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Agents of Mayhem Review - Agents Assemble

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Agents of Mayhem marks a new direction for the creators behind the Saints Row series. Instead of yet another Saints Row game, Volition Studios have been working on something new and fresh. While the new game is not Saints Row, it does feel like a spiritual successor and is oozing with the same level of humour and personality of the series. 

Agents of Mayhem, for me, was a fantastic experience from start to finish. Although the combat does get a bit tedious, it kind of feels like watching an episode of an adult-themed animated Avengers series whereas the Agents of Mayhem go up against a force of evil known as Legion. This group of baddies will stop at nothing to execute all their nasty plans.

The Agents versus Legion felt like a classic hero versus villain mix up and I could not put the game down as I discovered just how far the root of evil stemmed throughout the game. Each new chapter had a new villain to face and you could go about it with any set of Mayhem Agents at your disposal. 

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There are twelve agents in total in the game and each of them is as fun as the last to play and use as you battle the minions of Legion. Each agent feels very different from the last and has a unique set of skills and a ridiculous personality to discover along the way. I loved every single character in the game and each of them, as shallow as they come across, have their own backstory and unique set of missions that are related to their past and why they are with the organization today. Hollywood, the most handsome of all, used to be a star until he botched up a stunt and it ruined his career. Now his pretty face is Mayhem's face as he is the spokesperson for the organization.

But the Agent's pasts are not the end of the discovery in the game as throughout the experience you learn more about them. It was the sheer amount of love put into the dialogue that made me turn up the volume, close my laptop from watching Rick and Morty, and leave the chat party I was in. The Agents in the game are the star of the show and throughout the experience, their one-liners and cheesy remarks were hilarious and had me in stitches.

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Rama's quest to find a cure for the plague that has gripped her home country of India has her acting like a complete bitch towards everyone in the game. Yeti's cliche Russian accent is a joy to listen to as he tries to fit into the world around him. My favourite agent, if you have not guessed, is Hollywood who is just so arrogant that you have to love his stupidity. He proves that he has the looks but no brain, and I love him for that. 

That is Agent Mayhem to you!

Besides the unique personalities of each agent, their abilities also offer different ways to play the game. While most of them revolve around the same point and shoot, their guns, accuracy, and overall movement of the characters vary depending on who you are playing as. Rama has a bow that deals a large amount of damage when you hold down the trigger, Yeti's gun freezes over time, which then relies on you to perform a melee attack that shoots out a large wave of ice to break the build up on the gun. 

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Every new agent managed to deliver an exciting combat approach to the game, and with their unique skills, this made the gunplay even more intense. Each agent has a basic skill and a Mayhem Ability, which acts as their ultimate attack and can only be used after it is built up by killing things, or by picking up a Mayhem emblem that falls in battle.

These skills range from Hollywood's thrust grenade ability to Rama being able to shoot an explosive arrow and detonate it damaging a group of enemies. Then we have the Mayhem ability which honestly is a hit or miss for most agents. Some of these ultimate attacks are great and others feel like an underutilized feature. 

Hollywood's Mayhem Ability, for example, sees him slow down time and deal higher damage to enemies, but it almost feels like there could have been a more exciting way to use this ability. Yeti freezes an area around him, in turn freezing enemies at the same time. Rama poisons an enemy which then explodes in a cloud of green smoke and damages all enemies around it. 

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Some of these abilities are cool to use, but some agents just fell flat for me. At times I never even used the ability when it was ready, rather I made use of the secondary skill and the gun or weapon at hand. Abilities can be modified by collecting new gadgets in the game. These change the ability effect, and sometimes even the damage of the skill. They provide exciting ways to customize each agent to your play style and after a while, I had my dream team at hand to enter new missions with. Agent Fortune, for example, threw a grenade that dealt standard damage and after I equipped a gadget to this skill, the grenade slowed down enemies in an area and gave her haste when she entered it. 

Go-Go Gadget Mayhem

Gadgets are just another way Agents of Mayhem makes each agent unique and also customizable to the way you want to play it. While the gadgets are not a tremendous change, they still offer a refreshing change if you are getting bored of each agent. Combat in the game is exhilarating as you run around, triple jump, dash left and right, and utilize every skill, weapon, and mayhem ability to defeat the enemies ahead. The only issue I had is that there is not much more to it than that. Missions all revolve around the same mechanic. Shoot and kill enemies, hack a computer and run away. There is simply one layer to the missions and don't expect anything else here. 

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Still, with the combat being so awesome due to the sheer amount of agents and their abilities, I enjoyed myself and the fast-paced approach. Enemies at least offer variety in the game as they have different difficulties and tiers which challenge you as a player. Brutes have a shield and while any agent can take them down, it is faster to choose an agent with a shield-piercing buff. Each agent does have a specific advantage to certain enemies, which makes matching them to a specific mission all the more fun.

Agents of Mayhem is set in an open world of Seoul. Unfortunately, the city, while being expensive and looking very futuristic, has nothing much going for it. Sure there are boxes to open and a few side missions that let you run through time gates and improve your platforming and driving abilities, but the city just feels overall dead. While I was not on the main mission, I was clearing an outpost of Legion to upgrade my agency rank or saving a civilian from a bomb. There was just nothing "wow' to draw me into doing an objective in the city over taking on a new agent's mission or main mission in the game. 

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Then we have the Agency Headquarters known as the Ark, which acts as the hub for all things Agents of Mayhem. It is here where you build new weapons to take with you, undergo timed excursions which reward you with new materials to build these weapons or just take on the training room's challenges that put your skills to the test. The Ark for me was basically just an excuse to go back in order to change my agents to another three. I found that the offerings inside simply made no major impact that forced me to go back after every main mission.

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Agents of Mayhem is a fantastic action adventure that sometimes falls short due to its tedious combat. However, its stellar cast of characters allowed me to mix up this combat every now and then to bring it back to life. It could have done with another layer of paint when it comes to its open world, but it does succeed in a great story and forcing you to love 12 unique personalities and their fantastic variations in combat and movement. 

Don't feel like reading. Take a look at my video review below. 

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed on: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 15 August 2017 | RRP: R1069

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"Every new agent managed to deliver an exciting combat approach to the game"

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