Title: Agents of Mayhem
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: Action-adventure game
Official Site: http://www.aomthegame.com/
Release Date: August 2017
Where To Buy: Steam, Xbox Live, PSN Store
Agents of Mayhem is the flashy, cool kid that everyone knew in high school. He’s great at sports, funny, and gets all the girls. Hell, everyone even loves his dad (Saints Row). But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, theirs a lot more issues going on behind the scenes. That’s not to say that Agents of Mayhem is a bad game by any means. In reality, it’s a blast! After a certain amount of time with it though, there just isn’t enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
My first few hours with Violations (loosely tied) spin off to Saints Row franchise was filled with interesting introductions for both gameplay and characters. Agents of Mayhem plays very similarly to most video game shooters, emphasizing run and gun, a non-realistic action that is fast paced and fun. With that being said, the many perks home to each of its 12 playable characters makes for a varied amount of ways to play. Freeze and punch enemies with Yeti or mow them down with heavily stocked shooters like Braddox. Each character has their own unique feel to them. Some more literally than others, as the agents that make up the dozen come from all different types of nationalities. Whether they are a man or women, Indian or Russian, foul mouthed or polite, they make up a colorful group of characters. The rosters personality is easily my favorite part of the game, especially how they interact with each other.
Another part I really enjoyed was the decision to not only make the playable squad into a group of three but to make each of them playable. Having homies and allies was always a known mechanic to the Saints Row franchise, but the majority of the time, the player was regulated to playing as the character they created. In Agents of Mayhem, the quick swap not only allows to switch characters mid combat, it made for some fun combo possibilities. Using Yetti’s stun special and then quickly swapping to Hollywood to grenade them. This element, more than anything, adds to the mayhem, resulting in some mindless fun.
But when it comes down to it, that’s all the gameplay really ends up being, mindless. Despite the 12 agents and varying play styles, Agents of Mayhem lacks any distinct gameplay. While the stories and introduction of each new character are always awesome, the content in each mission becomes repetitive quickly. Most missions will consist of going from one point to another, battling wave after wave of enemies or bullet sponge bosses. To get to those points, there is a lot of driving involved, which is one of the most frustrating parts of the game.
I understand that the driving in Agents of Mayhem is meant to be unrealistic and cartoonish, but it’s a considerably poorly done feature for a game released in 2017. Poor handling, object collisions, horrid GPS, and a jarring camera make me prefer walking over driving. Unfortunately, a good bit of missions or side missions are made up of having to drive and destroy other cars. The only way to destroy the other cars is by ramming into them. No shooting, no health bar, just ramming. In a run and gun game about creating as much mayhem as possible, the last thing I want to do is have a car chase in a small city, in cars, I don’t enjoy driving.
And yes, despite being based in a futuristic Seoul, South Korea – a huge metropolis where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways, and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets – the city is deceivingly small and lifeless. I remember in the first hour, right before I was given control to roam the city, I looked over a balcony in wonder regarding the scope of the city in front of me. But when it comes down to it, each building molds into one in the fictional rendition of Seoul. I had hoped that this wouldn’t be the case when exploring the “Lairs” that come along with new missions as well, but they just repeat the same layout each time, similarly to Dragon Age 2.
As much as I loved the playable characters personalities and backstories, Agents of Mayhems main plotline and villains are uninteresting cliches. Again, I understand that it’s more of a parody of the genre amped up to 11, but there is very few memorable antagonist, despite having whole sections devoted to fighting the lead members of Legion.
It’s weird that Agents of Mayhem has so many creative characters in the main group of Mayhem, but is lacking that same diversity in most of its other areas. The game is by no means a dud or horrible, but will likely only be fun in small doses, mostly as a way of passing the time as a mindless shooter.
Verdict: Violations first step outside of the Saints Row genre is a valiant effort, but certainly a misstep. While it contains a colorful cast of witty and unique characters, it fails to innovate or improve upon anything that’s been done before. If you’re a fan of the Saints Row series, you’ll probably enjoy Agents of Mayhem for its call backs and similarities, but may tire of its repetitive nature after a short time period.
- Colorful cast of playable characters
- Varied abilities and combos for squads
- Repetitive gameplay
- Seoul lacks soul
- Cliche main story, forgettable villains
- Driving/amount of driving based missions