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Agents of Mayhem hands-on: Saints Row meets SHIELD

Hayden Dingman | June 29, 2016
Is the Saints Row universe super without the Saints?

More important: None of them won me over in my admittedly brief playtime. Hollywood came closest, with his Johnny Gat-esque antics, but I sort of missed the Saints I’d gotten to know. In fact, I found myself wondering if Volition had done Agents of Mayhem a disservice by linking it in any way to Saints Row. All it does is invite comparisons.

You’ll also notice I’ve so far mentioned quite a bit about shooting and not much about superpowers—for good reason. We’ve yet to see the majority of the roster, but the four characters in our demo were “superheroes” of the Hawkeye/Black Widow persuasion, not the nuke-punching, leap-tall-buildings type we played in Saints Row IV.

So it’s mostly a lot of Saints Row-esque third-person shooting, which isn’t really the best aspect of that series. Characters do have a MAYHEM power, but these function like Ultimates in Overwatch—you charge them up over time and then unleash them.

Agents of Mayhem

MAYHEM powers are awesome when you get them—particularly Hollywood’s, as he calls in an airstrike on his position and turns the area into a Michael Bay-esque explosionfest. But for a game called Agents of Mayhem, the minute-to-minute action feels pretty tame. Definitely more grounded (read: generic) than what I’d expect from the studio that brought me the joys of a dubstep gun and a recliner with built-in rocket launchers.

Bottom line

And so I find myself worried. I miss my dapper English chap from Saints Row and worry a move to pre-constructed characters won’t hold the same weight. The guns are solid but nothing spectacular or creative. The superpowers aren’t very super. And the best aspect of the game—the writing—I saw so little of in my fifteen minute demo that I can’t really comment yet. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say the mission was an instant classic like when we first demoed the opening Saints Row IV in all its presidential glory.

I believe Volition is one of the most talented comedic studios in the modern game industry. If anyone can pull off Agents of Mayhem despite this lackluster first showing, it’s them. But so far, it’s not hooking me.


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