Volition and Deep Silver have indeed brought Mayhem to the masses. Agents of Mayhem is a surprise in may ways and a good surprise at that. If by chance you’ve played the original Crackdown and enjoyed it, then you will feel right at home as this game feels exactly like Saints Row 3 if it has take that angle to begin with. There are tons of characters to load out, upgrade, and plenty of things to do in the spanning city of Seoul, South Korea. Lets hop into the review.
Johnny Gat, At It Again
Agents is a qwerk-filled spin-off and in the very first mission, it even lets you know that. Agents of Mayhem is a universe that only Saint’s Row could “Inception” within itself, as we get nods to it being a fictional work of Johnny Gat and his cartoon fantasies. The Agents of Mayhem are best described as a renegade band of “super heroes” that try their best to stop the evil threat of Legion (the antagonist force) but who’s boss has a shady past of her own and might be working for alterer motives. There is a lot of James Bond type scenarios to the whole overreaching story and its glorious in that regard. The Legion is like a big underground crime syndicate and that being the case, The Agents of Mayhem are your rag tag “Avengers” per say.
The story gets interesting as it goes and kicks a good spin of that Saint’s Row humor you’ve come to love and adore. A lot things are cheesy about the game but that seems to be the Deep Silver and Volition way. An interesting thing to note as well is the aspect in which the game gives time to flesh out each mainline heroes’ backstory. You will be given specific missions that help tell the tale of your fellow comrades which makes most of feel more than just three-dimensional (yes, that was an intentional pun). Some heroes are clearly more useful in-game than others, and some heroes’ stories can be a little more low-balled than others, but there is a lot of variety at disposal (and that isn’t a bad thing).
Visuals and Voice Acting
Agents of Mayhem is a beautifully stylized game. You won’t be hurting for looks on this one as the character design and city design really pop at you. The visuals definitely don’t depress you to the core like the brown and grey grunge games of the last generation. Likewise, the story telling means by the way of cutscenes uses a “cartoon or anime” feel to get the point across. Since the world feels very “toony” and almost Crackdown-like, it fits very well. Each hero you are given free roam to has a unique style and visual look about them as well (plus you can get some pretty sick costumes for each hero i.e. “Thundercats” or “The Incredible Hulk” Yeti.)
Voice acting is superb and the dialogue lines of each hero can be interchanged at anytime (and in case you were wondering, that is some serious amount of dedication and budgeting to pull that off); characters don’t feel robotic or copy and paste because of this. You can switch between your 3-hero loadout, pulling a new hero into the action and taking the other out, and yet its like it never skips a beat. The active hero will continue the conversation as if nothing changed. Sometimes the characters will even talk among each other as if they are still in the action.
Score Your Squad Some Swag
As previously mentioned, you can change the skins of heroes and even the weapons skin (some can be unlocked in-game but some can also be bought via DLC). These aren’t the only things you can change about your hero however. Each of the twelve possible heroes are fitted with different perks and upgrade paths than can be utilized to further buff the squad overall (with a shared buff while they are actively in the squad) or themselves. Heroes specialize in many different aspects and completing further solo missions with that character will grant you more exclusive traits. For instance, Hardtack (a shotgun and demo-man type character) can pierce armored foes more easily (Skinpiercer) but he also has an solo mission unlock to deal extra damage to special archetypes of Legion (World Savior).
Players will go around the town collecting red shards (that can used to craft core upgrades which further strengthens the abilities of the hero of your choice) and finding/opening hidden loot boxes (not micro transaction boxes) that grant crafting materials. You can take the cash and materials you are rewarded and visit the game’s R&D Tech for various other gadgets and upgrades. The gadgets are called “Gremlin Tech” and can give you anything from the ability to shoot an over-sized bowling ball at Legion baddies, a tactical laser strike from space, or even extra debuffs to said Legion (but its not limited to just those three examples). If you complete enough missions or happen to stumble upon them in-game, Legion schematics can be used to build “Legion Tech”. Legion Tech is rarer in most cases and will be specific to a certain hero the schematic was made for (but they are definitely worth finding and equipping).
If you thought that was the end of upgrading, then you are wrong! Relic (an in-game NPC) can be accessed if you wish to upgrade your Agency’s home base, vehicles, and other carious buffs that make quality of life within the game a shoo-in. You can also secure various trading locations of his from Legion forces and in-return you get a cut of the profits. Free cash is never a bad thing, right? But wait, that’s not all!
There is a Global Conflict map that allows you to send agents to different parts of the world and while you are doing other missions, they will be reaping free rewards for you (bare in mind they can’t be used for the duration of said mission). Unlocking and exploring enough regions will unlock access to a Global Offensive Operation in Moscow. There is EVEN MORE things to do and if we went through and cross-examined everything, we’d be writing for days. The thing to keep in mind is playtime, playtime, and more playtime. Content is no stranger to Agents of Mayhem.
A Sum Of All Parts
Agents of Mayhem has lots of various enemies and good pacing on introducing news ones. Combat is fun and tagging in and out heroes is a blast! There is defiantly a lot to kill here. If you are looking for various mini-side missions, then those can be found while just cruising around the city. If you ever get bored with the main-line quest, you can free-roam for plenty of hours finding all those crystals, loot boxes, and environmental missions. Some of it could be considered filler but at the same time a lot of it is optional so its really up to you how long and how serious you want to play the game.
While playing Agents of Mayhem, there were several annoying bugs that kept popping up (albeit not entirely game breaking). Some invisible walls were left in (while obviously not meant to be) and some missions would just remove the next objective and leave you in limbo until you restarted from a checkpoint; game-over states wouldn’t always trigger and leave you in limbo as well. There is a lot of character model clipping with the vehicles and sometime switching into characters (like Yeti for instance) led us not being able to shoot until we switched to another character and back. A lot of other instances happened so be aware that the current version of Agents of Mayhem still needs some polish (although we do understand open-world games tend to be harder to quality assurance test).
There is also an issue with the frame-rate and heavy action sequences or a busy environment can really bog it down to where it feels less than 20 frames per second. Our review is based on the Playstation 4 (not Pro) so your results may vary. Still despite all of this, it could have been a lot worse. The game is very fun and offers a lot of value for its money. It is currently NOT MULTIPLAYER and only a single-player experience. This would be something nice to look forward to in the future with DLC but for what it is now, its still a great purchase.