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Agents of Mayhem Review (PS4) — Oh, When the Saints…

 
 
Overview
 

Published by: Deep Silver
 
Developed by: Deep Silver Volition
 
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows PlayStation 4 Xbox One
 
Genre(s): Action-adventure
 
Mode(s): Single-player
 
Game Type: , ,
 
FG RATING
83%
83/ 100


User Rating
4 total ratings

 

Raves


Diverse characters. Deep progression system. Fun gunplay.

Rants


Repetitive. Lackluster environments. Minor technical issues. Inefficiently interface organization.


0
Posted August 28, 2017 by

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Though Agents of Mayhem and the Saints Row series share the same universe, Mayhem relentlessly tries to set itself apart from the latter, foregoing the Saints’ strong suits and relying more on their own. Agents of Mayhem manages to prove its mettle, though it wasn’t without struggle.

STORY

Agents of Mayhem’s universe is the result of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell’s ‘recreate Earth’ ending. Set in futuristic Seoul, Korea, the game is centered around the Multinational Agency Hunting Evil Masterminds aka MAYHEM, an organization that does exactly what their name suggests, focused primarily on stopping LEGION, which is also an abbreviation for something similarly cheeky. The game’s story and overall presentation give off a strong Sunday morning cartoon vibe, reminding me of shows like Totally Spies and Martin Mystery, though it’s really more like Archer, to be honest.

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The game’s roster consists of 12 incredibly diverse characters, with at least 2 more if you count the DLCs. These individuals frequently exchange quips and banter throughout the course of the campaign, doing well to establish an interesting dynamic among the agents. On top of that, each agent has a set of special missions that focus more on their own affairs, further fleshing-out their personality and background. Mayhem’s humor isn’t as over-the-top as it is on Saints Row but manages to stay lightly entertaining despite the lousy one-liners.

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GAMEPLAY

You have access to a dozen playable agents, each with their own unique play styles and abilities. You can have up to three of these agents active when deployed and can switch among them on-the-fly by pressing on the left and right D-pad. Each agent comes with unique weapons, special abilities, traversal skills, specializations, a passive and their own MAYHEM ability (ultimate).

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Agents can level up and earn points to upgrade their… upgrades. Players can also acquire upgrade cores to unlock… core upgrades. These core upgrades permanently improve agents in a variety of ways, including increased damage or additional effects when using their special or Mayhem ability. Much like core upgrades, agents can also unlock gadgets that can affect either their weapon, special, or passive abilities. Unlike core upgrades, gadgets aren’t permanent and can be swapped out with other gadgets you may find.

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There’s plenty of opportunities to enhance your agents. Though levels cap at 20, you can use core upgrades to level-up an agent even further by up to 20 more levels. On top of gadgets, you can develop and equip LEGION tech, enhancing your agent’s abilities even further. You can also develop Gremlin tech, which are consumable abilities that can be used by any of your active agents. All these opportunities for growth mean lots of necessity for grinding, which is something sort of a gray area for Mayhem.

The game suffers from a limited enemy variety and monotonous, procedurally-generated LEGION Lairs. But despite all signs pointing towards a repetitive experience, I found it hard to put the controller down. Mowing down legions of LEGION troops was fun enough for me to subconsciously overlook its repetitious nature.

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Initially, it looks like Agents of Mayhem is trying to emulate Overwatch but in reality, it more closely resembles Diablo III. LEGION Lairs are like Rifts in Diablo, which are procedurally-generated dungeons designed for grinding for loot and whilst providing a substantial challenge. There are 15 different difficulty modifiers to choose from. Higher difficulty yields more experience and better drop rates. Hunting for LEGION tech schematics and new skins were pretty good motivations for taking on the challenge.

Agents of Mayhem’s combat is a solid A, but there are a couple design choices, primarily in its meta features, that felt inefficient and unnecessary. While deployed in Seoul, you can only manage your squad members and what Gremlin tech to equip. Everything else will have to be done on the ARK, the game’s main hub. You would have to redeploy back to Seoul every time you have to go back to the ARK. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but trust me, it gets annoying.

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For no good reason, LEGION Tech needs to be ‘socketed’ into a gadget and you can only do that in the ARK. If you want to swap out a gadget with socketed LEGION tech for a new gadget, you’d have to go all the way back to the ARK. Want to try out that new vehicle skin you unlocked? Go back to the ARK. None of your active squad members have the required specialization for a side quest? ARK. You can’t even check your statistics without having to go back to the damn ARK. There’s surprising depth in Agents of Mayhem, it’s just tangled in an inefficient user interface and confusing systems.

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

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Mayhem’s version of futuristic Seoul managed to end up looking lackluster compared to the actual place. There are areas where the visuals certainly feel top-notched. Unfortunately,  during the majority of my time free-roaming around the map,  I found it hard to ignore the generic looking structures populated by generic looking objects.

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At a glance, the game seems to lack visual flair, but If you squint, you’ll see there’s an impressive bit of detail in the environment. Agents of Mayhem isn’t an ugly game. And to be fair, its visual presentation seems to go in line with game’s overall theme. The game runs at a comfortable frame rate, but perhaps if it ran on a higher native rate, it’s simplistic cartoon aesthetics might have stood out more.

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You can loot or unlock character and weapon skins for each agent and though some of them are genuinely interesting, many of them are just recolored versions of their default get up. The game seems to lack a fair bit of polish as evidence by its myriad of minor technical issues. These were largely harmless but pops up frequently enough that it’s noticeable.

VERDICT

Agents of Mayhem successfully merges the appeal of battle arena shooters with that of a sandbox action game, albeit with very little grace. Minor technical issues and ill optimized features bar it from achieving high acclaim but do well enough to still provide players with a rewarding character shooter that’s difficult to put down, setting itself up as a solid foundation for a potentially huge new franchise.

The game is available now for PlayStation 4 on the PlayStation Store.

[This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher]


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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