+ Excellent character design. Each plays differently, and has unique skills. + Good cast of agents. Ever wanted to wreak havoc as a furious German football fan? Or as an ice giant, complete with ice-ray-gun? Plenty of variety, and each has their own series of short side-quests to provide some back-story. + Stylized comics function in place of cutscenes. Works well, gives the narrative a unique feel. + Cars handle well. One of the few games where completing the driving activities is a genuine pleasure (even with a keyboard & mouse). + Good voice-acting. + Unlimited ammo. + Fifteen difficulty levels. Going out with a less-experienced squad? Set the difficulty to Level 3 or 6. Taking your best crew? Raise the difficulty to 9 or 12. Agents that are recruited later in the game never feel left behind. + Rebindable controls.
+/- Deliberate B-movie-style story that is occasionally funny and progresses at a good pace. Best enjoyed as a series of small tales rather than one over-arching adventure. Lacks a main character to anchor the story, which makes it feel random and sometimes pointless. Main villain is a cardboard stereotype. +/- An alternative-universe Saints Row. Agent Kingpin is Pierce. Agent Yeti is Oleg. References are everywhere, but instead of appreciating them I was either left nostalgic or annoyed (naming a k-pop AI boss "Aisha"? Insulting. Saints Row fans will know). It even sounds like the cars' audio is directly copied from Saints Row 3.
- No multiplayer of any sort. The roster of agents and arcade activities in the open world scream "co-op mode!" (rather like in the Saints Row games). But nope.
- Graphics disappoint. Textures look low-res (even maxed), smoke looks odd, and jaggy edges are everywhere - even with both forms of in-game anti-aliasing enabled (which blurs the image to an absurd degree).
- Performance is bad, with frame-drops everywhere. I suspect this is due to the non-adjustable draw distance (Batman: Arkham Knight also had this issue). The game is demanding to run even on lower settings. At 1080p Medium, I saw frame-dips to 27fps on my RX 470, though most of the time frame-rate was between 50-65fps.
- No aerial vehicles.
- No way to easily scale buildings. All platforming challenges.
- All the leaps and acrobatics, yet Agent Yeti is the only character with a ground-pound? Missed opportunity.
- No loadout customization. Hollywood will always carry his assault rifle, Fortune her dual pistols.
- No visual customization (aside from the included and DLC skins) - of neither characters nor cars.
- Only possible to have one profile. Want to start a new playthrough? The only option is to completely delete your old saves (there is an option to do this in the main menu).
- Checkpoint saving only. Returning to the mothership saves automatically, so it's not quite as restrictive as it sounds, but still annoying.
- Key missions revolve around entering enemy "lairs," getting some intel or gear, then leaving. There was an opportunity to craft futuristic fps-dungeon-crawler hybrid levels, but the effort falls apart because the same "lair" level is re-used over and over (at least 25 times, and I didn't even complete all of the lairs).
- Regenerating activities. Take an outpost, and a timer appears. Legion will retake it when the countdown reaches zero. There's no battle, there's no fight. It's just automatically theirs again. So you have to go retake it. This continues ad infinitum. Upon completing a side-activity, the icon does not change color or disappear, so you have no way of knowing which activities you completed and which ones you did not. Every so often "doomsday devices" will spawn in the city; all have the same pattern to defeat them. An obvious attempt to extend playtime without adding actual new content.
Agents of Mayhem feels like Volition was pressured with some major budget restraints in development. Either that, or this game is simply the product of a cheap, lazy effort. I don't want to think either is true, but given the lack of interesting things to do, and the constantly re-used assets, I'm left with only those choices. The final boss battle (whose absurdity is only equaled by the trite over-acting of the villain himself) leaves a horrible final impression of what had been a bland, average experience. Sandbox collectible-hunters will love it for a while, then realize that ANY of the Saints Row games offer far more appealing and varied content, and uninstall Agents of Mayhem. 5/10 I miss Zinyak.