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Agents of Mayhem

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Volition
Release Date: Aug. 15, 2017 (US), Aug. 18, 2017 (EU)

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Agents of Mayhem'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on July 8, 2016 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Agents of Mayhem is an open-world action game where a motley outfit of unique and diverse Super Agents are recruited from around the world to thwart the destructive schemes of the evil supervillain organization L.E.G.I.O.N.

Pre-order Agents of Mayhem

Anyone loosely familiar with the Saint's Row series has probably already seen the trailer for Agents of Mayhem, which showed three agents battling it out against an enemy named Doctor Babylon. The big question was what the gameplay was going to be, and if it would be like Saint's Row or something else entirely. During E3 2016, I saw the game and played it for a while, so I was able to check out the three agents from the trailer as well as an additional agent who used a bow.

In the world of Agents of Mayhem, LEGION is an evil organization that has successfully conquered the world and decimated its militaries. They are led by Doctor Babylon, who was the evil mastermind as seen in the trailer. MAYHEM is a band of amoral antiheroes operating out of Seoul, South Korea, that are pushing back against LEGION. The entirety of the game takes place in Seoul, and during the course of it, you will recruit new agents to MAYHEM and make choices about how to expand their headquarters.

Upon playing the game, you get the sense that much of what was learned during Saint's Row was carried over into Agents of Mayhem. The ability to dance around your targets as you spray them with gunfire and occasionally beat them into submission felt right at home. In this game, you can also double-jump to easily reach higher areas, and you'll clamber onto surfaces if you fall a little short.

It's important to note that you don't just play as one agent. At the start of a mission, you must pick three, and you can switch between them at any time using the d-pad. This lets you easily swap them out for the task at hand, such as switching to Hardtack any time you need his close-range dominance. It also lets you tailor your agent set for your play style or whatever you think the mission might throw at you.

Each agent has a special ability, such as Hollywood's grenade launcher or Prophet's AOE electrical field. These abilities have a simple cooldown before they can be used again, and there are no other associated costs, so you can use them any time you want. Dealing damage with an agent builds that agent's mayhem meter, and when it's filled, you can trigger a mayhem ability.

These abilities vary, such as Prophet having her drone rake the area with damage or Hardtack launching remote mines. My favorite is Hollywood, who flips on sunglasses and deals higher damage while dramatic action music plays and everything around you starts randomly blowing up for no good reason.

My session started with tracking down Aisha, a K-pop star who also happens to be an AI. She is also one of the most advanced and sophisticated AIs ever created, so should LEGION capture her, it could spell a whole lot of trouble for MAYHEM. Despite Aisha wanting to meet in an assuredly abandoned old LEGION base, it was a trap. You see, Aisha really wants to marry Steeltoe, one of Doctor Babylon's lieutenants. My job was to crash their wedding and take down Steeltoe. During the course of the mission, I got a bit of a K-pop concert, saw a wedding cake explode to expose a concealed trap, and all of this took place on a floating ship hundreds of feet above the city.

If you think there are some direct Saint's Row parallels, you're on the right track. The game actually takes place in the expanded Saint's Row universe, and while you won't see those characters running around, you will catch references to those games, either as Easter eggs or overtly, in the case of Aisha. MAYHEM is even funded by a future iteration of Ultor Corporation.

Sadly, there was a small measure of disappointment from my session. I found out that Agents of Mayhem will not include cooperative play, much to the dismay of fans who enjoyed it in most of the Saint's Row series. The team tried to work on it internally but ultimately found that it worked against how they wanted to really let players have agency over how they upgrade their agents and their headquarters. None of those features were really shown, but it makes sense.

There were a few times when I had a blast playing something at E3 2016, and my session with Agents of Mayhem was one of those times. The game is clearly built on everything the team has learned over the last few years. The writing and game design is as strong as it ever has been, which makes the game both fun and funny as hell. Agents of Mayhem is definitely one to keep track of as it gets closer to its release date.

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