Agents Of Mayhem – Review
Follow Genre: Open world action adventure
Developer: Deep Silver Volition
Publisher: Koch Media
Plaform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC(Steam)
Tested on PlayStation 4 Pro

Agents Of Mayhem – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Humor, action, animated cut scenes, setting, presentation
Bad: sometimes a bit too chaotic, lacks a few elements, poor side activities, might become monotonous over time
User Score
8.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The developers at Deep Silver Volition have been rather busy after five installments and/or spin offs of their popular Saints Row franchise. It’s been two years since we’ve last tangled with one of their successful action games and now they developed what could probably be another blockbuster. Agents of Mayhem is the name of their newest IP and is what you’d expect if you mix the over-the-top action and humor of Saints Row with elements from G.I. Joe and other ’90s action series. It’s not surprising in the least that it takes place in the same universe as that of Saints Row and that occasional references or characters of the latter appear in the game. After having spent multiple hours of causing mayhem and beating up some villains, we finally managed to put down our controller and write down our verdict.Agents Of Mayhem 8Story

Agents of Mayhem takes place in Seoul, South Korea most of the time, somewhere in the near future. The city and the rest of the world are being terrorized by the evil organization “the League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations” or L.E.G.I.O.N. in short. The evil mastermind behind this organization is a man called Doctor Babylon. Luckily, there is also an organization to thwart the plans of L.E.G.I.O.N. This is where Persephone Brimstone comes into action with her Multinational Agency for Hunting Evil Masterminds or M.A.Y.H.E.M. in short. As ridiculous as it sounds, as ridiculous it will eventually become. Persephone has hired a group of oddballs with special abilities who can aid in the defense of the planet and stop both Doctor Babylon and L.E.G.I.O.N., and as you might’ve guessed, not everything goes according to plan.

In terms of the story, AOM has a fun, hilarious and appealing storyline. If you’ve played some of Deep Silver Volition’s (formerly known as Volition) previous titles, you might expect a certain level of absurd and over-the-top storylines. AOM is no different and brings its own flavor mixed with ideas from ’90s action series such as G.I. Joe, A-team, Magnum P.I. and others. Don’t be mistaking, the plot isn’t simpleminded nor hard to understand. It’s actually pretty straightforward and that’s what makes it really fun and alluring as you’ll actually get to play like superheroes/agents and get to kick the living daylight out of the villains or their henchmen.Agents Of Mayhem 6

Another strong asset worth mentioning is the individual character story lines via the agent operations. As you unlock a new agent, you’ll get a short but interesting background story presented through outstanding animation and get to play their personal mission. It improves immersion and helps players to get a deeper understanding of the playable characters and how they became part of M.A.Y.H.E.M. Especially fans of the Saints Row franchise will appreciate the references and the small winks to the latter’s lore.

Graphics

Agents of Mayhem continues to build on the graphics engine of its predecessors where it tries to mix a cartoonish look with slightly cell shaded mechanics. Together with the low-budget like vibe of ’90s action cartoons, the absurd public service announcements and the impressive visual designs from its diverse cast of characters, makes this game truly impressive. Unfortunately, this can’t be said for every part of the game. Some parts of Seoul, although well-built, felt like an empty sandbox except for some occasional traffic and pedestrians. This is the same for the ingame dungeons or enemy lairs. The so called LEGION lairs, look like they’ve been shamefully copy pasted with slight differences in lay-out.Agents Of Mayhem 0

Sound

Listening to the soundtrack of Agents of Mayhem makes you think of those iconic ’90s action series that defined our childhood: themes and tunes that may be outdated in this day and age, but still create a feeling of nostalgia. Alas the soundtrack is not so expansive and where we would have expected some impressive and extensive track lists like in other similar games, AOM falls rather short. Except for the characters’ own theme music, which accentuates each character during their personal missions and mayhem abilities, AOM uses a wide variety of genres and influences such as electronic music or K-pop. There is no particular background music during AOM’s play sessions. It feels a bit off and makes you miss the ambient background. On the other hand, the voice acting sports some experienced voice actors that deliver amazing voice work and aid in creating genuine, authentic heroes and villains with a personality of their own. We even dare to say that this is one of the most impressive assets of the game. It’s been quite a while since we’ve encountered this level of quality in videogames.Agents Of Mayhem 2

Gameplay

AOM is an open world action game with the futuristic version of Seoul as your personal playground. You play as one of the twelve unique agents of M.A.Y.H.E.M. (thirteen if you count Gat’s DLC character), each with their own skillsets and abilities. At the start of the game, you’ll only have 3 agents at your disposal but more are unlocked through story missions and agent operations. The way these agents are presented and how their gameplay stands out in their own way, is what makes this game stand out among its peers. F.e. Braddock is a former drill sergeant of the US army who wields a semi-automatic machine rifle which rips through tough armors but can summon a missile strike when she’s about to be overrun. If you prefer to go full Rambo, then you can choose Daisy, a derby roller with a severe liking for liquor, who wields a 6 barrel minigun that can keep going and can shred multiple enemies in mere seconds.  Every character has its own specialties, quirks or weaknesses and all move around really fluently like genuine superheroes.Agents Of Mayhem 1You enter the battlefield in squads of three agents which can be chosen at the Ark and gain experience in the progress. Leveling up gives you access to four skills that can be improved as you gain one upgrade point per level. Every character can level up to forty, unlocking new abilities and upgrading skills along the way. Every character has its own unique skillset that is divided in a special ability and a mayhem ability. The special ability can be used during combat and can deal lots of damage to your enemies while mixing it with your standard firepower and recharges automatically over time. The Mayhem ability on the other hand is more like a limited, overpowered ability that is unique for each character and can’t be changed. The Mayhem ability is particularly useful when you find yourself in a tight pinch. This ability can be triggered when your Mayhem meter is full which can be charged either by gaining or dealing damage and picking up the Mayhem symbol (dropped by certain enemies).

Agents Of Mayhem 7Luckily, the agents aren’t the only means to an end. You’ll also gain access to an extensive selection of technology on top of the Ark. This latter is your base of operations from where you’ll monitor Seoul and the conflicts in the world. The Ark sports all kinds of departments. You have Requisitions (Ark upgrades and cash flow), R&D Lab (Gremlin/Legion Tech), the Vehicle Bay (transportation), the Armory (agent loadout) and last but not least the Wreck room (replay missions or complete VR training programs).

Ark upgrades and development of Gremlin or Legion Tech don’t come for free. Money and materials are gained through completing missions, taking out enemies, opening chests and collecting from controlled parts of Seoul through Requisitions. Another thing to keep an eye out for is collecting core fragments (ten fragments form one complete core), gadgets, character and vehicle skins. The cores can be found during exploration or through completing objectives, and are used to fill up one of the three core slots of each character. Every agent can also equip three gadgets which are divided in special ability, weapon ability and passive ability. Last but not least are the car and character skins. These skins for either the agents or vehicles don’t grant any stat bonuses but only change the look. Taking all these assets into consideration, AOM allows you to customize and adjust the abilities of your agents as you see fit.Agents Of Mayhem 3

As we’ve mentioned the Gremlin and Legion Tech, there is a distinctive difference between the two. Gremlin Tech, just as mentioned earlier, can change the look and effect of your agent’s Gadgets. These Gadgets are divided into three classes. One benefits the agent’s special ability (the effect and look), the second one benefits your weapon effects/damage and the last one focuses more on passive effects during combat. Legion Tech can be used to further upgrade and improve a gadget of your choice.

Although you’ve got lots of equipment at your disposal, it still feels incomplete. In transportation for instance, there are only cars at your disposal and no other ways of transportation which would make certain missions a lot more interesting. Another aspect that might bother players is the fact that the weapons at your disposal are limited to the character you’re controlling. In other words, if you’d like to wield another weapon, you’ll need to change your character. On the other hand, it forces you to consider your personal playstyle and strategy by choosing your three man squad wisely.Agents Of Mayhem

Don’t go expecting that LEGION will stand idly by though. Aside from its iconic villains and boss characters, you’ll have their henchmen to deal with. These henchmen consist of all kinds of powerful units and can be divided in multiple classes that stand out in either moving faster, dealing more damage or being better armored. But don’t be mistaking, if you underestimate them, it’s game over. This brings us to the difficulty setting of AOM. Aside from choosing your three man squad, your loadout and your weapon or character skins, you can also define the difficulty. The harder the difficulty, the harder it will be to take down the LEGION army but on the other hand, the better rewards will be.

Finally, we’d like to take a closer look at the side activities you can do in AOM. Aside from the agent operations and story missions, there is other stuff you can do too. You have objectives you can complete such as finding and completing LEGION lairs (hidden underground enemy facilities), destroying all kinds of LEGION contraptions scattered around Seoul, collecting cores, opening chests, completing world conflicts (a sort of micromanagement that dispatches agents to all corners of the world and rewards extra resources for the Ark) and optional daily mission objectives (these missions grant you extra experience and cash). Most of these generic missions and side activities feel the same without any decent variety and become rather boring over time. After about 15 hours of playthrough, most players will suffer from battle fatigue and crave for something new and different. We can only hope that Deep Silver Volition continues to add fresh content to the game to keep players entertained for a longer time.

Agents Of Mayhem 4

Conclusion  

Deep Silver Volition has done it. With Agents of Mayhem, they’ve created another blockbuster and succesful franchise. It has an incredible amount of potential and addictive gameplay, which is a strong foundation for future installments. Alas, there is still a lot of work to be done before it’s perfect. Despite having a rich and appealing story and cast of characters, it falls a tad short on certain levels of gameplay. Every start is difficult though, even for experienced developers. That’s why we can definitely recommend this game to everyone looking for some over-the-top humor and tongue-in-the-cheek humor. Both fans and newcomers will really enjoy this game as we’re looking forward to possible new content and potential sequels.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Agents Of Mayhem - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
JasuSakura
JasuSakura


Being over 30 years old, I've been playing videogames since I've exchanged my pacifier for a game controller. I've only recently started reviewing games and it's incredibly fun to do and educational as I get to know a lot of new stuff about videogames and the industry. My favourite game genres are RPG's(strategy RPG, J-RPG,...), adventure, platforming, simulation and retro.

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