Overall - 50%
Agents of Mayhem does exactly what it says on the tin. It's chaotic. The cast of characters are memorable and fun as hell to play. The humor is well delivered and not forced. It's just a shame more imagination wasn't put into the objective-based gameplay at its core.
Volition’s Saints Row franchise has long been known for its over-the-top chaos and colorful characters. Stepping slightly away from the Saints Row universe, Agents of Mayhem promises to deliver much of the same – with a vibrant cast of characters and its trademark humorous narrative. But with four games already under the franchises’ belt, does Agents of Mayhem do enough to make it worth the purchase?
Agents of Mayhem is an open-world action experience that has more explosions than a Michael Bay movie. Unfortunately, it also has the same quality of narrative and storytelling. The story itself is typical; it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s clear that’s the goal. It all comes down to saving the world from various nefarious characters as they attempt to hatch their latest ploy of world domination or extinction. While the comedic narrative goes a long way, the plot is very predictable and it doesn’t offer much depth, even compared to the wacky nature of the Saints Row universe.
While the story struggles to entertain past the 5-6 hour mark, the rest of the game is carried by a cast of brilliant characters that form the basis of the superhero faction saving the world, ARK. Agents of Mayhem features 12 unique, vibrant, and well crafted Agents that act as your playable characters as you progress through the game. Whether you’re cleaning the streets as the arrogant and cocky Hollywood, or settling a vendetta as hard ass marine Baddock, every Agent is full of character and voiced incredibly well. I’m usually tough to please. Give me a fighting game of 25 characters and I’ll dislike 24 because of needlessly dumb things like accessories, hair color, or a certain phrase. But even for someone of my annoyingly picky nature, I was able to thoroughly enjoy playing 9 of the 12 characters on the Agents of Mayhem roster. That’s no easy feat, and one I feel the developers deserve a lot of praise for.
Each mission, with a few exceptions, allows you to bring three different agents with you to form a team. Each Agent is distinguished with a good variety of abilities and equipment, giving all 12 truly distinct ways of play. Characters can be customized with various weapon and clothing skins you can find with a ton of fantastic pop-culture references, such as Iron Man, Predator, The Hulk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. They come thick and fast, but each is delivered to near perfection. Further customization comes in the form of Gadgets and LEGION Tech, items that enhance or change your abilities. The character progression is extremely well paced and gives constant incentive to keep progressing with regular rewards and new abilities.
Unfortunately the rest of the game doesn’t provide the same incentive to progress. While the colorful characters of Agents of Mayhem carries you through the otherwise lackluster story, the constant repetition of activities soon makes the game very hard to enjoy. From the beginning to the end, you’re faced with near identical challenges in similar environments, with very little variation outside of the enemies you encounter. You’re either defending an area, taking down a very familiar stronghold, or completing unimaginative tasks in free roam. If the chaotic nature of the Saints Row franchise is enough to push you through, you’ll probably enjoy it. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with the same objectives at level 1 as you will at level 20.
While the core of the game is repetitive, the brainless fun of driving around the well crafted futuristic city of Seoul promises many hours of explosive fun. A passive co-op feature is available where you and your friends can work together to complete the same objectives in contracts, but this is a network only feature and doesn’t actually include playing alongside others in any way.
Agents of Mayhem does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s chaotic. The cast of characters are memorable and fun as hell to play. The humor is well delivered and not forced. It’s just a shame more imagination wasn’t put into the objective-based gameplay at its core.