Agents of Mayhem Preview: Extra, Extra
Kalvin Martinez / Jul 5th, 2017 No Comments
Volition is a developer synonymous with quality and being completely, utterly extra. Agents of Mayhem is its latest exercise in over-the-top action.
The game takes place after the ending of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell. Much like its spiritual (or close enough) predecessor, Agents of Mayhem doesn’t trade in subtleties. It goes right for the headshot or whatever equivalent there is with a Gatling gun.
At E3 2017, we got an opportunity to try out a mission where we hunted down one of the major players in LEGION (The League of Evil Gentleman Intent On Obliterating Nations). In the short time we spent with Agents of Mayhem, it left a big impression.
Never Stop Never Stopping
As an Agent of Mayhem, it is your duty to take down LEGION and its lieutenants, who are generally bad dudes. One of those bad dudes is a Gaunt, a flamboyant, Puck-ish pop star who also happens to be one of the most punchable super douches you’ll ever encounter.
From the very introduction of Gaunt, you’ll want to do horrible, unspeakable things to him. He is an arrogant, self-aggrandizing megalomaniac that is basically a walking emoji. It is going to be very satisfying to take him down and ruin his empire of gaudy opulence.
Gaunt is up to something and it is up to your team of agents to figure out exactly what it is. In order to do that, however, you’ll need to get his attention.
Teamwork Makes the Moon Beam Work
Before you begin your mission, you can run around M.A.Y.H.E.M. headquarters, the ARK, to customize your different agents with new gear, weapons and upgrades (and much more since the demo only gave us a small taste). Once you’ve gotten your setup together, you speak with the “boss” to engage in your mission.
The ARK is also where you’ll get to pick out what agents you want to take into the mission, and where much of the depth comes into play.
Agents of Mayhem is set up a little different than most squad-based shooters. Sure, you want a good mix of characters — like a heavy with some more squishy “flashy” characters — but you also want to think about how each individual agents’ skills, weapons and special abilities interact with one another.
Think of each agent not as another character, but as a weapon. Switching between characters in missions is seamless, meaning you can go from getting headshots as Oni to zipping around as Fortune to tanking as Daisy in mere seconds.
What this results in is a lot of dynamic gunplay where you can literally switch between characters like you would between pistols, SMGs and a Gatling gun. However, you are also adding into the mix unique abilities like cloaking and specific ultimate attacks like turning into a roller derby turret.
A great example from the demo was using Fortune’s ultimate, which stunned every enemy within her radius, then switching to Oni to clean up with headshots by using his more measured, methodical shooting. This also powered Oni up because he gains strength by executing precision kills.
It is important to figure out new creative combos when embarking on missions. For the Gaunt mission, not only did I figure out that a good offensive balance was necessary, I also learned to make sure that I had a master hacker like Fortune on hand to make the mission easier.
Guns? We Got ‘Em
Wait, you left us hanging! How do you get Gaunt’s attention?
By stealing his favorite supercar, of course. How else do you get one of the biggest pop stars in the world’s attention? Sounds easy, right?
It actually isn’t that hard; not with three world class Agents of Mayhem, especially when one is a master hacker like Fortune. In order to find Gaunt’s favorite car, you’ll have to dig through his warehouse of douche-y exotic cars. Luckily, Fortune narrows it down to three with her ability to bypass the game’s hacking mini-game. Without her, you still could complete the mission, but it’d be more time consuming. All there is to do is hack the right one while fending off hordes of Gaunt’s goons. The combat is hectic, but in a very satisfying way.
Gunning down mobs feels good even with your basic weapon. Combat is open, especially when you consider verticality — you can triple jump in the game. The gameplay opens up in exciting and creative ways once you start switching between team members, using your ultimate skills freely, and unleashing the powerful Gremlin Tech.
Gremlin Tech are special power you can call down at any time (except when cooldown is in effect) that can devastate a massive amount of enemies or augment your character. Some of the Gremlin Tech we tried out allowed us to have an invincible run like we’re Mario taking a superstar, capturing a room full of people in bouncy balls that exploded after a while, taking out enemies with a wrecking ball, and calling down a moon laser strike.
That didn’t even scratch the surface of what the full game will offer, and I can’t wait to see how outlandish some of these powers are.
Once you’ve hacked the right supercar, you have to drive it to a shipping yard where Gaunt is hosting a secret party for his fans. Driving is smooth and feels familiar to anyone who has played Saints Row 3 or 4. When you’re not driving a mission-specific car, you can call it at any time and teleport into it immediately.
When you get to the location, it is guarded and the only way in is through. After you crash the door, you discover what Gaunt’s plan is.
Gaunt is launching his own VR headset that turns anyone who uses it into his slaves. The announcement turns all the Gauntbies into mindless drones who start attacking you along with LEGION grunts. The confined space of the shipping container was a perfect opportunity to try out the different Gremlin Tech and put all the gunplay and strategy of team member switching into play. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing a bad ass derby girl turn into a turret while lighting up a strobelit club with a storm of bullets.
Summer Time Close Out
If this small bit of Agents of Mayhem is any indication of what the final game will be, we’re in for a fun time. There is a ton of depth we couldn’t begin to try in the demo.
Seeing how the 12 agents’ styles work together in missions and how the upgrade system works, trying out the unique solo and crew missions and finding out where the story is going and what kind of havoc players can cause was extremely thrilling.
Agents of Mayhem is so extra, it’s ultra, but we can’t wait for it to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Aug. 15.
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tags: Agents of Mayhem , Agents of Mayhem Preview , deep silver , preview , Saints Row , Volition