I’m back with…Saints Row? Well, not exactly. Trying to write this, I still don’t know the purpose of this game. I know I’m starting with doubt but for good reason, and it all revolves around Gat out of Hell, which (spoilers by the way)…
Johnny Gat goes to heaven and chooses one of multiple wishes, but one of those wishes revolves around retconning the entire Saints Row series apart from Johnny Gat and a few other characters, and would be the lieutenant of the Seoul police force. This would be the beginning of a new timeline and the promise of a new game…that no one talks about anymore. I mean this was released in August, it’s now December and people’s opinions on it is as obscure as a copy of Little Samson. I got my sealed copy of this game for £9.99, it shows that it didn’t sell well, to the point where there were layoffs at Volition, the developers of the game.
For me, this is sad on so many levels, this was the company that made the Saints Row games, they weren’t perfect, but they were fun in terms of gameplay, I don’t want to see the company go…OH, I have a game to review.
Agents of Mayhem, developed by Volition and published by Deep Silver, it was released in 2017.
The game is set in Seoul, South Korea, where an organization known as M.A.Y.H.E.M. (Multinational Agency Hunting Evil Masterminds), founded by former supervillain Persephone Brimstone. The organization’s task is to stop L.E.G.I.O.N. (the League of Evil Gentleman Intent on Obliterating Nations) from taking over the world. That’s the simplification of it as the plot is yearning to be a parody of a Saturday Morning cartoon, and it shows with animated cutscenes and some elements that make said Saturday Morning cartoon, but it tries to also be in the style of Saints Row but its so diluted that it isn’t even funny. There were a couple of moments where I did laugh but not enough to make the plot entertaining.
Before I get to the characters, I must get into the game.
We once again have an open-world game (I’ll come back to that). You can play as up to 12 agents and pick three for any mission. Most missions revolve around shooting enemies and all agents have their own specific abilities, whichever one you like can be used to complete missions. Playing as these agents was fun, I won’t lie…albeit, a few I liked and there were a couple I used throughout the entire game.
Missions consist of shooting enemies, hack into things whilst shooting enemies…going somewhere to shoot enemies…drive somewhere to shoot enemies…going into a L.E.G.I.O.N underground lair over and over and over and over and over and over…
Oh, did I tell you that every mission revolves around SHOOTING ENEMIES! That’s all you ever do, this game has no variety when it comes to missions, from getting new agents, to progressing through the story, repetition here is absolute here. I mean sure there’s a few bosses to fight and they can be of great challenge but you’re still locking and loading. In previous titles, missions had variety, sometimes it wasn’t all about shooting enemies with various weapons. The most important factor of an open-world game is to gave variety, to give you different objectives to do to avoid the game feeling stale. Agents of Mayhem does none of those and shows it has no idea how to make the game interesting.
Now for the characters, we have Joule, Rama, Red Card, Braddock, Daisy, Oni, and Scheherazade. Returning characters from Saints Row include Oleg Kirlov, A.K.A., “Yeti” and Pierce Washington, A.K.A. “Kingpin”. But you’ll start of with Fortune, Hardtack and Hollywood. And as expected, none of these characters are interesting in the slightest, apart from Rama, who has a decent backstory but it never gets a resolution, in fact, none of the agents’ backstories are resolved, so as a result, I don’t care about the characters. I wouldn’t call them stereotypical (though some are still regardless) but some can still be annoying.
You might have read this review so far and probably thought I forgot one other character, the one who made the world as it is: Johnny Gat. Don’t you worry, he’s also an agent…as DLC…ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME VOLITION? Luckily though, I got the Day One Edition, which included the code to get him and some costume skins for free, but there was other DLC that I couldn’t get unless I paid for it, which included two more agents, one was Kinzie Kensington from Saints Row. I don’t see the point of DLC unless you really want more skins or three extra characters.
In terms of which agents I used once I had access to all of them, each has there own weapon, they have their own Special Ability with a cooldown and a Mayhem Ability. So, my playable characters include Johnny Gat because his shotgun close range can decimate enemies, though Hardtack is the same too but Johnny has the best Special and Mayhem Abilities, Fortune or Kingpin because they can dash when in the air so that helps. And then there’s Scheherazade, an absolute beast of a character. To summarise: Middle-Eastern Ninja, and enemies are decimated easily with her sword. The gameplay is OK and some Agents are fun to play with than others, moving around is fast and you can triple jump…yeah…triple jump…eh, whatever gets me to the end of the game.
Oh, by the way, Agents can level up, levelling up will grant you cash, skills, gadgets, and mods to enhance their combat skills. I use mods that take advantage of my Agents of choice. I feel my preference of Agents is a problem, without any variety of missions, I’ll only choose ones that will help me beat the game in no time. Why would I want some guy with an assault rifle or an engineer, or a minigun-wielding alcoholic, when I can use someone with a powerful shotgun, or a ninja, or someone who uses a crossbow, ones that can easily defeat enemies, there’s no incentive to take a risk and therefore, the game loses any charm or fun I had with it the first couple of hours I played it for, it’s all about trying to beat the game so you never have to play it again.
The game is set in Seoul, a highly futuristic place, the world of tomorrow…the smallest bloody world map you will ever get in an open-world game. Compared to all the Saints Row games and even Grand Theft Auto games have big maps, even Grand Theft Auto III on the PlayStation 2 has a bigger map than this pitiful world that is Agents of Mayhem. To be honest, it does look nice, it’s colourful, the futuristic Korean atmosphere is very appealing and I’ll give the developers credit for that. But the problem is, there’s barely any life to this city, nobody’s talking and civilians are as silent as a mouse. But I’m guessing the reason why the map is small is once again, the lack of variety in terms of gameplay. Oh, by the way, WHY DON’T I GET PUNISHED FOR KILLING CIVILIANS? How did nobody think about that?
The graphics are decent, I’m not fond of the character designs, I just don’t find them appealing, there’s a sort of cheapness to them. The level design is decent but it can be samey, so samey in fact that when you need to find info on a new Agent you can unlock, you’re forced to go into the same rooms every time, as in every underground lair throughout Seoul is a copy/paste lair with barely any variety to them, and yes, you shoot enemies, hack things and the hacking is easy and quick, levels feel like I’m playing previous ones over and over again, it’s an utter bore with the level design and the gameplay too. The music is lacking, the soundtrack is just noise, forgettable noise, heck, you can’t even choose what you want to listen to when driving, which has become a staple of city-based open-world games, but not like it matters anyway since going from A to B doesn’t take you long anyway, so it makes sense that the music is just dull noise. That’s a bad thing by the way.
OOH! It ain’t a Saints Row (sort of) game without some bugs and glitches, and this game has the worst. And keep in mind I’m playing this on an original PlayStation 4. But anyway, I found some stupid shit, awful ragdoll physics from some dead enemies, cars flipping about for no reason, the directions on where you need to go can (rarely) go haywire and the game’s framerate can bloody chug like no tomorrow and because of that, the game doesn’t feel smooth to play, when I’m gunning down foes, the screen feels like it’s blurring, it’s awkward and it affects my enjoyment of the game…well whatever enjoyment I had anyway. I at least didn’t encounter gamebreaking glitches like the inability to finish the final level, as that and a lot of other stuff was fixed earlier before, and boy was it a long fucking update. But it doesn’t fix most of the glitches but at least it wasn’t as bad as it could have been had I played it earlier.
What else? Erm, there’s outpost takeovers you can do…albeit only a few so why should I care. All the civilian cars suck apart from the one you get from M.A.Y.H.E.M, and the car itself is voiced by someone who’s desperate to be KITT from Knight Rider. In fact, driving can be awkward, it doesn’t feel right, and crashing into civilian vehicles is funny since they can easily be destroyed in about two rams, they’re literally paper weights, the future is light but expensive.
On the box the game says there’ll be pop culture references, but these are kept to a minimum but if you want a parody of pop singers, K-Pop, Hatsune Miku, falling in love with something that doesn’t exist and someone desperate to be Harley Quinn, then being a Saturday Morning cartoon no longer makes sense anymore.
The comedy isn’t funny, the characters aren’t interesting apart from one, you can collect crystals to upgrade your Agent even more but you can fully upgrade everyone and still have enough crystals to collect so…you can at least fill a quota. You can eventually go around the world…albeit do an Assassin’s Creed and pick an Agent to do a mission in a country while you continue onto the main quest and even when you do go on a mission in a different country it’s once again another bloody copy/paste underground lair, WOW THIS GAME WAS LAZILY MADE!
Overall, Agents of Mayhem is a very dull, very pathetic game that tries to be unique but ends up being horribly repetitive. It tries to keep the Saints Row style in some way but fails. The gameplay is samey throughout regardless of who you’re playing as, and the humor is a flat as this stale pile of rice cake. It has some good bits and bobs and such, but those good bits get heavily overshadowed by the other uninteresting stuff. If you’re looking for a game to shoot enemies and give you a miniscule reason only to shoot enemies playing as different characters, then this might tickle your fancy, but for anyone else looking for more than that, don’t waste your money on this, I can’t recommend it.
But as it stands, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Volition, this game only sold 0.09m copies on the PlayStation 4 alone and other systems isn’t that great either, so…I don’t know. If there is another Saints Row-style game and they learn from their mistakes, then I’ll give them another chance, but if that’s the end…then it’s the end, it ain’t Saints Row anymore.
You can get it on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.