Agents of Mayhem is a spin-off game based on the Saints Row franchise. It gives you an open world to explore and a wide variation of playable characters. A game like this isn’t one you should expect during the calm Summer months but it’s the perfect snack before the start of the true gaming season. It has its imperfections but Agents of Mayhem offers a lot of fun and a lot of explosions nevertheless.
No, this is not Saints Row
Agents of Mayhem is created by Volition, the team behind Saints Row. For those who don’t know the Saints Row franchise, it’s a franchise that got compared with Grand Theft Auto during its first years. It offered an open world and a lot of missions to discover. Things changed with the release of Saints Row 3, no longer was reality a priority. Saints Row picked the path of absurd humor and rolled with it. Agents of Mayhem kept this sense of humor but takes place in a real city this time. Together with your team of agents, you’ll have to save Seoul from the dangerous L.E.G.I.O.N. troops. It’s a rather basic story where the good guys have to face the powerful evil in order to save Seoul and potentially the entire world from falling into the hands of an evil mastermind. It’s cliché but it works.
The atmosphere is strong in this one
The first thing you’ll notice while playing is the strong visual style. Agents of Mayhem looks and feels like a playable cartoon, the kind of cartoon you could watch a couple of years ago. Seoul is based on the real city but looks nothing like it. This version is an extremely colorful one filled with the technology we thought was cool back in the eighties. The vibe is just right and combined with the solid soundtrack, you’ll be sucked into this new atmosphere immediately. The best part about it is that you’re free to go wherever you want to go. Sure, you can play the missions but you can also discover the secrets Seoul has to offer. Thanks to your triple jump and ability to fall from high places without taking damage, it’s a new and fun way to discover the open world.
It’s clear that this game is based on the Saints Row franchise since the engine and graphical style really looks similar to its big brother. Agents of Mayhem takes it to another level by adding amazing cutscenes which are literally just cartoons. It’s amazing to see how well Volition managed to create a certain atmosphere around the game without ever losing the gameplay out of sight.
As for now, you might wonder what the big difference between Saints Row and AOM is exactly? Well, it’s the hero-shooter aspect. You don’t play this one with just one protagonist. You’re constantly playing as a squad of three where you can instantly switch between characters while playing. You’re always in control of one of them but can change them with another at any time.
There’s a total of 14 playable characters (including the two DLC ones) and you’re free to pick a team of three just the way you like it. Sometimes, you’re forced to play a couple of missions with a new hero to get to know its strengths and weaknesses but those missions are over rather soon. Most part of the game, you’re entirely free to pick the heroes you like best. The great thing about it is that there’s a hero for every job and a hero for every playstyle.
Take our first hero ‘Hollywood’ for example. This is your traditional hero equipped with an assault rifle and grenade launcher. He’s the one you’ll run to if you like your shooters the traditional way. Of course, the game also includes speedsters and tanks and even some more obscure characters who are fun to control and discover. The characters all have their own personality and are different enough to make the difference. It’s also great that you can upgrade your favorite ones by leveling them while expanding their abilities. You can upgrade the weapons, activate passive powers or improve the impressive Mayhem attacks, the game’s variation of Overwatch’ Ultimate Ability.
Some technical issues
The impressive roster of playable agents is without a doubt the best part of the game, too bad not everything is worked out with the same amount of care. Especially the missions could use a little more variation to keep them interesting. Other open world games struggled with this issue and Agents of Mayhem isn’t the exception. Most missions revolve around the same goal. Hack a tower, defeat the enemies and drive towards your next location. Of course, the game tries to make up for this by forcing you to return to your home base where you can upgrade your weapons, get new gear or survive hordes of enemies in so-called VR tutorials. It’s fun to have but it doesn’t take away the fact the most missions feel too much of the same over and over again.
At first, this won’t bother you since everything is new. But once you reach the second major arc of the story, things start to collapse. Unlocking new heroes by playing their short stories doesn’t do the trick anymore and the regular missions start to become boring. Luckily, the final conflict (after spending roughly ten hours in the campaign) offers a lot of fun and even indicates that there could be a sequel. I would welcome this sequel if they fix the variation in missions and solve some strange technical hiccups.
Needless to say, this game isn’t created with the same kind of budget as let’s say Grand Theft Auto. This also means it’s possible that your character gets stuck in a wall, the music isn’t synced all the time and you can spot several strange technical flaws in the open world. Most of the time, this won’t take you out of the immersion too much but we do hope that these issues get solved with a patch in the future.
Agents of Mayhem is a fun game filled with interesting agents and crazy enemies. It’s filled with explosions and childish jokes but it simply works. It’s the perfect game for the Summer and will result in a lot of fun without a doubt. Too bad the missions lack some variation and the game suffers from technical flaws. If you’re looking for a fun open world shooter with a touch of Overwatch, this one is worth playing for sure. It’s not the perfect game but it’s the perfect snack before the real gaming season kicks off.