Volition did well in dropping Saints Row development to focus on creating a new IP. Agents of Mayhem is a fun third person shooter and looter with no personality and nice level design.
At its core, Agents of Mayhem tried to be the next single-player Borderlands or Battleborn, a mission it was really close to achieve before ultimately falling victim to mediocrity by no having nay heart or soul. The
In a nutshell, the game takes place in a futuristic Seoul, South Korea and tells the story of Dr. Babylon who runs an organization called L.E.G.I.O.N. (the League of Evil Gentleman Intent on Obliterating Nations). Conversely, you are part of an organization called, well, M.A.Y.H.E.M. (Multinational Agency Hunting Evil Masterminds) and need to stop him and his plans or else you will be screwed. Regardless if I was able to stop him or not, however, I felt screwed for just playing this game.
Don’t get me wrong, Agents of Mayhem is a fun game, and early on I was really enjoying it. But once that honeymoon phase ended, its multiple flaws took center stage and refused to budge. Volition had all the right ingredients to create a game that could overtake similar games in the loot-hoarding genre. Character design is very good and distinct, and each character has a fleshed-out story with unique abilities.
A shotgun main character called Hardtack, for example, is one of my favorite characters, with that black beard and dichotomous tank physique that’s lean and limber while fighting alien hordes.
Volition complimented the character designs with stunning art direction and level design. Some of the levels house locked personalities that flesh out the story and fill in the gaps in the game’ and their backstories.
For all the work put on the visuals, the cutscenes take a hit with most animations being janky and dependent on repetitive loops. Adding insult to injury, there are parts in the game where a build up takes place only for it to result in a flat landing.
Being given the liberty to swap characters on the go made for an interesting, and arguably needed, gameplay mechanic that makes up for the lengthy cooldown times of some of the skills. The downside is being forced to listen to their voice lines that become cringe-worthy and annoying real soon. I had to decrease their voices to the lowest setting and enjoyed the music and the sounds of the destruction instead.
Speaking of blowing things up, the weapons are crafted in a fun way that hearkens back to Saints Row and games like Battleborn. It’s not the size of the gun you are equipped with, some of the smaller guns deliver the same damage as a souped-up Gatling gun in other games
Having an open-world that is sparsely populated or that does not feel alive is a gaming sin that should have been abandoned by now. You barely hear people talking in Korean and they all look like cookie-cutter versions of two or three templates. I get it this may have been a creative decision from volition to further highlight the absurdity of the protagonists against a neutral backdrop, but in potentially doing so, they eviscerated whatever soul may have been in the game.
With no co-op mode or any multiplayer element whatsoever, my interest soon waned following the initial excitement I had for Agents of Mayhem. Yes, the loot is fun, but without anyone to brag to or enjoy with, the game ends up relying on its core offerings which are, in more ways than one, under-cooked.
Agents of Mayhem is available for PS4 (reviewed ), Xbox One and PC. A review code was made available to us via Deep Silver.