Next week Volition launches Saints Row spin-off Agents of Mayhem, an open-world action adventure featuring a group of super-powered operatives battling an evil organisation bent on world domination. I’ve played five hours of the game, and already there’s a lot to like.
It’s Basically G.I. Joe Meets Overwatch
A multi-national fighting force comprised of women and men with unique powers and personalities facing off against a global terrorist organisation? It’s G.I. Joe versus Cobra all over again, with some cool future tech and much more racy writing. Just look at the PS4 opening splash screen.
On the left, we’ve got some folks ready to fight for freedom wherever there is trouble, though mostly Seoul, Korea, since the game is based there. On the right, a ruthless terrorist organisation determined to rule the world.
On the Overwatch side of things, the agents are designed like characters in a hero shooter. Each has a signature weapon, special abilities and even an ultimate.
My wife really wants to be Daisy. I am not buying her a chain gun. Maybe a gym membership and some roller-skates.
If you’ve ever played a multiplayer-only hero shooter and wished it had an extensive single-player campaign, this is it.
Riding in Cars With Agents of Mayhem
While not technically a Saints Row game (Agents of Mayhem takes place on a world spawned via a specific ending to Saints Row IV’s “Gat Out Of Hell” expansion), jacking cars is still a key mechanic in AoM. What I love is how the characters enter the vehicles they “commandeer.” That is to say, with high-tech style. Check it out.
What tickles the hell out of me here is that all of the agents warp into vehicles with this cool animation, but when it’s time to leave they just open the door and step out.
And the massive Hardtack is definitely shrinking to fit inside the driver’s seat.
The game begins with the player in control of three agents—full-of-himself action star Hollywood, bad-ass shotgunner Hardtack and tech-savvy stunner Fortune. New agents are recruited to the team via special solo missions. These help players get a handle on the new weapons and tactics each new agent brings to the table, while providing valuable backstory via in-mission dialog and awesome animated cutscenes.
I wish every hero shooter did this for its characters. Overwatch has its animated shorts, which are nice, but wouldn’t it be better if those shorts led into playable solo missions? No? Stop comparing the game to Overwatch? Okay.
All agents, even the ones the game starts with, eventually get a couple of spotlight missions that delve into their motivation for joining Mayhem and give us insight into their character. It’s endeared me to these silly fighting people. They are my friends now.
Meanwhile, Back at HQ
While not tooling around the streets of Seoul, jacking cars and breaking the hearts and bodies of evil men, the agents relax at their expansive headquarters. Here they can craft upgrades, participate in holographic combat exercises, apply skins to weapons, characters and vehicles and upgrade their agency with valuable perks and benefits.
Let me take you on a tour.
It’s nice to have a incredibly expensive hub to call home. Home is where the hub is.
The More You Know
In case the ‘80s cartoon vibe wasn’t palpable enough, heading back to HQ results in a commercial break’s worth bit of sage advice from members of the team.
Maybe not sage advice. I won’t spoil many of these for you. Just the Rama one.
Okay, and this Hollywood one.
Agents of Mayhem arrives next week on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Look for a full review next week. In the meantime, rest assured I am enjoying myself.