The time is now and Agents Of Mayhem has released to bring us all another title in a shared universe for Volition's other titles that have made huge splashes out there. Of course, this is all set to a theme of Saturday morning cartoons and over the top heroes with a third-person action-adventure game slapped in for mechanics, so I'll let you start to figure out the parallels between them all. Or you can look at the Agents Of Mayhem marketing that Deep Silver has thrown out there to get a feel for it all a bit more with a definite 80s feel to the theme as well. All the nostalgia is coming home to roost here, but is the game any good once you get past all of the pizzazz of it all? That is why we are here to break it all down and give you a review of it all.
It's a tale as old as time here for Agents Of Mayhem. We're in the near future where an organization of random 'heroes' have been brought together to bring down a terrible organization in the world that is terrorizing everyone and just being real jerks in general. This time they have set their sights on Seoul, South Korea and have set up shop there. M.A.Y.H.E.M., the organization they all work for, can't have that and needs to send out their teams or agents to go handle all of these 'evil' people and stop them from doing 'evil' things. If shit is blown up or destroyed in the process, it is all considered acceptable losses. As long as L.E.G.I.O.N. is stopped along the way…
Given all of the other titles that I have played in the same vein of Agents Of Mayhem and that have been made by Volition, I was expecting there to be a very seamless feel and flow to it all. I knew there would be some loading screens and transitions that needed to be done to make everything work together, but there just seems to be way more than there really should be. In fact, almost every scene transition from gameplay to in-game cinematic to short animatic required a lot more loading time than was necessary. There was even one mission that only took about five minutes to complete in-game, but was drug out to almost twenty minutes between loading screens and animations to deliver information that could have been spoken aloud without breaking the flow of the game. Agents Of Mayhem isn't the most immersive game out there, it wasn't set up to be, but my attention kept getting broken by what felt like needless loading and transitions that could have been handled differently.
Once into the full game and taking on missions, we headed into another aspect of Agents Of Mayhem that seemed to be a bit lacking and that was in the controls of the characters in general. This is a third-person action-adventure game without too many extra bells and whistles, in general, but there seemed to be a weird disconnect with how you control all of it. Not just with specific characters, but with the core controls as well. Switching characters on the fly always seemed to have me fire off one of the special Gremlin devices or the current character's special. Not the biggest of issues, unless the current character was on the verge of death, but it never felt like using the D-Pad was very intuitive in the long run. Even after many hours of playing Agents Of Mayhem, I found myself still mixing up the controls because they just didn't seem to mesh very well. At least in the heat of it all.
The last big issue I had, and that am going to go into for Agents Of Mayhem, is going to sound a bit odd but that fact that the whole world an options were open from the very start of the game seemed to skew the pacing for me. One would think that having an open world from the start would offer up a lot of different gameplay options and not feel like you are being forced along a specific path, but it led to a bit more confusion along the way that feeling like the right way to go. There were side missions that I was completely because they were there and available, but made no sense until a bit later in the core story. There were also side events that had the in-game guide telling me to do something that had yet to be introduced and led to a failure on my part. Granted, this was me deviating from the core path but there never felt like a proper progression in the game here and made things feel a bit less connected and just thrown in to fill up the game's world.
If you've read any of the past coverage for Agents Of Mayhem here, then you may have seen my concerns on Volition trying to grasp onto the nostalgia of the game's theme. I had a feeling that this would be something that I would have hated in general, but it was the perfect blending of Saturday morning cartoons, action heroes, and 'adult' humor mixed in that sucked my attention in and didn't let go. The trailers, at least for me, had it all wrong and this is one of the best aspects of the game. The story, characters, and world suck you back into that time era where you pretended to be the one sending the teams out to save the world, only it has all of the maturity we'd hope you would have to actually buy Agents Of Mayhem. The nail was perfectly hit on the head here and I feel bad that I ever doubted it as it kept making me want to see what would happen next or what was going on instead of just making me roll my eyes.
Continuing from that, Agents Of Mayhem also had a very odd roster of characters here that I thought I'd stick to only a few of during my play. In fact, each was so well crafted and balanced I had troubles trying to figure out which I wanted to have around all the time. The only true solution was to go in and see which would be best suited for the current mission at hand. This was also something that the game would help out with not by saying anything like 'You need to take X character to continue,' but each agent would have their own little quip or tip to share in the heat of it all and prompt you to make the switch. Sometimes it was even to further their own personal agenda in their story and not just to be there. This was a great way to bring that immersion back in and make me care about the whole game world and the characters involved. It makes me want to see more of each even after the individual stories are all done.
While the core controls for Agents Of Mayhem gave me issues and felt out of place, the specifics for each of the agents flowed much better and kept the pacing right. That and once you switched, the individual hero's abilities and attacks seemed to flow right back in in a very organic way so you didn't have to pause to "relearn" what to do real quick. This isn't always the case in games that let you take a squad out with you and actively switch between them. More so when each is vastly different. But, for instance, when I would take Hardtack, Fortune, and Hollywood out, even though they had vastly different gameplay feels and moves there was never a stutter for me between them. The only time there would be is if I mixed up who I was bringing into the fight and then that was more on me and not on how the transition between them all flowed. This is an amazing feat to have done in such a high-paced title like Agents Of Mayhem indeed.
Agents Of Mayhem looks and sounds like a title that will be very niche right from the start. I won't deny that as that is how it all looked to me from the start as well. It does suffer from some odd controls and the need to constantly load things that don't need to be loaded up, but once you get past that there is rich and interesting story to be had. Not only that, but each of the agents have their own fleshed out aspect to it all that turns this open world action-adventure into a truly fun experience. Mix in all of that nostalgia that Deep Silver was aiming for, you will find yourself losing many hours and days to make sure you see everything in the game. I would fully recommend picking up Agents Of Mayhem if any of it looks to fit your wants and needs for a game. I had a blast playing it and can't wait to get back in and go down all of the paths I missed or should have gone down earlier to make sense of things later on.
I give Agents Of Mayhem 106 Crystal Shards on the Crystal Shard scale.
Agents Of Mayhem — Launch Trailer
Agents Of Mayhem was developed by Volition and published by Deep Silver for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on August 15th, 2017. A digital PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.