Agents of Mayhem is a colorful and undemanding in terms of complexity game that is both soothing and fast becomes dull. The wide range of heroes does not compensate for the monotony of quests and places.
Consider a classic animation about the battle between good and evil. Only a select gang of twelve daredevils can stop a crazy scientist at the helm of an evil organization from taking over the globe. Agents of Mayhem, the newest release from the designers of the Saints Row series, is designed to seem like an interactive, cartoon adventure. The story takes set in the future city of Seoul. Doctor Babylon fell in love with the metropolis as a location to carry out his nefarious intentions. The plot is unimportant, but let’s face it: that’s exactly what it’s intended to be, because it’s all about having fun as superheroes fighting arch-villains like the Avengers, Ninja Turtles, or G.I. Joe. We begin the game with three heroes who we control alternately. However, this is not a paradigm in which we lead one hero while the other two follow us, led by artificial intelligence – this is something quite different. One person is always present during the action, but he can be replaced at any time by one of the other three.
The game is designed for a single player and does not support online collaboration or competition. This is an uncommon – and somewhat disappointing – solution. You’ll want to run with your pals once you’ve unlocked all twelve agents. The cheerful group is made up of a variety of bright and colorful characters. A fierce fisherman hurling teleporting harpoons, a movie guy, a bald muscleman with superhuman power, or a gal on roller skates shooting with a rotating cannon are all here. If that isn’t enough, the gang also includes two Saints Row heroes, whose existence can only be explained by the creators’ unwillingness to let go of the franchise. There is no distinction between better and worse heroes, because Gat, who shoots firearms, deals the same amount of damage as the aforementioned plot owner. The selection of the three active characters here is mostly about picking a universal group that can perform well in both ranged and close combat – when you need to rapidly blow something up or demolish it with a hard kick.
Of course, preferences and talents play a role, since each of the dirty dozen has its own set of abilities, much as in Overwatch. However, equipment swaps are kept to a minimum, and no one abandons their allocated weaponry. The gameplay is engaging enough to keep you entertained for several hours. Hosts of foes approach us from all sides, and we send them to the afterlife with massive explosions, flashes, clouds of smoke, and crude comments. It’s incredibly simple to go into a trance and just run from objective to mission, intending to keep firing at everything comes your way. This is also the location of Agents of Mayhem’s main issue. As soon as we break free from the thrall of colorful mayhem, we see that the mechanics of the assignments are almost always the same: we have to arrive to a location (typically a secret bunker), fire across the entire map, destroy an object or beat a boss, and exit the facility. Because the story advancement is little, it is impossible to discuss more satisfaction from performing the assignment aside from the fun of shooting.
Sometimes there are more intriguing sequences, amusing situations, and dramatic story twists, but we have to repeat the same thing over and over again to get to them, and one difference is the aforementioned changing of the hero from the previously chosen three. When we attempt all of them, however, we become bored with the game and lose enthusiasm to continue playing. Although gorgeous, the city appears to be lifeless. Few people wander along the colorful streets, and there aren’t many more activities, which aren’t as diversified and intriguing as, say, Saints Row. We mostly work on story chores and recruit new agents. Improving their powers occurs organically during the game and requires no further effort.
Agents of Mayhem’s colorfulness and uniqueness create the appearance of a game made out of previously rejected Volition studio concepts, and the developers overemphasize the game’s “relaxed” character. Expect a few hours of cool, soothing amusement here – but don’t expect anything more.