Agents of Mayhem

Agents of Mayhem

Producer: Deep Silver
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Rating: Mature
Genre: Action-Adventure



Ain't's Row
Written by Joshua David Anderson

Agents of Mayhem is the new game from developer Volition, creator of the Saint’s Row franchise. While the game has many similarities to Saint’s Row, and even has some of the same characters, it really does differ from those previous games. This is not an open world crime game and instead, Volition tried to do something different, a game with a familiar structure but with some differences under the hood.

The story of Agents of Mayhem is styled after Saturday morning cartoons, with a heavy influence from G.I. Joe, only with an M rating and plenty of swearing. The game takes place in Seoul, South Korea, after the events of Devil’s Night, when the evil shadow organization called L.E.G.I.O.N. attacked the nations of the world and took everything over. One of the members of the evil supervillain group decides to defect and create MAYHEM, the super team dedicated to stopping LEGION. There are 12 characters you can choose from, all of which have distinct, if a little stereotypical, personalities. There are also several commanders from LEGION that make up the boss fights in the game.

The gameplay in Agents of Mayhem is really the focus, which is pretty standard third-person open world fare. All playable characters have a primary weapon, a special ability, and a triple jump, making traversal easier than say, a Grand Theft Auto game. There are collectables on the map to grab, civilians to save, and doomsday devices to destroy. All of this is expected, but Agents of Mayhem tries to add some wrinkles and do some things different from other open world games, with mixed results.

One way Agents of Mayhem tries to add variety is through the playable characters. With 12 different heroes to pick, there are the standard ones you might expect. One has an assault rifle and can shoot a grenade as a special attack. One has a shotgun, one has dual pistols, but as you go through the roster, Volition starts to experiment a bit. Daisy, the roller derby hero, has a huge chaingun, but also happens to be on rollerskates, and so she is much more mobile than you would expect. Rama, the Indian doctor, shoots arrows from her bow, which gets more powerful the longer she charges it. Oni, the Yakuza enforcer, only has a silenced pistol, but has a fear aura around him that causes enemies to panic and run away, and an ability that allows him to slow down any enemy that he focuses on for more than a couple seconds. These characters play differently than the others, and that helps to boost the variety, leaning into some of the weirded wrinkles that most games of this ilk don’t even try to explore.

Unfortunately, that variety doesn’t span too much further out to other parts of the game. Enemies are a dime a dozen, with the same three or four henchmen making up the majority of encounters. Occasionally, you will have to destroy a giant ice cannon or take down a giant walking monster made out of debris, but most of the time you will shoot regular soldiers in their regular heads. Mission variety and environments also run out after just a few hours. You will do the same things throughout the whole game, which amounts to pressing a button to hack a console, to clearing out a group of enemies, to pressing a button to hack a different console. The open city of Seoul has a small amount of personality to it, but the underground dungeons called “Lairs” in the game are all made from the same exact rooms, just with different layouts. There are also a ton of crafting material drops, costumes, upgrade cores, and vehicles to unlock, but these all involve you doing those same activities to get, and at some point it may not be worth it.

Agents of Mayhem seems like the perfect mid tier game, something you wouldn’t want to spent more than $30 on during the summer when no other games are out. It is fun to play for a period of time that is less than the length of the game, and there are some really good ideas found in the design of some of the heroes. But it is a game that will wear out its welcome before you finish it, and will ultimately be set to the side when something better comes along.

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