where the link ends to the Saint’s Row series.
Agents of Mayhem feels like an alternative Saint’s Row game and it also plays like one. It is hard not to feel the similarity to the Saint’s Row series here although the one aspect that is lacked in the game is the witty humor and charm offered by Saint’s Row. The writing in Agents of Mayhem tries hard to play the comedy but fails in successfully executing it. This is a disappointment coming off from Saint’s Row and something that I had high hopes for considering the pedigree of the developer.
There is a lot of potential in Agents of Mayhem with the amount of efforts made to create its world, but it is met by a lackluster mission design that ends up being repetitive. You have dozen characters that you can use in missions and you gradually unlock them as you progress through the story, however the mission structure basically requires you to go from checkpoint to checkpoint while shooting the bad guys along the way. It could have been a much more fun game if the missions were just not as boring and repetitive as they ended up in the actual game.
Each of the character has a unique attack that can be executed. Aside from their special attacks, there is also a Mayhem mode that brings together a timed offensive attack from each of the character. It is executed once you fill a Mayhem meter by shooting enemies and performing various kills. In this sense, Agents of Mayhem often plays like a competitive shooter albeit in an offline setting which seems like an odd combo at first.
While Agents of Mayhem might have its fair share of flaws, it is pretty well made when it comes to the gameplay. The shooting controls are tightly integrated giving you the leverage to go over and above the ground. You have the ability to jump multiple times and each of the agent has their own jumping animation so they don’t feel the same to play here. Running and gunning feels satisfying if you manage to pull of headshots. You will be able to learn new skills which helps somewhat with the repetition in the mission design. The gameplay is easily the best part of the game, it is the mission design and the story structure that is lacking here.
Agents of Mayhem also utilizes animated cutscenes that look like they took a page from Saturday Morning Cartoons. Infact this is what seems to be the main inspiration behind Agents of Mayhem, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a shame that the developers simply choose to focus on the wrong ideas at hand. The addition of multiple characters is nice but the game doesn’t really need it. It could have worked with a handful of characters but with a more focused approach on the story and the mission structure.
Agents of Mayhem Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Agents of Mayhem is an open world action-adventure video game, developed by Volition, published by Deep Silver and distributed by Square Enix in North America. The game was released in August 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
Agents of Mayhem can be a fun experience if you ignore some of the repetition it carries and embrace its silliness.