Agents of Mayhem Preview

Build the Best Damn Super Hero Agency in the World!

Agents of Mayhem is comprised of what Volition describes as their “special sauce”—great, open-world third-person, action-adventure gameplay—and that’s exactly what it delivers. I got the chance to play through a few stages and it was a truly enjoyable experience.

As a fan of the Saints Row franchise, I was happy to hear that Volition was making Agents of Mayhem a part of the larger Saints Row universe. However, it exists in a Saints Row universe where the Third Street Saints themselves never existed. Agents of Mayhem takes place in a futuristic Seoul, South Korea, at a time when the city has just rebuilt itself into a high-tech powerhouse.

Anyone who has played even one Saints Row game will automatically pick up on the subtle throwbacks and stylistic similarities to those games as you explore the world and get introduced to new characters and villains. Even the logo for the Super Agents looks similar to the Third Street Saints' gang logo. Although there are many facets of the game that call back to Saints Row games, Agents of Mayhem is very much its own game. One of the most distinct being the Saturday cartoon-style intros to each level that mirror the art style of shows like The Amazing Spiderman or the X-Men, late-'90s stuff.

You will be able to play as three different characters at any given time by creating teams before the start of your mission; by launch, there will be twelve different characters to choose from. While playing you can swap out characters by using the D-pad in order to use each of their abilities as needed. The process of swapping characters is fast and very effective. Volition has always handled character development really well and each hero you use in-game has a personality that shines through in playful banter as you progress through the level.

Speaking with the lead writer, Jason Blair, the genius behind the Keith David storyline in Saints Row IV, I was assured that representation matters, so I’m interested to see what the eight characters we have yet to see will be like. Along with varied character design and well-established personalities, the combat mechanics of the game are very solid. Each character has a unique melee attack, a special attack, a mayhem ability that does super damage, and Gremlin Tech.

Gremlin Tech gives your character powerful abilities over a short period of time that do ridiculous damage and are also themselves, slightly ridiculous. Although it was not accessible in the demo I played, there will be many variations of Gremlin Tech that you can swap out on the fly, adding more variety to how you approach each fight. When playing as Fortune, I activated the Gremlin Tech she had equipped for the demo and it activated Mayhem Star which made my character glow and run ridiculously fast. All enemies I ran into died instantly and it helped clear out a few areas when I was getting cornered.

During the level I played, an A.I. named Aisha had been kidnapped by Steeltoe, a villain working for Legion, the League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations. Along with being the most powerful Artificial Intelligence in existence, she also comprises her very own J-pop band. During the final battle of the level, Aisha, brainwashed by Legion, does a creepy J-Pop dance number and funnels her energy into Steeltoe. So there I was, battling my way through a mini-boss with infectious pop music playing in the background, my character and the villain making quips the whole time.

For those like myself, who are excited about this game, I was also tipped off that one of the five endings of Gat Out of Hell actually connects to the Agents of Mayhem Universe, so it’s definitely worth investigating. Agents of Mayhem will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC when it launches in 2017.