Agents of Mayhem is an Enjoyable Open-World Shooter You Should be Playing
I'm going to come clean from the start and say that I wasn't expecting much from Agents of Mayhem. I don't really get on the hype train for many AAA titles anymore after quite a number of letdowns, but I'm happy to say that this game has been quite an enjoyable experience and a pleasant surprise.
For those not in the know, Agents of Mayhem is being made by the same studio that brought us all of the Saints Row games -- Deep Silver Volition. I was a fan of Saints Row II & III so that gave me a bit of hope for this being a good game. With that out of the way, and close to 12 hours logged, let me break down what's great and not-so-great about this action-packed adventure.
Welcome to Mayhem, Agent
In Agents of Mayhem you take control of a 3-man squad of super-powered, over-the-top, certified badasses who are trying to stop the nefarious forces of L.E.G.I.O.N. from causing destruction to the sprawling game space of a futuristic Seoul, South Korea. And when I say sprawling, I mean it.
The game world is a decent size, but what some might say it lacks in landmass it makes up for in vertical exploration with its numerous parkour-like methods of exploring skyscrapers for loot chests and crystal shards -- an integral part of upgrading your various characters.
There are also a lot of agents to choose from -- 12 in total, plus the bonus character Gat from the Saints Row games if you pre-ordered Agents of Mayhem.
Quite the Cast of Characters
You'll start the game out with 3 agents -- the self-absorbed movie star Hollywood, dual-wielding techie Fortune, and tough as nails Navy vet Hardtack. Each of them has their own quippy attitudes, hilarious dialogue, and interesting back stories that you can delve deeper into through special missions.
The additional characters are unlocked as you progress through the game and play their special solo missions -- unique missions that give you some of their backstory as well as act like a mini tutorial system for their unique weapons and abilities.
One of the agents that I really enjoy playing as was Oni -- a former Yakuza hitman who makes use of a silenced pistol, fear debuffs, and critical damage attacks. There is something about his cold, calculating nature as he makes his way through a mob of enemies, scoring critical headshot after headshot with the survivors running in fear, that is just so satisfying.
Sorry, that got a little dark. Suffice it to say there is an agent for everyone's playstyle, and plenty of options to mix and match to make the right 3-man squad for every situation.
Get to the Chopper Ark!
When you're not rolling squad deep on some nametag-less Legion cronies you'll likely be doing upgrades to your crew on the Ark. The Ark is your mobile base of operations where all of your support staff are -- vehicle guy, weaponsmith grandpa, R&D girl, base upgrade man, and hipster VR challenge bro.
For the majority of the big upgrades -- both functional and cosmetic -- you'll have to go to the Ark with all the loot scavenged from the generally one-sided murder of aforementioned cronies. There are certain upgrades, namely Legion schematics and Gremlin tech that comes from raiding the numerous legion outposts and finding loot chests that pop up at random all over the place.
For simpler upgrades, like changing out character gadgets -- slight tweaks to their specific abilities -- you can do those pretty much anywhere, so no worries.
The Technical Stuff
Now that I've finished gushing about some of the fun features of the game, let's talk about all technical stuff that gets you audio/visualphiles all riled up. Visually, the game is appealing. I'm running it on an EVGA GTX 1070 and the frames are crisp with that ever so slightly cel-shaded look going on.
The audio for the game is also pretty on point, with the music fitting the theme and flow the majority of the time. Its voiceovers are also pretty well done, and the game goes with a very Saints Row style of humor which is almost a guaranteed good time. You can also tell that they take a few jabs at some pop-culture, but I'll let you find those gems for yourself.
Controls handle very well -- both keyboard & mouse as well as Xbox 360 controller. If I had a gripe it would be that some of the bindings on the keyboard are a bit wonky, but that's nothing that a rebind can't fix.
There is also a fair bit of gameplay to be had. At the time of writing this, I have roughly 12 hours on the game and am around the 24% completion mark. There are a number of random event missions that happen -- like giant laser attacks, ambushes, Legion retaking their bases from you, and etc. Hell, even just running around the city climbing buildings in search of loot chests and crystal shards is fun.
Agents of Mayhem is an enjoyable, third-person, open-world shooting experience that doesn't take itself too seriously. The characters are fun and vibrant, combat is quick but has a layer of strategy, and the game world is enjoyable to explore.
Agents of Mayhem will be released for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 as of August 15th, 2017 in the US and August 18th in Europe.
[Note: A copy of this game was provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.]