Agents of Mayhem is like a crazy mashup of Saints Row, Overwatch, Saturday morning cartoons, GI Joe, and more. It's a game filled with charming characters, fun gameplay and of course, lots of Mayhem. Sorry. If you have played any of Volitions previous Saints Row games, then you should feel right at home playing Agents of Mayhem. The story is actually set in the alternate Saints Row universe as this game takes place after the Earth ending of Gat out of Hell. This means that a lot of characters and settings from Saints Row including Pierce Washington, Persephone Brimstone, Ultor corp, are all present here.
Persephone is now the leader of an organization called MAYHEM (Multinational Agency for Hunting Evil Masterminds) and her Agents need to put a stop to the evil LEGION (League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations. The main villain, Doctor Babylon and his Lieutenants are trying to destroy the world so it's up to this ragtag group of heroes to stop them. The story is very paint by numbers but it all comes together with a fantastic presentation. The story is told through beautifully animated cutscenes that look straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon and playing through the game feels like you are playing through a season of a television series. There are even 80's cartoon style transitions when you go from Seoul back to the Ark, your base of operations complete with a clever quote from a character and a signature jingle.
Where Agents of Mayhem shines is of course the amazing cast of characters. Like other hero shooter games out there, Agents of Mayhem features a diverse and crazy cast of characters including a movie star, a pirate, a soccer star, a ninja, a war hero and more. Each has their own strengths, weaknesses, guns and special abilities. Each character has a primary weapon, special ability, a passive ability and a special Mayhem ability.
You can bring any three agents with you out into Seoul, granted the mission doesn't call for specific characters. You can swap between any of the three characters you bring with you at any time which will also allow characters that are swapped out to regain health. The characters in the game also fall into different archetypes such as tanky characters that have lots of health, fast characters that are weaker but can dish out damage quickly. The humor in the game is great as well and if you have played Saints Row before, you will know what kind of humor to expect. The Saints Row influence is present here as well with the graphical style of the game and the fact that there is purple everywhere. The real fun begins when you get to utilize each characters Mayhem ability. For instance, Hollywood gets to live out his action hero dreams where he puts on a pair of sunglasses, gets increased firing speed, and infinite ammo, and explosions appear all around him taking out every thing in his path. Hardtack can launch a bunch of mines and then detonate them all at once wiping out anything in the area. Rama fires an arrow that applies a poison to enemies and does damage over time. That poison can spread to other enemies. Finally, my favorite Mayhem ability, Kingpin, who is actually Pierce Washington from Saints Row, drops a boombox and anyone in the vicinity will stop what they are doing and start dancing, and you can kill all of them while they are distracted.
While the main story doesn't last that long, 57 missions that are very short, thankfully the beauty of Agents of Mayhem comes in the replayability due to all of it's side quests. Every Agent in the game has an additional set of solo mission to complete, which will give you more insight into their character. There are also individual challenges and content that can be unlocked for each character by leveling them up. Part of the fun I had with this game was just bringing Agents out in Seoul and looking for trouble to get into so I could level them up.
Agents of Mayhem is an open world game and that means there is a lot to keep you occupied while traveling through the streets of Seoul. There are various side quests including races, hostage rescue missions, destroying target vehicles, or securing areas from Legion. Some of these missions can be completed multiple times since after a set amount of time, Legion will take over the area again so there is no shortage of distractions to keep you playing. All missions in the game are replayable and there are a large amount of difficulty settings that you can select before each mission. Playing on a harder difficulty will earn you more rewards. This is also great if you have Agents that are low levels. You can turn back the difficulty so you can level them out and play the game without worrying about getting melted in two seconds.
One side quest I didn't really get to try out however were some of the global contracts available in the game. These contracts are objectives such as killing a certain amount of enemies or clearing out certain areas of the game. These contracts can be completed solo or can be made public with other people so everyone's total kills go towards completing the contracts. Since no one else has been online playing the game, I wasn't able to finish any of these. That said, I have to mention that the complete lack of co-op in this game is a real bummer. This game is just screaming for you to be able to wreak all kinds of havoc on Seoul with your friends, but sadly this is only a single player experience. I won't take points off for that since the game was completely advertised as a single player experience but there is so much missed potential here for some co-op or multiplayer fun. There are some contracts that I have been working towards as these are character specific contacts such as having Fortune complete two Legion lairs or having Daisey destroy a fracking device. Completing these contracts will earn said characters XP, money and crystal shards.
Completing these side quests, along with the main quests will earn you cash and XP to upgrade each of the Agents in the game. Each Agent has four different categories they can upgrade. The Upgrade tab will allow you to allocate points to certain categories to give them a boost in combat. These upgrades could involve lowering the cooldown of abilities, increasing your Mayhem meter faster, or giving you more health regeneration. There is also a final category which gives the entire team a boost if you use that Agent in your squad such as bonus health, increased XP gain, bonus Mayhem etc.
Then there are Core Upgrades. Throughout the city of Seoul you will find crystal shards, much like the orbs in Saints Row 4 or Crackdown. Collecting 10 of these will give you a Core which you can then use to give up to three permanent upgrades to the Agents in the game. The most important of the upgrades however are what the game calls "Gadgets". Gadgets are ways that you can modify your Agents abilities to fit your play style. Each Agent can equip three different gadgets. One for your special ability, one for your weapon and one which is a passive ability for your character. For instance on Daisy I have gadgets that give her knockback on her special move, a gadget that narrows the spread of her fire, and a passive that increases her maximum weapon heat by 20%. There are tons of these gadgets to find throughout the world and it's fun mixing and matching them to match how you want to play each Agent in the game. Some of them can even change up your Mayhem ability. For instance, Braddock's normal Mayhem has her calling in an air strike where a small area of the will be carpet bombed. There is a gadget which lets you change from explosions to a focused laser which will deal insane damage to that target area.
There is a lot to do in Agents of Mayhem, but there are some small issues that bring down the experience. Throughout my play though, there were numerous times where I couldn't complete missions by the game just not proceeding to the next part of the mission. For instance, there is one mission where I needed to kill a bunch of robots and after that was done, it would tell me where to go next. Except that never happened. The game just got stuck and I was never told what to do next. Trying to move away from the area would greet me with a message saying the mission would be abandoned if I didn't return to the mission area. I was able to fix this by going back to the Playstation home screen, closing the application and then relaunching it, but then of course my progress on that mission was reset forcing me to start it all over again. There was also a similar issue I had where I needed to kill all enemies in an area of a Legion lair and the enemies just never showed up, which again, forced me to quit out of the game and relaunch it, losing all of my progress on said mission. While it's certainly not game breaking, it can get incredibly obnoxious.
My biggest issue with the game comes from the fact that a lot of it just looks all the same. The characters, the humor, and the gameplay are all great, but the problem comes from the fact that missions are incredibly repetitive. While the story missions do provide some variety but most missions involve going to a location, hacking some random terminal, discovering a hidden Legion lair, and then clearing out the lair. Every single one of these lairs looks identical. That location you saw in the tutorial mission as you started the game? Get used to it. You will be seeing that location constantly throughout the course of the game. Lastly, things in this game can get pretty crazy to the point where it will be a nonstop onslaught of enemies, bullets and explosions. While these moments are great, this also causes the game to slow to a crawl. I am playing on a normal Playstation 4 and not the PS4 Pro so I don't know if playing on a pro would have made a difference or not. Again, not a deal breaker but still an annoyance.
At the end of the day, even with it's issues, Agents of Mayhem is still a fun experience that anyone who is a fan of hero shooters or the previous Saints Row titles will be able to enjoy. It features a fantastic cast of characters, great humor and most importantly, fun gameplay that makes you feel like you are playing a classic Saturday morning cartoon. Each character feels truly unique between their weapons and personality and shooting hoards of Legion scum in various ways won't get old any time soon.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me