Agents of Mayhem would of probably been a mediocre game 10 years ago. But in 2017 it’s just shit.
It’s impossible not to compare the game made by the creators of Saints Row, to other open world masterpieces, and it doesn’t come close to stacking up. Agents is like the cheap dollar store version of games like Crackdown, GTA or even Saints Row, which is already a shitty dollar store version of other open world games.
So in the game you play as these Agents that have to fight these robots called the Legion. You drive around a futuristic version of Seoul, South Korea doing basically the exact same mission over and over again. First you fight these shitty robot enemies above ground. Then you hit some switch and go into an underground part, which looks almost exactly the same every time save for a few details, and fight those damn shitty robots there.
There’s 12 agents to choose from, and you pick three at a time for your squad. However, you only play as the agents individually and can switch out at any time, allowing your other squad members to heal. This makes the game very easy and almost impossible to die. There’s no team combat, so there’s no real incentive to find any synergy between your squad members skills. You just pick a dude that does high damage and someone with a bunch of health if things get hairy.
As for the agents themselves, most of them are super bland. About half just have a machine gun and throw a grenade as their special attack. Even the interesting ones like Daisy, the large, busty Midwestern rolly derby lady with a minigun, aren’t that fun to play. You end up just standing there unloading on these robots heads while their health slowly drains from an onslaught of minigun ammo. The combat isn’t fast-paced or badass, just tedious.
It’s impossible not to compare the agents to Overwatch characters even though it’s an entirely different genre of games. Like in Overwatch the characters have a gun and two specials, but in Agents none of them feel like they have a particularly effective skill set. The ice character in Agents takes forever to freeze someone and get a kill, ninja class isn’t particularly fast or mobile.
The city itself looks nice, but there’s basically nothing to do. They added a few racing side quests along with the repetitive main quests, but there’s no incentive to explore the city. Even killing civilians is pretty dumb in this game. You have to kill a lot of innocents before Legion, the bad guys, arrive. The fact that your enemies are the only ones protecting civilians from your own brutal, impulsive rampages puts doubt into the morality of your own dumb mission, which is poorly explained. Even when Legion arrives from committing crimes, it never turns into a cool police chase like in GTA or Saints Row, just another lame robot battle that’s the heart of every quest in the game.
(Editor’s note: The apparently procedurally generated enemy base missions are perhaps the worst part about the game, adding to the repetitive, stale feel.)
The people and cars in the city are so dumb. The civilians can barely muster up the AI to run away from you when you shoot them. The cars on the road behave like ants in an ant colony, robotically moving on a track, with none of the human-like shortcomings of drivers you’d see in GTA. But the real problem is, there is just not that many people and cars to begin with.
Agents offers some customization to the heroes, but nothing that fundamentally changes how they play. Most of the upgrades simply change the damage types of their grenades, or buffs them with a passive ability. You’re constantly getting money in the game, but there’s not even that much to spend it on. Just team upgrades and other hero customizables.
I can’t say I never had fun playing this game. Once my mind accepted the completing the game for review purposes, it was able to shut down most of its critical faculties. This allowed for a kind of mindless, peaceful grind that took me back to the early 2000s when I would play hack and slash dungeon crawlers for hours pressing only one button. But looking back I would rather have played in almost any other open world. .
Agents just has too much competition from world class open world games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, GTA and The Witcher to make it worth the $60 price tag. Unless of course, you have 20 hours to kill and would rather not bust a brain cell while shooting robots in East Asia.
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review.