Agents of Mayhem PS4 Review

August 29, 2017 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Deep Silver  Developer: Volition  Genre: Action  Players: 1  

Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

It appears that Saints Row is no more, at least for now. In its place we have Agents of Mayhem, which is set in the same universe as Volition’s crazy open world series, and even shares some of the elements from it. It’s a game that takes inspiration from superheroes as well as TV shows such as He-Man, G.I. Joe, and the A-Team, and it somehow works.

In terms of timeline, Agents of Mayhem takes place after one of the endings of Saints Row IV DLC Gat Out of Hell. The narrative follows a large team of agents who work for M.A.Y.H.E.M (Multinational Agency Hunting Evil Masterminds) in a near future version of the South Korean city of Seoul, as they fight against L.E.G.I.O.N (The League of Evil Gentleman Intent On Obliterating nations), a criminal organisation hell-bent on the destruction of the world’s nations. As expected, the events in the story are often humorous and completely over the top, and the game’s varied cast of personalities keep things feeling fresh.

All the agents have unlockable skins for both themselves as well as their weapons. The likes of Iron Man, Wonder Woman, and The Joker are present in all but name.

Agents of Mayhem is an open-world game in the same way that Saints Row was, although what sets them apart is the number of playable characters. With a total of 12 playable personalities, Agents of Mayhem has plenty of variety when it comes to how each character handles. As Volition could have easily went down the route of making each character play in exactly the same way, this diversity is easily one of the most impressive aspects of the game.

Each character has their own weapon, with examples being Hardtack with his shotgun, Hollywood with his assault rifle, Kingpin with his uzi, Yeti with his ice gun, Scheherazade with her sword, Oni with his silenced pistol, Daisy with her mini gun, and so on. Not only this though, but the characters are also distinct in regard to their special, weapon, and passive abilities, and they also have their own individual Mayhem abilities.

The special, weapon and passive abilities are varied, with examples being Daisy skating around and barging into enemies while her minigun cools, Red Card uses his shield to create a massive blast, Fortune’s shield charges faster when moving around, Hollywood throws out a damaging grenade, Rama fires poisonous arrows, and so on. Each time you use one of these abilities, you’ll then have to endure a cool down period before you are able to make use of it again. These abilities certainly help make the game stand out, and it’s enjoyable to play around with them, which is sure to appease those who are seeking a little more strategy in their action games.

As for the Mayhem attacks, these become available to you each time you fill a bar to maximum. These are also varied, with Kingpin bringing out his boombox, amusingly causing his enemies to dance, Hollywood has increased firepower, with explosions firing off around him like the perfect action hero that he likes to think he is, Joule has a big gun joining her in battle, Braddock uses a cigar to call down a laser strike, Oni causes his enemies to panic, and so on.

That’s not all when it comes to the characters though, as you’ll soon discover that they are also customisable. As you play through the game, you’ll unlock new special, weapon, and passive abilities for them, which can be switched between in the menus. When characters level up, you are also able to upgrade them, which not only improves their skills, but, in some cases, can also improve the efficiency of the entire team. Each character can be levelled up to level 20, but it’s then possible to level them up a further 20 levels with Upgrade Cores, which will certainly keep players busy who don’t intend to stop until every single character is maxed out.

Characters even have their own unique animations as they enter vehicles. Here, alcoholic Daisy is giving the middle finger. How nice of her.

As you may have already realised, Agents of Mayhem has plenty in common with MMO games and RPG’s, with buffs and debuffs also being present in the game. Certain character skills can give you the upper hand, slowing down, scaring, knocking back, and weakening your enemies, while such things can also put your own characters in disadvantageous positions. The agents also have specialisations, with some being useful for taking down shields, others dealing out bonus damage to L.E.G.I.O.N commanders or enemies with debuffs, other characters are superior at hacking, and so on. With all the latter said, it’s kind of odd that Agents of Mayhem is without a multiplayer component, but I’m happy to say that it still works well enough as a single player game.

You can only have a team of three characters at any one time, although you are able to mix them up at any time, making for some rather odd combinations of personalities to say the least. You can switch between characters with a button press, allowing the ones that are sitting out a chance to heal in the background, provided that their health hasn’t fallen to zero. All the characters in the game aren’t available from the off either, with the roster growing through completing missions, with these missions introducing you to the personalities of the fresh agents, their abilities, as well as their stories. As their missions highlight each individual or their teams, they’re some of the strongest portions of the game.

As for what the characters do share, the majority of them can dash to avoid being hit, they can triple jump, they can all sprint, they all have recharging energy shields and unlimited ammo, and they can all drive as well. You can also equip Gremlin tech, allowing any of the members of the current team to make use of a varied range of weapons and buffs, some of which are rather imaginative. One allows you to fire a big ball at your enemies, another allows you to revive any of your fallen agents in your current team, there’s one that blows up all the corpses in the area, and so on. Gremlin tech can be found or crafted and purchased, and is another manner in which to mix up your play style.

I’ve mentioned the Gremlin tech, but the game also features L.E.G.I.O.N tech, which can be unlocked. L.E.G.I.O.N tech works in a completely different way from the Gremlin tech in the manner that it must be attached to one of the characters equipped abilities, but helps make characters even more powerful, with examples being Kingpin’s Mayhem ability lasting 40% longer, Daisy’s minigun charging up slower but the damage increasing by 30%, and Oni’s special ability cooldown being reduced by 20% following a melee attack.

The cast of colourful characters are one of the highlights of the game.

Finally, the game also has crystal shards for you to find, and once you have found 10 of these, you then receive a whole Core Upgrade, although it’s also possible to be awarded with Core Upgrades through various means without having to find shards as well. A Core Upgrade can be added to a character, which also helps make them more powerful in various ways: Braddock’s Mayhem ability can call down more destructive lasers, Daisy loses all debuffs whenever she makes use of a special ability, turning invisible reloads Oni’s weapon, and so on. It’s possible to add up to three Upgrade Cores to each individual character, which means another three extra perks to their skill set. The game is definitely all about the characters as well as giving you a sense of empowerment when you take control of them.

As a madcap third person shooter, Agents of Mayhem handles wonderfully well, and offers plenty of fun, although cracks do begin to show after a little while. Thanks to repetitive mission tasks, fighting through very similar looking L.E.G.I.O.N bases all too frequently (in both the side and story missions) as well as enemies repeating time and time again, the game can feel overly repetitive. This is remedied somewhat by the different agents you can take control of, but, unfortunately, it’s still the biggest issue that the game has against it. Less severe, but still noteworthy, is the fact that the game doesn’t give you any aural feedback in regard to a characters health or shield being low, which means that you have to keep a close eye on both at all times.

The open world is certainly an attractive enough place to explore, with the cel-shaded visuals and towering near-futuristic buildings of Seoul being enticing prospects, although bouts of slow-down can be expected, and can occasionally be rather severe. With L.E.G.I.O.N weapons to destroy, time trials to take part in, daily online mission tasks, shards and boxes dotted around the place to find, L.E.G.I.O.N outposts and bases to storm, and more, there’s a fair bit to do, and, as repetitive as the game feels at times, it’s certainly very rewarding in everything you do. If you find that it’s a game worth sticking with, then there’s potential for 25+ hours of gameplay to be had here.

Even with its drawbacks, Agents of Mayhem’s action is a lot of fun. It’s odd how in one way there’s repetition aplenty, but yet with the differing characters and how well they control, these important aspects make things all the better. All in all, this is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and some things could have been a lot better thought through, but thanks to its varied cast of characters, its crazy sense of humour, and its over the top action, it is still an insanely enjoyable and colourful game that is well worth a look.