Saturday 16 September 2017

Agents of Mayhem ★☆☆☆☆

Volition has made some of my favourite games over the years. The Red Faction series, The Punisher for PS2 and the Saints Row Series. Sadly, Volition no longer owns the rights to Saints Row so instead made a spin-off game based on a possible ending from Gat out of Hell, where Johnny Gat resets the world and now we have Heroes and Super Villains running a near future Seoul, Korea.
For whatever reason (sales) Johnny Gat is only available as DLC, in Agents of Mayhem.

Agents of Mayhem is that kid at school who was always trying, too hard, to fit in with the "cool" kids... and fails. There's a ton of cheesy jokes and cringy dialogue, as no one shuts up. Characters swear a fair bit (which in general I have no issue with) but it just comes off as unnaturally forced, sounding like Hit-Girl's delivery in the Kickass movie. I'm pretty sure this was just to keep the age rating up as the blood and violence has been toned waaaay down compared with Saints Row. Blood is now a barely visible particle effect and enemies just comically fall to the ground and fade out.
No more running about with ridiculous weapons and beating someone to death with an oversized purple dildo. 

Visually the game takes on a nice Comic book/cartoonish style and looks very much like an open world Overwatch with much worse animation. All of the character animation looks a bit janky and floaty. Hollywood's walk cycle looks like he's trying to moonwalk forwards with something stuck in his brown eye. Characters don't get into cars, they just phase in, like the Twins in The Matrix Reloaded. The driving seems like it's shoehorned in for the sake of ticking off an open world box. All the cars basically handle the same. Future music apparently sucks, judging by the car radio, and is as memorable as a marvel movie soundtrack (score); which put me off getting in any cars from then on. Civilians merely exist in this world and have little interaction with anything seeming pointless and inconsequential.

Not to copy GTA 5 or anything… You now control a squad of three heroes, at any one time, and you can flick between them on the fly. There are a fair few characters to unlock and switch about with your current squad, each one plays just different enough to justify being a separate character and is one of the better things about the game.

That and the upgrade system is pretty decent, if a little overloaded. Everyone has four main skills to upgrade as well as crystal slots which boost character abilities. With each mission you finish, you unlock a new weapon mod. Every character has a triple jump and teleporty dash move from the get-go. They’re not really Super (Anti) Heroes as no one has any real "powers", the variation just comes in the form of guns. Which turns the game into 'go here. shoot this. Repeat.', so they could've just had you unlock guns instead of people. Extra Characters is a nice cover up to make it seem like the game has more to offer than it does. Mostly I stuck with just one or two characters and only changed when my health was low.

Disappointingly, you unlock them by completing boring and repetitive side missions; usually, enter a secret lair that looks the same as every other secret lair in the game with lots of copy and paste rooms and corridors, like they'd never played the Library level in Halo, these are repeated in the main missions, too.

The size of a map is never a fair way to judge a game. Volition would probably like you to believe that 'it's a good size'. Only, it's not. It maybe about the size of two districts in Saints Row 2 but with less to see and do. When you can drive at super speed... that becomes quite small.  Sadly, there's just very little to do except the odd pop-up mission for the fortieth time. At some point, I just got bored and put on GTA 3.

Bry Wyatt

Agents of Mayhem at CeX

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