Ryu’s Musings – Agents of Mayhem (PS4)

Agents_of_Mayhem_box_artLanguage: English
Developer: Volition Inc
Publisher: Deep Silver
Format: PS4/PC
Type: Action & Adventure
Demo Box: PS4 Pro
Synopsis: In Agents of MAYHEM, you run a no-holds barred operation against a shadowy super-villain organization known only as LEGION and their mysterious leader, the Morningstar. Explore the city of Seoul as a variety of Super Agents to thwart LEGION’s vile plans to take over the world!

So me getting Agents of Mayhem was a total mistake. I had originally planned to cancel y preorder given how bad the reviews were in the run up to launch. But, life being life I forgot to, so was surprised by its arrival.

Deciding against returning it was the best decision I’ve made this year, and currently AoM is my fave game of the year!

Now this is by no means saying the game is perfect, because it isn’t. I’ve encountered a number of bugs and issues that were annoying at the time, but overall didn’t hinder my game play. I’ve also encountered one game breaking bug, which while annoyed the hell out of me initially, didn’t really set me back that much. Also the game is lacking in side activities, when in comparison to the Saints Row series.

Despite these issues though the time I’ve spent in AoM (currently around 45 hours!) has been enjoyable as hell, and I’m still addicted to it.

The main mechanic of the game is the switching of your party. Rather than running around as a squad of three you run around solo, an switch characters on the fly. I initially just thought of this as a gimmick, and it really is, but it’s a fun gimmick, and that word is key. Gimmicks can be derided and ignored if they genuinely don’t do anything. However when they’re fun to play with it becomes a different story, and you find yourself using it a lot more.

To stop this from becoming stale to quickly you’re given a rather substantial roster of characters to use, all with their own storylines, quirks and characters. Overall this ‘gimmick’ makes what would have been a standard Saints Row styled game, into something more fun and interesting.

Ultimately though, except for story missions, you’re going to eventually end up settling on your ‘A-Team’ and use them almost exclusively, which is what happens in every game eventually and is not to be construed as a negative.

Next lets talk the story, sadly I have to be a bit more negative here. On the one hand the individual stories you get for the characters are amazing. Well written and scripted partnered with an amazing cartoon short detailing how they lost faith, got recruited by Persephone (the leggy fox that runs Mayhem) and now kicks LEGIONS ass whenever they can.

These are frankly some of the best stories I’ve seen in a game, and for individual stories to all be so damn good is a hell of a surprise.

This is also true for the individual missions you’re characters go on, whether its rescuing football players, to saving entire cities from disease, to recovering stollen research, or killing your clan, the stories are all amazing well written played out.

However the over arching story, of Persephone and LEGION is a bit off. I’d spent 20 hours playing before I got some info that left me wondering just WTF was going on. Ever since it’s been a bit of a confusing ride, when it comes to the main story.

Yet, that hasn’t hindered me playing the game, as, as I said the individual stories are so well done. Since this game is essentially a series of individual stories all intertwined into a bigger one, that’s fine by me!

Now lets talk about one of the best parts of the game. The VA. Holy hell this game has some of the best VA I’ve ever heard in a game, with such a diverse cast making for one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever played. Whether it’s Yeti and Braddock talking about why the super soldier project of Russia never went beyond him (and the fact that it was because they could sleep with women after!) to Hollywood trying to cover up his porn history, the VA’s bring these already well written and scripted scenes to life in a hilarious way.

So, I’ve waxed lyrical on the characters and story, the big question now is, how does it play, whats the content like.

Sadly it’s a mixed bag here. On the one hand the game plays like a dream. The different characters various combat styles make for some highly enjoyable combat. The triple play means you can easily switch from say a heavy to light. And you’re going to have to actively do this as you go through the level. As you kill LEGION troops your wanted level will rise, increasing the level of the troops you’re going to fight. Eventually they’re going to to come hunting you and throw wave after wave of troops at you, before a boss arrives. This guy will usually require the work of all three  team mates to bring down as they each do different types of damage.

Again the banter that goes on between LEGION and Mayhem is pretty hilarious and makes the combat have a bit of character to it.

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However this doesn’t change the fact that there really isn’t a lot of variance to the combat, which does mean it can get a bit dull after a while (in my case it was towards the end of an 8hour session, which is to be expected IMO!)

Content wise, there is, both a lot and not a lot of content. It’s split into mission types:

Hostage Rescue: Here LEGION have strapped a poor civvy to a bomb. You have to sweep in and activate a bubble on them, then blow the bomb and watch them go bouncing away in you’re bubble. It’s hilarious to watch! Some times theres a couple of troops to kill as well.

  • Vehicle Retrieval: Grab the requested car, drive it to the deliver zone and the kill everything thats trying to stop you.
  • Vehicle Destruction: Swap to a big car, go ram the targeted vehicle till it blows up
  • Truck Disposal: Same as the Vehicle Destruction, only you have to stop a lorry.
  • Mayhem Delivery: Drive the appointed car as fast as you can through the hoops at the last one dive out as the car will blow up taking a LEGION lorry or troop squad with it.
  • Recon Run: Run on foot as fast as you can through the hoops, kill the troops at the end of it.
  • Legion Lair: Clear our the legion base
  • Legion Outpost: Four of these through out the city, take them over to reveal LEGION locations.
  • Legion Patrols: Kill the Patrol
  • Legion Tracking Equipment: Blowing up these reduces the alert level

So, overall the content here is a bit lacking, these side activities (which are essential and cant really be skipped) tend to get rather dry and dull rather fast. This is further highlighted by the fact these side missions are repeated in the main story repeatedly.

When compared with the side objective in both SR3 and SR4 it’s decidedly lacking. Which is a shame really, since these side objectives should have been where the fun and mayhem side of things could have come into play.

So that covers the core areas, but thats not all there is to the game. The other section is the Global Conflict, which I honestly have no idea what it’s trying to achieve.

Opening this up brings you to a world map which is split up into regions. Each region composes a number of objectives that you can send free agents on to complete. You’ll get the odd bit of intel, cash and occasionally  bit of tech. After all are completed you get a legion base which will give you a region key and a bit of legion tech for those that did the base. Rinse and repeat to the final one, which gives you a Elite Tech as a reward.

Ultimately I don’t really see the purpose for this, and why it isn’t included in the base game, it docent seem to really fit in anywhere and has no real purpose. Admittedly this could just be a prelude to something thats going to appear in the future DLC.

Sooo, now lets talk about some of the negatives I’ve encountered.

Firstly I had a bug where I jumped for a building but missed, and somehow fell through the building, and then the world continuing to fall. Thankfully after a bit of free falling (around 30seconds) I was ported back. Annoying, but only happened the once in around 45 hours of gameplay!

I have encountered a couple of other minor niggles, but nothing that would be game breaking, with one exception. When running a Legion Base I had an objective to kill all the enemies, but one of them seemed to have spawned outside and was thus unreachable. I was left with no option other than to restart the mission, which was a bit worrying. I thought I was going to have to run the entire base all over again, thankfully though I was only sent back to entering the room, so it’s not so bad!

The other issue I have isn’t a bug, but rather an aesthetic issue. The Skins for the characters are, frankly, garbage. They’re essentially nothing more than colour changes which don’t really do anything. I was hoping the skins would be actual visual changes. Sure keep the weapon abilities the same, but change the way it looks. For example Rama uses a bow, change it to a crossbow, or hell just change the style of the bow. Same with her outfit, change the way it looks, not just the colour.

Finally we have bonus characters depending on type of game you bought. For example if you bought the game on pre-order you actually get less bonus material than if you bought the game later on:

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After all that though, I have to say, I still love this game, and I can’t recommend it enough for the PS4. I’ve not got the PC version, so can not address the issues that are being reported on that platform. However on the PS4 (and I expect the XB1) this game is god damn awesome. I was expecting to say wait for a sale, but honestly, even at it’s full price I’ve no worries recommending it.

I do hope we’ll see the world expanded beyond by Seoul, which is being hinted at. I can’t wait to see what Volition do with this series and how they’re going to expand this game. Though I do wonder how they can turn this into a franchise to rival Saints Row.

Author: Ryu Sheng