From the minds that created the explosive Red Faction series and more recently, the even more explosive Saint’s Row series, comes a new and exciting spin-off. Make way for the Agents of Mayhem!
Volition have stuck to their ever increasing trend of intriguing heroes, high-octane action scenes and hilarious commentary in the latest addition to their library. Agents of Mayhem takes place in a shared-universe, set several years after the events of 2015’s Saint’s Row: Gat Out of Hell and visits themes of popular Saturday morning superhero cartoons, similar to that found in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and the RedLynx developed collaboration, Trials of the Blood Dragon.
As soon as the game boots, the beautiful artwork and imaginative design are instantly captivating. Volition have created a near-future Seoul, South Korea for players to roam and explore as they please. This neon-centric and highly futuristic world wouldn’t be out of place in the next Guardians of the Galaxy film and offers players something new and fresh, rather than the traditional large-scale Western cities.
AoM wastes no time in throwing you into the thick of the action with three of the twelve unlockable agents in a raid on an enemy base. The twelve Agents are a multi-cultural group of individuals, each with their own unique combat styles, traits and talents. There’s a character here for everyone and alongside their default costumes and skills, you’ll be able to unlock a plethora of upgrades, talents and gadgets. This game seems to want to throw rewards at you, left, right and centre. Twelve agents seem somewhat cumbersome, but thankfully you’ll only take a squad of three into each mission, seamlessly flicking between them on the fly with the D-pad. Most Agents also have their own unlock mission or “Special Episode” which is a decent feature as it gives players a chance to test each character’s base skills and abilities. I found myself enjoying playing as characters I wouldn’t typically select in a line-up such as this.
Alongside this beautiful world and well-developed roster, the humour, like most of the Saint’s Row titles is, profoundly prevalent. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously and both the heroes and villains are all very tongue-in-cheek. It’s a game you’ll laugh with and although you won’t necessarily build a life long bond with these characters, you’ll certainly enjoy your time with them.
Sadly, despite all its great features, AoM is not without its faults. I remember one of the Saint’s Row titles having similar issues, specifically with the movement and drive mechanics. The third-person movement can at times feel fidgety or gritty and the drive mechanics are great, up until you want to drift and your vehicle seems to want to slide around the road as if it had just hit an oil slick. With a minimal amount of tweaking, I’m sure these mechanics could have been fine tuned for release, but instead, the character movements can seem quite jarring. In truth, a bit of a shame for a developer with over twenty-years experience.
Alongside some sloppy movement mechanics, AoM doesn’t shy away from the fact that it recycles the handful of enemy variants quite frequently. There’s only about seven types of enemies, plus a number of bosses you’ll fight throughout the twenty-five-hour-ish long campaign. Using the same squad of three characters to dispose of the endless waves may become quite a drag, however, I found swapping out my squad for new members kept things from getting overly repetitive.
Unsurprisingly, with the amount of on-screen action, at times the framerate can drop quite significantly. There is one specific agent’s super-power which sets off a series of constant explosions for the duration of the power, however, there’s a noticeable dip in the framerate that grinds the action to a near halt whenever this power is set off. This lead me to simply not wanting to use this character very often.
All in all, Agents of Mayhem has a few nagging issues but they don’t out way the pros by a long shot. Although the movement can feel a little jagged, the driving mechanics need fine tuning, the enemies need a bit more variety and the framerate can at times drop significantly, the game is awesome! The gameplay is extremely fun and not too serious. It’s challenging at times and even with three overpowered super agents, you’ll have times you’ll really be sweating it out. Not challenging enough? Whack up the difficulty and earn more XP and Cash. Too difficult now? Well, take it down a few notches at a price. This game, whilst not for “everyone” (AoM carries an 18 PEGI rating in the UK), certainly caters for all needs in terms of playstyle and with the huge amount of unlockable abilities, gadgets, vehicles, skins and much, much more, you’ll be hooked on finding the best squad loadout.