Good versus bad has never been funnier.
Agents of Mayhem hasn’t had a whole lot of talk from the gaming community. I’ll be the first to admit even I myself wasn’t too sure what to expect from the title, even being a fan of Volitions prior works like Saints Row and Red Faction. Now, having finished the game in around 15 or so hours, I’m happy to say this came out better than I could have hoped for, with an interesting mix of gameplay elements culminating in an extremely silly game.
Are you ready Agents?
Agents of Mayhem focuses on its presentation quite a bit, as it should. Going for an 80’s cartoon good versus evil theme, if G.I. Joe crosses the mind, it definitely feels intentional and like a nod to those bygone cartoon eras. You play as one of many agents that work for Persephone Brimstone, the owner of M.A.Y.H.E.M., who has recently tracked down the whereabouts of Legion, the evil organization bent on destroying the world, in Seoul, South Korea. Just as the agency has a colorful cast of characters, so do the bad guys, as each main mission is broken down into episodes focusing on them and there evil doings. It really brings the humor to the forefront of the missions, and I laughed quite often in my time playing.
Price I’d Pay: $49.99
How long to beat: 15-20 hours
Gameplay feels like a solid mixture of a few titles. One being Saints Row and that makes perfect sense, other games it feels to get inspiration from is Crackdown. The verticality of the map and colorful nature of the game along with collectibles hidden throughout give way to that. Add in some Overwatch aesthetics and the multiple characters and abilities, with randomized loot and skins to unlock, it’s easy to see why anyone would come walking away from the title with these exact thoughts. Shooting bad guys, jumping around the environment, and using special abilities feels smooth, which goes along with the nice character and environment visuals also. It’s a treat to the eyes, even if it doesn’t blow you away.
Players will naturally unlock some of the agents through the main mission, and the rest through side missions, each getting their own animated intro/backstory. Hollywood’s had me dying in laughter, but I’ll save that for players to see. There is a total of 57 missions, which include all the main story driven and the side missions for each character. The rest of the content, which ranges from running/platforming trials, car races, destroying bad guy, and more are in line with side content. There is even a way to send agents to other parts of the world to unlock more gear, exp, and enemy lairs to fight in.
The Good, the Bad, the Evil
Agents of Mayhem absolutely nails its premise, and provided a fun time the majority of my play through. By the end I had my own personal group of favorite agents, but ultimately I wanted to play with each and every one of them. Getting to level 20 or beyond will take quite some time to do, and ultimately I feel the game offers tons of replayabilty in terms of unlocks, leveling up, and hearing everything the agents have to say. Having only three agents available to play as on the map is a great way to mix and swap between the three using their abilities and maximizing damage. This is where the game really starts to prove you need a good team of three. Enemies will need to be weakened if they are shielded, or perhaps some can be stumbled and weakened. It’s not so much needed at the start of the game, but by the end it felt crucial in getting enemies down quicker, especially when so many are after your butt.
Some of the standout moments were the various boss battles and the dialog between them. When players go up against a boy band bad guy, well it speaks for itself. I couldn’t stop laughing at just how bad he sang once I killed his auto-tune abilities. Trying to kill bad guys and contain laughter was harder than I expected. Heading back to the ARK was a cool way to upgrade more abilities, assign the crew, and install legion tech, but it felt like a hassle sometimes having to go back all the time.
As much as I’m gloating about the game though, a few things just got in the way and overly annoyed me. Hacking is a mini game; it’s fairly easy and simple but it’s used way too much, to the point where I despised it. The enemy lairs, both in the story and side missions, all look relatively the same, which is to say, silver, shiny, and extremely dull. It would have been great to see various bad guy strongholds or lairs that changed up the visuals, but sadly that’s not the case. Some of the enemy lairs even seem to be randomized also, as I died in one and the layout changed completely.
There are some great moments in the city environment, which is big but not huge. Getting from point A to point B in the world was fairly quick and I super appreciate that. It’s smaller but denser. Main vehicle controls feel great, but anything you try to take from the civilians feels floaty and loose. I guess when players can call their car at the touch of a button, why bother taking one, yet some side missions require grabbing them, and they stink. The most puzzling feature involving cars is chase scenes – there is no way to shoot weapons during driving as far as I can tell, and only swerving from one side to another is how to take down some enemy cars. It feels very uncontrollable, and I was never able to get a grip on those moments. Framerate seems extremely solid on some hands, but other times gets a bit choppy when huge explosions, particles, and enemies are everywhere. Even with the dips, at its craziest I walked away more impressed with its performance then disappointed.
The agency needs you…
After finishing the game, I was brought right back into the world with all my leveled up agents, able to replay any mission I wanted to progress in anything I hadn’t finished. Ultimately I had a great time becoming an agent; I laughed, I shoot a bunch of baddies, and I grew to love the Agents of Mayhem. There is quite a bit of content here and this won’t blow anyone away as far as mission design or open world games goes, but I couldn’t stop smiling, laughing, and playing until it was finished, regardless of its flaws.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.