A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Agents of Mayhem is a mature action game. It features frequent violence, with guns and explosives used against enemies in the streets of Seoul, Korea, without any repercussions. Blood can be seen when enemies are hit with gunfire. There are lots of sexual comments and some suggestive imagery, including scantily clad women and a scene that parodies a pornographic movie. There are also many drug references and instances where drugs are shown, and frequent, strong use of profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," and more. While it comes with downloadable content (DLC), more is scheduled to be released in the future.
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What's it about?
AGENTS OF MAYHEM is an action game influenced by comic books and related superhero movies. It introduces a group of unique and diverse Super Agents called MAYHEM -- which stands for Multinational Agency for Hunting Evil Masterminds -- who are set loose on the city streets of Seoul in the future to save it from the destructive schemes of a nefarious supervillain organization called LEGION: League of Evil Gentlemen Intent on Obliterating Nations. By using weapons, gadgets, and superhuman moves, this zany band of heroes accomplishes various over-the-top missions in a sandbox-like open world. From a roster of a dozen fighters, gamers pick their squad of three highly skilled characters, and can swap between them on the fly. Along with customizing your Super Agents' skills, weapons, gadgets, and vehicles, you can unlock additional characters to control.
Is it any good?
This action game is great in concept, but overall it stumbles in execution. First, the good news. An all-new superhero game is enough to get many gamers excited, and to this game's credit, the fast-paced action sequences, huge cast of diverse characters, and clever use of the environment all give a good first impression. The charming cartoon-like graphics and simple controls also help bolster the game's appeal. But it doesn't take long for the charm to wear off. For one, the constant banter between the superheroes grows tiring after a short while, laden with insults and profanity, as if the developers were trying to impress the gamer. It's excessive, and will cause many an eye roll. Secondly, while the action is fun and frantic, and experimenting with new superhero abilities and weapons is gratifying, the missions themselves grow repetitive after a while (unlike Saints Row or the similar Grand Theft Auto series, both of which offer more variety). Plus, you're expected to zigzag across the city often, even if it doesn't seem to make much sense given your assignment, and some locations, like the underground LEGION hallways, are drab. Third, the game is buggy, including instances of waypoints disappearing, not being able to swap agents during a fight, or getting a person or car stuck in an object.
It's too bad, really, as Agents of Mayhem looked like a refreshingly fun game. Perhaps some of these issues can be fixed, including assorted technical or graphical bugs, while others might be more difficult to fine-tune after the fact, such as mediocre mission objectives. Either way, it's worth waiting a bit before picking up this game (if at all) to see if it gets patched, reduced in price, or both.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Could this game deliver the same experience without the same focus on bullet-fueled mayhem? Could the characters accomplish their goals without causing so much destruction?
Talk about parody. The gameplay here is clearly made to make fun of action movies, but is its cavalier attitude about sex, profanity, drug use, and violence a problem, or simply a joke?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Deep Silver
- Release date: August 15, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.