Agents of Mayhem is the next game from the studio who brought you the Saints Row franchise. In fact, Agents of Mayhem is set in the Saints Row universe. While not a Saints Row game per se, it holds a lot of similarities to the franchise, especially Saints Row 4. The basic premise of Agents of Mayhem is that it takes place in Seoul, South Korea and there are two warring factions. There isn’t a good guy here though. It is basically bad guys fighting against really evil guys. The Agents of Mayhem are the “good guys” in this story but they will also do some pretty bad stuff. They just won’t go as far as Legion will by trying to take over the world.
If you have played Saints Row 4 then you will immediately feel at home with Agents of Mayhem in terms of the gameplay. Agents of Mayhem is a single player, open world game. Once you get past the opening segments of the game the world completely opens up to you and it is your choice how you proceed. Of course the main story missions have to be done in a certain order but if you want you can simply run around Seoul and level up your characters with side quests until there aren’t many left and you have no choice but to continue on with the story. In addition to the main story there are a plethora of personal stories, one for each agent. You will start the game out with three agents but as you progress in the game you will unlock and add more agents to your team, each with their own backstory and reasons for joining Mayhem. It is quite the eclectic group as well with one of them being a pretty boy who is really only concerned with how he can make himself more famous to a ninja that is seeking retribution for atrocities committed in the past to someone who used to be in the army until her country betrayed her and much more. It is a diverse cast of characters and I enjoyed learning about all of their different stories and motivations.
Once you get past the opening segments of the game you will eventually find yourself on the Ark. This is the base of operations for the Agents of Mayhem. Consider this basically the hub world for the game. There is a requisitions department where you can collect money from businesses that are earning you income, upgrade the Ark or browse downloadable content. There is Vehicle Bay where you can select which vehicle you want to use once you warp back to Seoul. There is only one car available in the beginning, however, you will find blueprints all over Seoul for other vehicles and once you have all of the blueprints for a car it will unlock for you. Some of the different cars include a sports car, truck, something that looks like it is a modified tank, a sleek three wheeler that tends to be much more maneuverable than some of the other vehicles and more. Next is the Wreck Room which is a VR simulation in the game which is basically your tutorial area. There are 31 simulations that you can play and there is even an achievement for going through and beating all of the simulations. You don’t get access to all 31 at the beginning though. You will eventually earn more simulations as you progress in the story. Then there is the operations center. You can launch missions from here, check your agency status or launch Global Conflict (more on that later). The Ark is basically a one stop shop for you as you gear up to face Legion. Before you deploy you will also get a chance to pick the squad you want with you. Certain missions require certain skillsets so keep that in mind. My preferred team included one tank type character, someone who was a little bit more nimble and could move quicker and then this ninja that you eventually unlock that can cut down a lot of enemies with her blade. It is a lot of fun to experiment and see which combination will work best for you.
I briefly mentioned up above that your Agents can level up but the Ark itself levels up too. To initiate the Global Conflicts game that I mentioned earlier you will need to have the Ark at level eight, as an example. Once you unlock that mode you will notice that it is a mini-game that you should be familiar with from other franchises. The game that I immediately thought of was Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Remember how you would send you ships off to different destinations to trade, get items and acquire experience? That is basically the same thing here. There are many different regions around the world for you to explore. When you first start up this mode you will be put in East Asia. There will be four places for your agents to explore. When you highlight an area it will tell you what to expect. One of them was Tokyo and I had the required amount of intel to explore that. It said that it would take eight minutes to explore that area so I initiated it and then went and did a mission while that was going on . It should be stated that when you send off an agent on one of these Global Conflict missions they will be unavailable for anything else until they get back. When the investigation is completed there are a number of different things that might happen. You might get cash and an item, you might get a new contract or your agent might have found a Legion Lair that you need to go and clear out. In the beginning you can only use one agent at a time in this mode but there is an upgrade you can buy for the Ark that will allow you to send three agents at once on different missions to try and get things done quicker. Once you are done with one region you will be given a region key so that you can unlock another area. Simply pick whatever area you want and then basically wash, rinse repeat. The ultimate goal is to clear all of the areas. Once you have done that you will have the Moscow Global Offensive become available to you. This is a stronghold for the Ministry of Pride and a really difficult lair. You won’t be able to tackle this until you are near the end of the game and for good reason. Once you complete it you will get a nice achievement for your troubles in addition to some elite schematics in the game itself.
Once you are done in the Ark you can return to Seoul and explore the open world. Bringing up the city map you can zoom out and see a bunch of different things you can do. There are hostages that need to be rescued, legion equipment to be destroyed, cars to find so that the mechanic on the Ark can stock up on parts, hate machines to destroy and more. Each blue icon represents something that can be done. Each orange icon represents something that has already been done so it is easy to keep track of your progress. Purple icons you see on the map are either main story missions or they are personal story missions for one of the agents. Unfortunately the side quest stuff after a little bit can get a bit repetitive and boring. After a while I just did what I needed, such as setting up warp points all around the city. The main missions though were really well done in my opinion. Some of the gameplay was repetitive here as well but I was enjoying the story that was being told so I really didn’t mind all that much. These missions are just as crazy as you would expect from Volition with one mission having me driving through the city trying to dodge an orbital laser strike that keeps hitting the city to fighting a K-pop star to trying to prevent someone from using a comet against us and more. The adult sense of humor is still here too just like in the Saints games so I definitely wouldn’t be playing this game with kids around.
As I was going through these missions I found the moment to moment gameplay a lot of fun. With the team I selected I had a ninja who could slice and dice enemies, an ex-Yakuza figure that was good with guns and a muscular soccer player that was more of a tank type of class. During battle you can switch out your agents on the fly so if I had a really big tank character I was fighting against I would swap in my soccer player and then when the more nimble characters dropped in I would immediately switch to my ninja, just by pressing right or left on the d-pad. If your character gets knocked out of battle then you will no longer be able to switch to them until they are either revived or the mission is over. The way you can revive an ally is by grabbing a purple Agents of Mayhem symbol that enemies will drop from time to time. If someone is knocked out then it will bring them back into the battle and if everyone is there it will immediately charge your gauge so you are ready for your Mayhem power. Your Mayhem power is basically your super special ability and it will range from different characters. One character will put down a boombox with a catchy beat playing that will cause enemies to be confused and start dancing, giving you an open window to take them out. Another character will launch mines at enemies if his Mayhem power is activated and then you can push the LB & RB button to detonate all of the mines. Each character has something unique and I had fun experimenting with the powers and seeing what I liked best. Once all of the chaos is over and your character has leveled up you can go into your squad menu and potentially change the gadgets you were using to something that might be more powerful, upgrade one of four areas your character is proficient in or add a core that will give your character a permanent upgrade. I enjoyed using this system and trying to figure out what worked best for me. There were times for me when the new thing I just unlocked didn’t seem like it worked as well for me so I would switch back to the older equipment. Everyone will be different though and I’m sure there will be some who equip the new stuff and never look back.
Going through Agents of Mayhem I don’t have a whole lot of complaints. I briefly mentioned up above that some of it can get a bit repetitive, which is unfortunate. For me personally though I was enjoying the main storyline as well as the agent specific missions so that carried me through. It would have been nice if there were some more audio tracks recorded for some of the characters.. My car in the game, for example, will talk to me and he will have quips and remarks as I’m racing through the city which might have had me chuckling at first but once you hear it over and over again it can get a little old. Other than that stuff though I am pretty happy. The game looks nice and I enjoyed the soundtrack. I also enjoyed the different personalities of all of the agents and how they would play off each other.
Overall Agents of Mayhem has been a lot of fun for me to play and I think it is coming out at the right time. If it had come out closer to Christmas then I think Crackdown 3 probably would have taken attention away from it so I love how Agents of Mayhem is being released in mid-August. If you were a Saints Row 4 fan then you should have fun with this game as well. A couple of people from the Saints Row franchise are in this game as well with some callbacks that fans will appreciate. If you are a fan of Volition’s work then you pretty much know what you are getting here and that, to me, is a good thing as I am a definite fan of their work. Agents of Mayhem is batshit crazy at times but in the best possible way and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.
Originally posted on Gaming Target