Ever since the first Saints Row in 2006, I haven’t missed a single game in the franchise created by Volition. This year brings us the newest installment of the series called Agents of Mayhem. It is not a sequel in the classic sense of that word, but rather a spin-off planned for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The initial impressions are mixed, considering that I expected a bit more from the game I so eagerly awaited, but first things first.
What Is It About?
Volition once again used the formula that brought success on multiple occasions during the previous decade. That means that Agents of Mayhem is a single player, open world third-person shooter. The developers did try to mix things up a bit, and you can notice that right from the start. First, there is no option to make your character, which was available in previous games of the series. Unlike that, AoM offers you a selection of 12 heroes you can choose. Although probably any game would lose when compared to GTA 5, you can’t avoid making that comparison in this case.
Agents of Mayhem has four times as many available characters as the latest Grand Theft Auto, which is a positive. However, the Volition’s game falls is in the depth of its open world. Seoul is the place the developers chose as a setting for AoM and, while the scenery looks vivid and lovely, there is just not enough non-playing characters available (the terribly designed cars aside for now) and things happening. When you are creating open world adventure games, it’s a big positive if roaming the streets is interesting by itself, which is not the case with Agents of Mayhem. That being said, it’s a shame that Volition hasn’t used the possibilities that open world offers to any virtual creation.
Can You Defeat the LEGION?
Fortunately, the developers did a brilliant job when it comes to the story. Your enemy will be LEGION, which is an abbreviation for the League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations (as you probably guessed). There is a bunch of missions available, and you can select three out of a dozen of characters for each of them (note that there are also several assignments to complete playing with only a single hero). Depending on the mission you are on, the choice you make may make it easier or harder for you because each of the available heroes has different play styles and abilities. For example, you can choose an explosion expert who goes by the codename Agent Hollywood or Rama, who excels at setting up vortex traps for the enemies.
It’s a great thing that characters are not generic, and you can see that a lot of effort was put into their creation. The weird humor we know from Saints Row is still present, but it seems that Agents of Mayhem focuses a bit more on the action element of the game. Fortunately, the combat feels pretty enjoyable and satisfying.
It’s interesting to switch between characters and use their powers to your advantage. For example, you can use the guy with an unusual ability of rage explosion to hurt multiple enemies at the same time. However, the trick is that you need to get close to your enemies to do this. After you inflict the damage, you can change to a quicker character to run away faster. Overall, it’s always exciting to have characters with different powers to use. Not only it puts your creativity to the test, but it’s also much more fun.
I tried the game with a controller, and I can say that the controls are appropriate and easy to learn. For example, you use the D-pad to change the characters, and you can select left or right depending on the characters you want. Everything else is just the way you expect it, but the only thing I sometimes minded is that it doesn’t seem that the heroes move so smoothly through the environment.
Mayhem Headquarters are also present within the game, and it’s here where you will have the option to modify your characters and adjust the difficulty to additionally increase the pace of the action and the potential rewards. Unfortunately, if you choose to make things harder for yourself, it usually just means that you will have more enemies on the screen that will shoot at you without moving. I am aware that this is an arcade shooter, but it would be a nice addition to have a bit smarter opponents.
Aside from fighting regular enemies, you will occasionally encounter bosses. The first one is Dr. Babylon known for his crazy laugh, robot hand, and the abilities to teleport and sometimes raise invulnerability shield. Unlike regular combat, boss fights are much more challenging.
Incredible Graphics, but Could Be More Interactive
The graphics also help increase the overall enjoyment of shooting at your enemies. The animations are vivid and colorful, and the explosions will often be part of the magic. The camera angles are always perfect, and you have a good view of the situation on the screen. It’s a shame that there is only a single player campaign available in Agents of Mayhem because I believe that these games are perfect for couch co-op experience and a fun evening or two with your friends.
The scenery is also beautiful and various throughout the game, so the overall visual experience is satisfying. As I mentioned, the problem lies in the fact that you can’t interact with the surroundings as much as you would like. There are some barrels that you can shoot to explode, and several terminals you can hack, but it seems that AoM’s open world remains stuck somewhere in 2010 when creators of games worldwide were just revealing the possibilities it can offer.
Agents of Mayhem is a fun game for all those people who love third-person arcade shooters. It doesn’t come without its faults, but the overall impression is positive – you can get a couple of afternoons off and have lots of fun with it. That being said, it’s a shame that Volition hasn’t used the maximum potential of the open world and created an even better game.