I loved what Saints Row IV did, despite it venturing far from the original Saints Row formula. If you look past the strange left turn that Saints Row IV took, you can appreciate the fact that Volition effectively created one of the most fun superhero centric video games in recent times. I was delighted to hear that Volition would be following up with this new formula by taking the superhero theme and running wild with it, and the best part about it is that they’ve still managed to tie Agents of Mayhem into the Saints Row universe that we already love.
That first reveal trailer had me mega excited to meet with Volition at E3 and get hands-on with the game. Before playing, the developers showed another trailer and talked a little about the direction of Agents of Mayhem. They weren’t at all hesitant to admit that the game takes many cues from comic books, movies, cartoons and other pop culture. This is what I appreciate about the approach to Agents of Mayhem (and the Saints universe), the fact that even the studio doesn’t take it too seriously. Volition clearly has just as much fun creating these games as we do playing them.
We then got to play a full mission, which allowed us to choose up to three different characters, all with their own skill set. The final game will boast twelve characters, but this demo presented us with four total characters to pick from. The characters themselves are straight out of a cartoon, and are well tailored for puns and witty one-liners. There was Hollywood, the wannabe actor; Fortune, a cool duel-wielding lady; Hardtack the heavy shotgun toting brother and Rama, a middle-eastern long-ranged assassin. I chose to go with Hollywood, Hardtack and Rama as the Volition developers advised to go with a balanced team.
The mission was to save a K-pop celebrity named Aisha, who’s been ‘kidnapped’ by a Lieutenant of LEGION. LEGION is the evil organization in the game, and the Agents of Mayhem pretty much dedicate their entire existence on taking them down. It seems like a straight forward objective, but this wouldn’t truly be a Saints game if there wasn’t some wacky plot twist involved. Aisha actually ends up falling in love with the evil Lieutenant, and then it’s up to you to object at their wedding and save her from his evil clutches.
Through the course of the mission you’re updated via radio by a quirky operator named Friday and you’ll hear lots of back and forth banter between her and whichever agent you have selected. Switching between agents is fast and it can be done any time on the fly, allowing you to switch up as the situation changes. When I found myself in large open spaces with distant enemies, I switched to Rama to pick them off from long range with her bow. When I was in tight areas with enemies trying to rush me, I switched to Hardtack for his shotgun. I actually switched to Hollywood simply to hear his banter, as he’s clearly one of the standout characters when it comes to humor.
The action is fast and intuitive, and surprisingly very vertical. There were a few parts of the mission that required platforming and movement based progression. This is where you’ll find the most distinct differences between the characters, as they all have their own movement and jumping characteristics. It makes me eager to try some of the other agents they have in the game, and I wonder if we’ll get Superman like flying abilities.
Ultimately, Agents of Mayhem was one of my standout games of E3 2016, and I’m now eagerly waiting its release. If you’re looking for a silly game that will provide hours of enjoyment, then Agents of Mayhem seems destined to fill that void. There’s no word of co-op or multiplayer play yet, but all this game needs is a co-op mode to make buying it a no-brainier.
They don’t make mature cartoons like they used to, but equipped with its Overwatch like visuals, Agents of Mayhem will strike a nice balance between fun gameplay and over-the-top mature humor when it lands sometime in 2017. It will be available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms.