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Agents of Mayhem Review

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Story:

On the one hand, if you are playing a game meant to be a spiritual successor to the Saints Row franchise, you should not be expecting much of a story. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to expect something coherent and focused, even if it is silly and possessing holes. Before explaining this, remember, I tend to be more critical of the story than the average person.

At a basic level, the story is that you are the Agents of Mayhem who fight the forces of Legion as they try to take over the world, and this is just the latest battle between these two groups. At the beginning of the game that is what is happening, and thanks to seeing what Legion's Dr. Babylon is doing in cutscenes, we know they are trying to collect what is needed for some villainous plan. Without those cutscenes, we are just trying to be a constant thorn in the side of Legion, because they are the bad guys, so interfering with and opposing their plans is what you should be doing. Either way that works fine for the first act of the game when you are directly fighting with Hammersmith, the genius behind Legion's arsenal. The second act, however, seems barely related to the first as now your immediate opponent is August Gaunt, the pop-music icon and significant source of income for Legion.

Like I said, silly is fine for a game like this, but I cannot tell you how we got from Hammersmith to Gaunt. This is just such a different plot thread that I do not understand why we are here now. The setup is now that we are going after Legion's money, and even then it is just the revenue for this one part of Legion as I recall, but that Gaunt has his own nefarious plan. This is what I meant when I suggested a lack of coherence earlier, but there is more to this second act that is a problem to me, and we see it again in the fourth act as well.

We know that Legion are the bad guys and Mayhem are the good guys, but apparently the populous does not. At the end of the first act, a landmark is blasted by Legion's space laser, but when Gaunt makes a video blaming Mayhem and launching a promotional tour, apparently people just believe him. The act does go on to show he is also trying to take control of his fans' brains, but that requires special helmets and not an advertisement. We see this again in the fourth act after you kill one of Legion's lieutenants when another enemy goes on talk shows to blame you. I am sure you did kill the lieutenant, but again he is a bad guy who really has no issue with killing people, so how does this make sense?

 

 

There are a number of references to Devil's Night in the game, which is when Legion revealed its existence to the world by attacking all of the governments in the world, and they were successful in crippling them, too. I am not sure how the global populace would think they are the good guys after this and the death and suffering that occurred that night. They are clearly the villains here, so how are they able to blame anything on Mayhem with any amount of success?

Something else that makes the relationship of Mayhem and Legion with the public odd to me is that the police never get involved. They do exist in Seoul, as robots in fact, but no matter what you or Legion does, it is only the two of you on the streets fighting each other, with civilians sometimes stupidly running in between. Whichever group is seen as the bad guys, the police (or military really) should be out and be trying to stop one or both of us.

Moving on from that point, another issue I have with the story is the lack of presence for Dr. Babylon and the actual leader of Legion, the Morningstar. Morningstar not being present is not really the much an issue on its own, as his absence could be interpreted as contempt for Mayhem. He might just be so powerful (in his view) that to deal with them would be a waste of his time and energy. The only way this works is if the one he leaves Mayhem to, Dr. Babylon, has a dominant and menacing presence, which he does not. He too is lacking in presence, but he is there, especially in the final act, and when he is there, he is really not intimidating. Some of his lieutenants are actually more intimidating to me because they are present and are either dominating or menacing. Sadly this does not pass up to Dr. Babylon, because based on what we do see of him, I fail to consider him a threat. He might have powerful weapons and an army he can lead against me, but I still see him as weak and this translates up to Morningstar. If he just had a dominating presence or a menacing intellect that can constantly find ways to advance his villainy or just turn the taste of your victories sour, he would have been better.

 

 

One last plot-hole I want to mention before moving onto some good points is that a significant issue is made with one of the heroes, Scheherazade, and an item Dr. Babylon stole. Basically, Scheherazade knows a great deal about the multiverse we are now in and is able to heal rifts the use of dark matter energy creates (not a typo, we are dealing with the energy of dark matter apparently) and she eventually is told by Mayhem's leader that Dr. Babylon stole something from another universe for some purpose. Scheherazade is rather displeased that details of this were not shared with her, and I am displeased, too. Of course, it is just some McGuffin, so what it is hardly matters, but why was it stolen does matter and this is never explained. There is also never an attempt to capture it, so while very important, it does not warrant anything more than a conversation apparently.

Okay, now for things I did like about the story, and for that, I think I will start with Scheherazade. I actually like a number of the characters, but she is one of the stronger ones I like, both for story and gameplay. She is a reference to the storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights, the collection of tales that include Aladdin. The game references this by having as part of her character that she tells stories that no one knows how true or false they are. She also will speak to 'the children,' which I am interpreting as a fourth-wall breaking reference to those listening to he story she is telling, because that is what this all is to her; a story to be told. She is mysterious, intelligent, lethal, and can be rather amusing with some of her comments, as well. I kind of wish there were more story missions focused on her, but then that might damage the mystery about her.

 

 

Yeti is another agent I enjoy the character of, but really the one I tried to spend the most time on, so I could hear more of his dialogue, was Johnny Gat. There might have been a lot retconned from Saints Row, but his personality has survived and helped keep things fun. Plus his weapon of choice is a fairly powerful shotgun, so keeping to him was a practical decision, too.

That is about all I have for the story. The agents are interesting, but the plot has a number of holes in that bother me. They might not bother you, but that is a guess you have to make for yourself.




  1. Agents of Mayhem Review - Introduction
  2. Agents of Mayhem Review - Graphics
  3. Agents of Mayhem Review - Story
  4. Agents of Mayhem Review - Gameplay
  5. Agents of Mayhem Review - Additional Gameplay Images
  6. Agents of Mayhem Review - Conclusion
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