Creation can be challenging on its own, but when you have reached the natural conclusion of your existing acclaimed design, it can be increasingly hard to go back to square one. It is best to take what you’ve learned and to throw it into something new. In 2017, the minds behind Saints Row went bolder with an almost entirely roster and an entirely new scope in the excitingly titled Agents of Mayhem.
In the futuristic metropolis of Seoul, South Korea, the evil Dr Babylon, and his cohorts are threatening the earth. Persephone Brimstone sends in a select group of personalities to thwart him and his underlings. This group, called the Agents of Mayhem is a global operation of personalities, each affected by a global terrorist incident known as Devils Night. You control a fire team of three agents at a time, patrolling Seoul, unlock agents and gadgets for the goal of showing evil forces of Legion the true meaning of Mayhem.
Trying to emulate the feeling of shows like G.I. Joe, Agents of Mayhem is a third-person open-world shooter with its tongue firmly in its cheek. In keeping with the style, the game is inundated with animated cutscenes, but with all the blood, swearing, and stylish animation, it reminds me of Netflix’s Castlevania, as both manage to have an adult-oriented spin on childlike concepts. A game like Agents is only as good as the personalities of the Agents themselves. As you grow and unlock your roster, the personalities (and gameplay abilities) of them and your support staff become apparent. For instance, the British handler, Friday is one, but unfortunately, she is unavailable for fieldwork. I spent a lot of my time with the likes of Braddock, whose Mayhem Ability sends powerful energy beams from the sky, and Yeti, who can freeze enemies solid. The personality of these heroes comes into through colourful dialogue throughout a mission, and “special episodes” that give a solo look at them and their back story. The writing is mostly solid enough to make these excursions enjoyable.
Seoul may be small, but it packs a lot of activities to help level up your favourite agents. Taking on gargantuan golems, destroying hate beam, rescuing hostages from bombs, and layers of randomly generated enemy bases to vanquish. The missions themselves involve a similar with an even more colourful underboss. Fighting a grief-stricken-K-pop-artificial-popstar is just one of the many highlights from the campaign. You also must keep a sharp eye out for loot boxes, that can reward you with crafting material, and a surplus of skins for weapons, cars, and costumes. Also scattered are Upgrade Cores, red gems that permanently upgrade your agents, and you get skill points on each agent’s level upgrade. These upgrades and personalisations allow you to tailor your agents to suit your play style.
Agents of Mayhem throws everything into making sure its new property stands firmly, it allows the zany endearing humour of Saints Row to reach a new medium, that feels unique but right at home in invoking Saturday morning cartoons. While fun on its own, Agents is a stunning proof of concept and I can see many adventures in the future, as the ragtag crew grows on you. Proving what countless heroes must have known for some time, saving the world can be fun.
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