Monday, October 9, 2017

Niceties rescinded

I can now confirm that my early tepid praise of Agents of Mayhem was misplaced. The game showed all that it had in the first five hours and that is being generous. Because it is Monday and I am feeling a bit bitchy I will now catalog its failing in excruciating detail.

The city is esthetically boring and uniform. I am not a fan of the GTA series, having started and not finished most of them thanks to shoddy driving and shooting controls, but even from that limited exposure it is obvious that the cities are laid out like cities, just in miniature. There are recognizable neighborhoods and districts. It is possible to tell where you are just by looking at the architecture. Agents of Mayhem suffers from homogenous apathy of design. The city looks like rejected Tron 2.0 storyboards and every area looks the same. It is not exciting or even interesting to explore, so I didn't.

I suppose I will admit that the driving works, but that too is boring, with different vehicles behaving more or less the same, the only variety being cosmetic skins obtained randomly from chests and side missions.

Side missions is not accurate. Side errands? Distractions? Padding? All enemy hideouts look the same and are completed the same way. Enemy bases are interesting to take over the first time but at the halfway point everything you have obtained is undone and if you bother to retake any of the bases they just revert back to enemy control a few minutes later. This is the game's idea of depth: to force the player to replay identical sections, the only reward being crafting materials and pointless skins.

Crafting is used to duplicate captured enemy abilities that are then assigned as mods to other agent skills. Not a bad idea but unlocking the enemy skills means running agents through the same hideouts over and over. These skills become more important at higher difficulty levels but the game idea of difficulty is just making enemies bullet sponges.

I got bored. Soooooo bored. The attempts at humor were not enough to keep me interested and once I leveled one team up to their cap I had no desire to switch them out. But I still need to finish the game...

There is one point that I must give Agents of Mayhem: it automatically adjusts the difficulty level as your team gains strength. These keeps you from feeling overpowered. If the game were better I would have enjoyed this. Instead it offered up a way to bull my way through to the end by setting the difficulty back down to almost default levels, allowing me to one shot most enemies.

One more night and I will move on. I am paying for so any good games in a row, now, and the next one on the list is just as bad, if not worse.

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