Agents of Mayhem is every bit the guilty-pleasure and nostalgic throwback to the action heroes of the late 80s and early-90s that developer Volition wanted it to be. However, it does lean a little too closely to the developers’ Saints Row franchise to really carve out an identity for itself. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hell of a lot of fun.
Taking to form of an open-world, third-person shooter set in a futuristic Seoul, Agents of Mayhem kicks off allowing players to pick 3 agents from a number of colourful, zany, and parodying characters in order to tackle missions. The real kicker? You can switch between any of the three at any given time. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more and more characters, essentially giving you a huge variety of personalities to roam the world and complete missions with.
The real enjoyment comes from learning and understanding each unique characters’ abilities, and combining three of them to form a destructive yet effective team. From a minigun wielding roller-derby player to a Japanese assassin, Agents of Mayhem provides a lot of variety in its approach to allowing players to hone their play-style. Want to go in tactical and precise, there’s a character for that. Want to go in guns-blazing and use speed? There’s a combo of agents for that too.
The result is some refreshingly diverse gameplay for an open-world game of this nature. While the gameplay loop of ‘go to mission marker, kill baddies, finish objective’ doesn’t change throughout the game, having the ability to swap out characters at any time allows you to have some fun experimentation rather than sticking to what’s handed to you from the outset.
Another of the best bits of Agents of Mayhem is the humour. As with the Saints Row game, developer Volition have proven to have their finger on the pulse on tongue-in-cheek satire, and Agents of Mayhem is no different. There’s nods to old-school TV shows and movies, ironic one-liners, and some of the most ridiculous bad guys and heroes you could imagine. The fact that the cut-scenes are beautifully cartoon-animated (and admittedly hilarious) shorts help with the entire milieu too.
Agents of Mayhem manages to capture the fantastic sense of humour of Saints Row while adding interesting and likeable characters, a new story and several new mechanics to the formula. It’s not going to reinvigorate the open-world genre, but it does enough to be a fun, over-the-top, and stylish entry that fans of similar games will really find appealing.
Agents of Mayhem is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.