Think back to when you were a child browsing the toy aisle at your local department store. Odds are, some toys seemed unattainable, whether it was that they were too expensive or always sold out. The Generic Buff Guy with a cape toy was available, but let's be honest, he’ll end up at the bottom of your toy box or be eaten by your dog. It’s not that there’s no value with Super Generic Man — but it’s clear he’s not top tier material. In my time with Agents of Mayhem, all I could think about was how this is a game my aunt would buy me for Christmas because Grand Theft Auto 5 was sold out.
A spinoff of the popular Saints Row series, Agents of Mayhem is a third person open-world game that takes place in future Seoul, South Korea. As you progress, you unlock 12 secret agents all with diverse looks and abilities including a Yeti, a sky pirate, an immunologist, and a pretty-boy Hollywood actor. The agents are part of the organization M.A.Y.H.E.M. (Multinational Agency Hunting Evil Masterminds), whose goal is to stop the evil organization L.E.G.I.O.N. (the League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations).
It’s obvious much of the game’s inspiration stems from 80’s Saturday morning cartoons. Its cut-scenes feature a gorgeous art style that could easily be converted into a TV show. The confusing aspect about that was the character’s dialogue didn’t compliment its visuals. I felt like I was in a G.I. Joe episode while listening to middle school students quoting memes and it simply isn’t funny, nor creative. One character even takes a selfie if you let him stand in one place long enough. Never has a game’s dialogue made me want to stop playing, but this game did exactly that multiple times.
The gameplay isn’t awful, but it’s not nearly good enough to salvage its many faults. Its open world feels bland and lifeless when exploring the streets and buildings. As I progressed with upgrading agents, I began to realize that the gameplay loop was: going to x-destination, hack an access point, protect it from waves of enemies for a few seconds, and repeat the same motions every time with each part.
The shooting mechanics are polished and the driving is slick, but none of the game’s objectives warranted me to keep progressing until the end. Agents of Mayhem missed out on a great opportunity to add something unique to the open-world gaming genre that’s become crowded in recent years. This is not a Saturday morning cartoon worth waking up early for.