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Agents of Mayhem (Xbox)

A spiritual successor to Saints Row, Agents of Mayhem (AoM) is an open-world, third-person action game. Developed by Volition, Agents of Mayhem is available on PC (£39.99); PS4 and Xbox One (both £49.99) worldwide now!

Set in Seoul, South Korea, you are an agent working for Persephone Brimstone's 'Mayhem'. Your rivals are 'Legion' and they are trying to take over the world. It is down to you to stop that from happening!

You begin with a tutorial style operation to ease you in to the workings of the game. You need to get each of the squad members to the rendezvous point whilst defeating the Legion enemies you come across in order to get to Dr Babylon. The squad is made up of three agents:

⦁ Hollywood - aka Rod Stone. He uses an assault rifle and fires grenades from what honestly looks like his crotch!
⦁ Hardtack - aka Ishmael Funderburke. He uses a shotgun and uses a tele-harpoon to drag his enemies in front of him before blasting them with his gun!
⦁ Fortune - aka Marina Santos. She dual wields fast firing pistols and can shoot out a ball of energy towards enemies dealing damage over a large area.

There are a total of 12 agents and you can recruit whichever 3 you like best into your squad. You can also send the inactive agents on missions to explore conflicted locations around the world which earns you cash and other rewards. Switching between your squad agents is so easy (just tap left or right on the D-pad); I have been able to change between them seamlessly (even with very little health remaining). Whilst inactive, the other agents will regenerate health so that they are ready to return to combat when you next need them.

AoM has RPG elements, once you have gone back to the ARK (your HQ) you are able to upgrade your abilities; permanently improve your agents with Upgrade Cores; craft buffs and unlock gadgets upon successfully completing missions.
There are crystal fragments and loot crates scattered around the world and within Legion lairs; filled with cash, crafting materials and blueprints.
You have health and shield bars clearly displayed for you to keep track of your situation; alongside your rage meter; your squad members and any buffs or abilities that are ready to be used.

All of the weapons and abilities are unique to each agent and I think really reflect their personalities. You will easily be able to find the right combination of fire types for your play style as there is so much variety!
Each agent also has an 'ultimate' move which is available to use once you have filled your Mayhem Ability bar; by killing and causing... well, Mayhem. My particular favourite has to be Fortune's "Stunning Glory." I really love the music (clearly reflecting her Brazilian roots) and Glory (her drone) continuously firing out blasts; stunning the enemies around you, it really is an adrenaline fuelled, satisfying addition to combat.

I have found the combat in AoM to be superb; there is aim assist so even if you're not the best precision shooter in the world, you will be able to play this without much effort at all. You can triple jump and dash to your hearts content; it certainly helps to get you out of trouble! The sounds of the guns; the sight of your bullets firing; explosions; your buffs being activated and enemies dropping to the floor all lead to an enthralling experience.

Your active squad levels up together after each Legion operation even if you decided to use only one of the characters.
There are also special agent operations available which allow you to really get to know the characters. Something I noticed is that all of the characters are very personable; I have actually grown really fond of them. They are voiced really well and I love how their voices adapt to their surroundings; you can tell that real effort has been put in. To fully appreciate the quality of the game's sounds I highly recommend playing with a headset on (if you have one).

Unfortunately, I have experienced a game crash which sent me back to the Xbox dashboard as well as seemingly getting stuck on the spot requiring a restart of the game. Thankfully both times I had just finished a mission so no loss of progress.
I did have to repeat one of the early Legion Operations a few times as I would reach what should have been the final part and the progress wouldn't update to allow me to continue. Third time was a charm and the mission progress finally updated, allowing me to continue; clearer visual indicators could have definitely helped me! I have experienced failure to update my progression in open world tasks, too. Namely when trying to take over a Legion outpost; upon hacking the terminal; progress didn't update and I had to start over again. Yes it is pretty irritating (considering the amount of time you put in to these tasks) and hopefully it is something they can fix in a patch.
Sadly, I couldn't find any forums to see if there were any others experiencing the same issues or find any solutions.

I have enjoyed playing through the story episodes and really loved the cartoon cut scenes; they are colourfully captivating and funny.  As with previous games by Volition, a great sense of humour shines through at all times. The language used throughout is definitely unsuitable for any children around so maybe wait until the kids are in bed before you play (unless you like the idea of a toddler swearing at you) or turn off the subtitles and use a headset!

Along with Legion Operations there are Agent Operations; Legion Occupation; Tasks and Contracts; I really like the contracts, the ability to join other Xbox live players to complete the objectives is a real bonus, for me.
I do feel that there could have been more to do around the world (other than collecting shards) to give me a reason to explore properly. As it stands, I have found myself going from operation to operation without really feeling much compulsion to stick around and shoot the enemies.
On the occasions where I do find myself in 'open world' combat, the rage meter at the top of the screen gradually fills up to the maximum "Extreme Malice" and you will encounter a mini boss-like enemy.
AoM is a singleplayer game and I'm actually glad it is. If it had been co-op I fear that the quality of something else could have been sacrificed, downgrading the overall experience and enjoyment of the game. 
To be honest, the ability to switch between agents almost makes it feel like you are playing with others. You are always receiving contact from the base agent's, mainly Friday (Persephone's assistant and coordinator of all operations), so you're never alone for long.

If you ever get tired of jumping and dashing around the world you are able to drive. You can unlock different types of vehicles along with plenty of blueprints to customise them. I have found the driving so enjoyable and the vehicle AI is a wonderful addition. You can boost and drift around corners, squashing any Legion enemies you manage to find; even at full speed, there has been no sign of any framerate issues.

Agents of Mayhem has 49 achievements available for 1,000 Gamerscore. The achievement art looks absolutely fantastic and if you have a moment I would definitely recommend checking it out. There is a wide range of achievements to unlock which I am a big fan of. Aside from story related ones, the achievements will ensure you experience absolutely everything the game has to offer. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievments where you will find plenty of helpful information!

Overall, I have absolutely adored playing AoM. It is easy to spend a whole day absorbed when playing. If I had to give it a score, it would be 8/10. Any issues I've had have already been mentioned and will hopefully be resolved relatively quickly. If you haven't already started playing this then you really are missing out!

A game code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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