Agents of Mayhem Review
Agents of Mayhem takes place in a future world in which the evil LEGION has taken over. A former LEGION agent named Persephone Brimstone has a change of heart and forms MAYHEM to oppose LEGION. She recruits twelve agents to help her execute her plan to take down LEGION, and together they are the Agents of Mayhem of the game's title.
The agents are a diverse collection of characters each with their own distinct personality and motivations, not to mention weapons, attack styles, and special attacks. The agents themselves truly are the stars of the game, their personalities and dialog accounting for a good percentage of the game's entertainment factor. Missions in the game are accomplished by a team of three agents of your choosing, although you'll have to play through a number of missions before you unlock the entire roster of agents. While in the mission you can switch between any of your three agents in an instant which lets you adjust to the current situation. If the enemies have gotten a little too close to your long-range specialist, switch to your shotgun-wielding short-range specialist and quickly clear them out. The agents that you bring with you earn experience at the end of a mission, which leads to unlocking new skills for each agent that can be swapped in and out to let you customize each agent a bit to fit your play style.
But it's not just the weapons that change as you switch heroes, the dialog does as well. All of the conversations in the missions are unique for each character, so you'll hear different responses depending on which character that you have active at the time. As you make your way through the game, though, you'll probably settle on your favorite agents and just stick with them. The game's developers were probably aware that this would probably happen with the majority of gamers, so you'll have to play through a special mission to unlock each agent in what essentially serves as each agent's audition to make your favorites list.
While a lot of work obviously went into developing the game's agents and the motion comic style cutscenes that drive the story, it seems to have come at the expense of the game's open world and mission design. The game is set in an open world version of a futuristic Seoul, but the open world is strictly from the past. The street traffic is light and there are hardly any pedestrians walking the streets, and those pedestrians come across more like mindless zombies than actual people. Attack a person and he'll willfully accept his fate while anyone who happens to be nearby will obliviously ignore the fact that an agent is killing a civilian half his size. There are some things to collect and side missions to complete in the city, but the city feels so dead and soulless that there's no driving motivation to explore it. I found it very surprising that the game's open world was so primitive in comparison to the open worlds of today's games, especially considering that Agents of Mayhem is developed by the same studio that brought us the Saints Row games.
The game's missions fare a bit better than its open world. The missions to unlock each of the agents are some of the more enjoyable ones as they give you a closer look at each agent's backstory and motivations for joining MAYHEM. There are also some interesting missions involving the villains that star in each of the game's chapters. However, too many missions feature a grind through one of LEGION's near identical facilities facing mob attacks by hordes of identical copies of the same small handful of enemy types. I lost count of the number of missions that involved traveling to a waypoint, clearing out a couple of waves of attackers, and then moving to the next waypoint to do it again. And sometimes you'll have to do it again, again. I ran into several bugs that did things like fail to register completed objectives and that forced me to replay sections of missions to complete them. When in a LEGION facility, that means running down a connecting hallway or two, but if you're in the Seoul overworld it's one long drive across the city after another, with no apparent reason for doing so beyond padding out the length of the game.
Agents of Mayhem is the kind of game that could have been great with a bit more work. The agents are a great group of playable characters and the mechanic of switching between agents as easily as you would switch between weapons in another shooter is a good one. Drop these agents into a lively open world with plenty to do and explore, a world like you'd find in a Saints Row game for example, and you'd have a really exciting game here. Unfortunately, personality alone is not enough.
Final Rating: 72% - Agents of Mayhem has a great personality.