Agents of Mayhem Review

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By ratcheting up the over-the-top elements with each entry in the Saints Row franchise, Volition wrote themselves into a bit of a corner. What started as a GTA clone with a goofy sense of humor turned into a ludicrous affair with characters that could fly across the map and access superpowers. Once characters were shooting fireballs from their hands and flying around Hell with demon wings, there wasn’t a lot of room left to keep cranking up the crazy.

Hollywood, Fortune, and Hardtack are the first agents you'll have access to.Hollywood, Fortune, and Hardtack are the first agents you’ll have access to.

Agents of Mayhem is not officially a Saints Row game, but the DNA of that franchise is plain to see throughout. My hope was that by introducing this as a new series, it’d give Volition a chance to dial things back a bit. Saints Row: The Third was my favorite of the bunch, hitting the sweet spot of silliness without taking things too far. Unfortunately, Agents of Mayhem misses the mark in many key areas and ultimately disappoints.

While Saints focused on a street gang, Agents is more of a send-up of comic heroes and Saturday morning cartoons. Twelve heroes are unlockable, including a vain actor, a drunken roller derby girl, a soccer hooligan, and a Yakuza assassin. The cast of characters may be diverse when it comes to their ethnicity and abilities, but they’re one-dimensional in every other regard. Considering you have access to a dozen playable characters, I don’t envy the writer that had to come up with unique dialogue for every one of them in every situation.

Pictured: Every combat encounter in Agents of Mayhem.

Pictured: Every combat encounter in Agents of Mayhem.

Like much of the game, there’s definitely a “quantity over quality” feel to the myriad jokes. Saints Row wasn’t a comedic masterpiece, but it had some clever writing and a consistent tone. Agents of Mayhem is constantly straining to be funny and coming up short. So much of its material seems hinged on the concept of “this is like a kid’s cartoon, but they curse all the time!” It’s a lazy, boring approach that isn’t funny at first and certainly doesn’t get better as they lean on the cursing for the rest of the game. Jokes that aim higher than simple F-bombs and dick jokes never get much more sophisticated than zingers about how the planet Uranus sounds like a butthole.

The tone of the game’s humor immediately turned me off, but I hoped to find solace in the seemingly robust upgrade system for each character. A crazy amount of tinkering is possible, with different systems in place for skill points, altering special abilities, building “Legion Tech” modifiers, collecting three core upgrades for each character, and more. On top of the individual upgrades, you also level up the Agency in general, which unlocks passive improvements no matter which agent you’re using.

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This article and images were originally posted on [Giant Bomb’s Site Mashup] August 22, 2017 at 01:05PM

Credit to Author and Giant Bomb’s Site Mashup