Agents of Mayhem may look familiar and don’t worry, you’re not going mad, this is in fact made by Volition, the same guys who made the fun and anarchic Saints Row games and is a spin-off so in that respect, you’ll be in familiar here. Expect over-the-top moments, a host of wise-cracking characters with ‘top bantz’ and lots of things to shoot up and destroy in an open world.
The plot here is basically a pastiche on something out of a Bond movie. A bad dude called Doctor Babylon and his Legion are intent on destroying Seoul in South Korea with dark matter and you your team of three agents which you can expand upon as the game unfolds are there to put a stop to him.
The missions take place in an open world but to be honest, there’s not really a reason to go too far off the path of where you’re told to by your next objective. There are some shards and chests to find that will give you extras which you can use to upgrade your character but don’t expect a tonne of side missions here for you to stumble across. There isn’t even a mini map to tempt you with nearby icons. You’ll have to go into the menus to find a map. The missions themselves aren’t really anything special either. Whilst in Saints Row you essentially went somewhere, shot a load of things up, and then drove or flew to the next location to do it all again, the mega over-the-top nature of it made it really entertaining. Here, there are some amusing moments but it seems like Volition haven’t let loose as much as they could have. There are some colourful characters and enemies but nothing as fun as the Dubstep Gun or hitting people round the head with a massive purple dildo!
This game kind of feels like a mix between Crackdown and Overwatch. Each character has different abilities and the cool thing is that you can swap between them at any time with a tap of the d-pad. This tactical switch can be used to recharge health or to change tactics on the fly if you need to get in close and melee someone or attack from afar with ranged weapons. Each character also has a special ability and their own special Mayhem ability which can be activated upon picking up a glowing Fleur. Do this and you’ll have a timed period of badassery which can again be upgraded as you gain levels and earn cores which you can spend on any character you choose.
You can unlock new characters by taking part in solo missions which tell their back story, not only with the action you play but also with some animé style cut scenes which are pretty and well put together.
It’s also a good thing that you can alter the difficulty of the game whenever you deploy from the base called the Ark. If you want more cash and rewards you can crank things up a notch or two above the recommended difficulty which levels up as your characters grow in health and power. It’s a quick way to level up faster if you’re into getting jacked up as quickly as possible.
My main issue with this game is that it’s bound to be compared to the last Saints Row game and it’s just not as fun to play. There may be nuances to the combat by equipping different powers to each character but they just don’t feel that different in the heat of battle against AI. In combat there is an added nuance as certain characters and enemies deliver buffs and debuffs during combat which have to be adapted to on the fly which does mix things up and provide an extra element of strategy but on the whole it’s usually a question of the old school tactic of keeping moving as you fire and swapping out characters regularly if their health gets too low which makes it feel like an Xbox 360 game.
Agents of Mayhem isn’t a bad game. It’s fun to play but I just get the feeling developers Volition have been asked to hold back a bit. It gets 7 out of 10.
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