Volition Keeps The Humor And Fun In 'Agents of Mayhem'

The developers at Volition are best known for their work on the Saints Row franchise, so when I entered the developers’ demo room at E3, I expected another installment in the series. I was wrong. Instead, I played a new game called Agents of Mayhem, in which I controlled a group of agents charged with taking down an evil organization. The entire thing sounds like a generic comic book plot, but in the hands of Volition, the seemingly bland foundation could be the start of another enjoyable title.

Good Versus Evil

The game takes places in a futuristic version of Seoul, which is considered to be the “most technologically advanced city in the world.” It’s also one of the safe havens for humanity as the evil LEGION (short for "League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations") organization conquered other countries. Now, LEGION wants to build a device that grants unlimited power to itself, but my agents, which are part of a group called MAYHEM (which stands for "Multinational Agency for Hunting Evil Masterminds") are going to stop the villains from accomplishing their goal.

The first step to taking down LEGION was to assemble my team. The game features a total of 12 agents, and my team had to have three characters in the roster. However, the demo had four agents only, so the pickings were slim. For my team, I chose Hardtack, who utilized a shotgun; the dual-gun wielding Fortune; and Hollywood, an actor/soldier whose main weapon was a standard assault rifle.

Aside from their weapons, each character had their own “Mayhem” abilities, or special attacks. Hardtack can deploy mines to prevent enemies from closing in; Fortune can call on a drone to stun enemies; and Hollywood (true to his name) ignites explosions around him that mimic a scene from an action movie. As each character gained a new level, he or she unlocked new abilities and the opportunity to increase their own stats.

Roaming Around Seoul

The objective of the demo was to protect Aisha, an artificial intelligence K-Pop star, from LEGION forces. The first step was to find her exact location, which meant that I had to infiltrate a local LEGION base to get the data.

When I started the game, I initially controlled Fortune. However, I could swap between any of my three agents at any time throughout the game. This meant that I could set up a series of attacks from each character. At one point I entered a small alley full of enemies. I immediately switched to Hardtack so that I could take out the soldiers close to me with the shotgun and melee attacks. However, there were LEGION troops that also attacked me from afar. Once I dealt with the closer enemies, I switched to Hollywood so that I could use his assault rifle to easily take out the further-away group of foes.

Throughout the entire demo, I continued to switch back and forth between the three agents based on the situation at hand. I started with Fortune, who could set up the initial attack, and then summoned Hardtack and Hollywood to clean up the rest of the enemies. It seemed that with this method of switching characters, combat would get repetitive but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, it was reminiscent of the over-the-top, intense firefights from the Saints Row games. However, the main difference between the Saints Row series and this new title is the fact that I had multiple characters to control. That fact alone made for more interesting gameplay. With different abilities and weapons, I could create chaos with any combination of three agents.  

Still Got It

Eventually, I found out that Aisha joined LEGION. In fact, she was going to marry one of the group’s top lieutenants. It’s this type of silly storyline that Volition has been known for in past games, and it’s a relief to know that the studio hasn’t lost its touch of humor. How many games do you know feature a villainous character marrying a computer program? Even the name of the mission, “Press X to Object,” is a funny title, not to mention that it poked fun at the “Press X to Pay Respects” scene from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Unlike Volition’s previous games, Agents of Mayhem is marketed as a type of superhero game with the basic premise of good versus evil masked as the conflict between MAYHEM and LEGION. It even has some “Previously on Agents of Mayhem” cutscenes, which is similar to some cartoon shows. Make no mistake, there are some traits that harken back to the Saints Rowfranchise (after all, it’s part of the same universe), but it's a completely new title and not another sequel or spin-off.

In recent months, games such as Battleborn and Overwatch brought the idea of hero-based gameplay front and center. Agents of Mayhem has the same idea with multiple characters, but with Volition’s humorous take on the story, it’s different enough to stand out from similar titles in the future.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NameAgents of Mayhem
TypeThird-Person, Open-World, Action
PublisherDeep Silver
PlatformsPC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date2017

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Quixit
    Looks like it could be fun.
  • Somasonic
    One of the things I enjoyed most about the Saints Row series was creating my own wacky character to inject into the craziness that is the Saints Row universe. It looks like this is out the window with this game (and I understand why) which is a real shame. Otherwise it looks like a lot of fun and may make it onto my 'must buy' list.