Sometime between the planning of Saints Row: The Third, Volition decided to say F***-it in regards to being taken seriously. The result has been a series of games that have been both comedy gold along with a homage to pop-culture.
Agents of Mayhem continues this tradition with an over-the-top adventure that is both hilarious and a nod to pop-culture. This time the setting along with the story is inspired by G.I. Joe while also borrowing elements from Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. and paying respects to Overwatch.
Before fans get excited, they should be warned that the gameplay feels like a total setback. Unlike its predecessor, this spin-off is more focused on being comedy gold and a homage to pop-culture while devoid of any solid gameplay. Basically, this is the video game equivalent of member berries – full of nostalgia but lacking any substance.
Agents of Mayhem is a spin-off to the Saints Row series and is set many years after the “recreated Earth” ending of Gat Out of Hell. The story follows the agents of the international task-force Multinational AgencY Hunting Evil Masterminds (M.A.Y.H.E.M) as they try to stop L.E.G.I.O.N. from taking over the world.
When it’s discovered that L.E.G.I.O.N. has set up a base of operation in Seoul while planning, M.A.Y.H.E.M is deployed to shut them down. The Franchise Force made up of Hardtack, Hollywood and Fortune are the first to be deployed while other agents are recruited as the story progresses.
The game is setup with the classic Saints Row tone but with obvious influences of G.I. Joe added to the mix. Unlike the beloved cartoon, this time there is adult humor and with a lot more violence but its still better than the awful live action films. The cutscenes have also been developed to feel less like a video game and more like a mature cartoon, which dose help progress the overall narrative. Saints Row fans will also be happy to learn that several of their favorite characters do return like Johnny Gatz and Pierce Washington.
From a visual perspective, Agents of Mayhem has to be one of the best looking cel-shaded titles since Borderlands 2. This change in design allows the experience to feel less like a game and more like a Saturday Morning. Complementing the experience are the transition to animated cutscenes that makes Agents of Mayhem feel even more like a grown up version of G.I. Joe.
Too Much Member Berries
Following Gat Out of Hell, using the same map and gameplay would no longer be tolerated by the fans. Instead of adding or building on an already existing gameplay, everything has been regressed down to a state of blandness.
On the surface, it may look like an over the top action game that kept the gameplay of its predecessor while borrowing elements from titles like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Assassins Creed. In reality, this is an open world game released in 2017 and yet it has to be one the most boring experiences ever.
The environment is just bare-bone while devoid of anything to make it feel interesting. Sure it looks pretty but this is 2017 and Grand Theft Auto V raised the bar for open world titles, being one alone is not that impressive. There is no serious customization of anything while the vehicles now function now like bumper cars. Each mission is incredibly repetitive with little to no tweaks made.
Everything that made Saints Row fun has been stripped away while the gameplay has been reduced to the bland and the basic. Over all the gameplay is as exciting as watching toast burn in the toaster.
Now You Know
So is Agents of Mayhem a bad game? The answer would be no – if you take the quality of the story, visuals and gameplay into account. The story is a nod to G.I. Joe with a more mature theme while the design truly makes it feel like an interactive cartoon. However the gameplay is so bare-bone and the open-world is devoid of anything worth exploring.
Fans of Saints Row will enjoy a new experience and the return of their favorite characters but will be disappointed by the overall gameplay. While the most hardcore of fans may get it on Day One, most gamers should just wait for it to hit the bargain bin.
Disclaimer: I bought this game on the PlayStation Store.