Agents of Mayhem
Volition recently announced Agents of Mayhem, its open-world superhero title set in the Saints Row Universe. I got some hands-on time with the third-person shooter, and I’m ready to brief you on the biggest takeaways from its silly and explosive action.
It’s Set In The Saints Row Universe, But Don’t Expect Another Saints Row Game
It’s hard not to notice the Saints Row references in Agents of Mayhem, from the gang’s fleur-de-lis symbol to its purple coloring. That doesn’t mean that it’s another entry in that series. Volition’s Anoop Shekar says that the game is based on one of the possible endings from Saints Row: Gat Outta Hell, where Johnny Gat essentially rebuilds Earth and resets the timeline. You’re not in Stilwater, either. The action in Agents of Mayhem is set in a near-future Seoul, South Korea, filled with friendly androids and other bleeding-edge tech.
You’ll Accumulate A Roster Of A Dozen Agents
Players play as members of the Mayhem organization, a group that’s been coordinated to thwart the evil villains, a group called Legion. As they progress through the campaign, they’ll unlock additional characters, wrapping up the story with a dozen different heroes. You can take a squad of three of these characters out at a time, and coordinating teams based on their relative strengths and weaknesses is key. The demo featured four heroes: the Burly Navy SEAL, Hardtack; sky pirate Fortune; archer assassin Rama; and action-hero style frontman Hollywood. Each has their own upgrade options, both in terms of equipment and their abilities.
Expect Silliness, But Not Necessarily Saints Row Levels Of Vulgarity
In the demo, I battled against a villain named Steeltoe, who was trying to turn a powerful A.I. to the dark side. The A.I., Aisha, was also a K-pop superstar, and our eventual battle featured a choreographed song and dance routine, complete with plenty of posing (and a light show with heart projections). The tone extends to the characters, too. When Hollywood activates his special Mayhem attack, he slides on sunglasses before the screen fills with action-movie caliber explosions. There’s a well-placed F-bomb in the game’s announcement trailer, but the demo was generally pretty tame stuff. Considering how off-the-rails the Saints Row games got over the years, it was a nice change of pace. That doesn’t rule out some rough-stuff humor, obviously, with this being a demo, but overall the tone seems much lighter and less graphic.
Volition Wants You To Come Back For More
When I infiltrated Steeltoe’s lair, I explored a fairly typical corridor-and-room layout. After the demo, I learned that what I saw was being procedurally generated. Volition wants players to have an incentive to replay levels, since that’s one of the ways they’ll be able to upgrade all of the agents. Shekar says that players will likely have a third of the roster maxed out when they beat the game, but the goal is to give them new layouts when they go back to explore villain lairs and other repeatable locations and missions.
..But Don’t Worry About Bringing A Friend
You can swap between your three agents on the fly, giving characters a chance to recover health, or substituting characters who are better suited for particular situations. While Volition’s previous games have incorporated co-op, Agents of Mayhem is a solo outing. The team didn’t want players to feel like they were missing out on anything if they weren’t able to wrangle up a partner.
Look for Agents of Mayhem on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2017.