Saints Row spin-off Agents of Mayhem is out. On the surface, Volition Entertainment‘s next open-world action game looks like a major departure from its past work on Saints Row; but at its heart, it’s still all about causing as much chaos as possible with a colorful group of characters. It can be daunting so we’ve got here a few things for you to know before playing.
The First Three Agents Are Among The Game’s Worst
Agents of Mayhem opens with the player in control of Fortune, Hollywood and Hardtack. Don’t get attached. With 12 agents in all (not counting the two DLC characters), the odds of these three remaining in your core group are pretty slim. As great as this combination of energy pistols, assault rifle and shotgun is, there are way cooler characters coming down the line.
The strength of Agents of Mayhem is in its agents, so make it your priority to do all the agent unlock missions you can right away so you can expand the roster. Some of the best are Oni (a hitman with a silence pistol), Yeti (with a Mr. Freeze ice cannon) and Scheherazade (an actual ninja). Trust me when I say that you should not judge the game by these first three heroes, though once you get more upgrades for them, they become a little bit better, Fortune especially.
Build A Balanced Team
Balance out each of your different agents in order to maximize their strengths and weaknesses. Rama the archer, for example, excels at breaking down shielded enemies. Red Card does bonus damage to enemies with armor. Try to keep these bonuses in mind when building your away team. Three characters with bonus damage to shields only tear things up until the enemy wearing hard armor arrives.
You should have a least one tank, Braddock, Daisy, Red Card, Yeti, etc, as the squishy heroes in this game are really squishy and can die in the blink of an eye. You’ll need at least one shield-shredder and one armor-shredder because cutting through those otherwise is a big pain. The other perks heroes have, instant hacking, bonus damage to captains or debuffed enemies, are nice bonuses, but really not required. Get everyone to level ten as soon as you can and then pretty much everyone will be able to blast through either shields or armor as an unlocked passive.
Never Drive A Civilian Car For Any Reason
While you technically can drive any car in the game, trust me when I saw that you’re never, ever going to want to. Use your ability to summon your own agent car and use it exclusively. While your agent car controls pretty well, civilian cars are like putzing around in molasses. There are side missions that have you get into civilian cars and drive them to drop off points while being assaulted by Legion cars. Don’t do them. They’re terrible (car collision physics in this game are awful) and the rewards simply aren’t worth it. Just stick with your own car, preferably something that corners well.
Get The Quick Health Regain Upgrade
These “base” upgrades serve to help you in the game, and as you unlock more heroes and level them, you’ll unlock higher tiers. The most important one out of the entire bunch is the level 14 upgrade that lets your swapped out heroes regain health faster. You will always be swapping out your heroes to heal, and without this, they’ll do so painfully slowly. Out of everything, I found investing in this to be the most useful by a mile.
Lower Your Dash Cooldown ASAP
It’s a tie. Three of the first four level 6 upgrades are all essential. The ability to scan for treasure chests (and scan at a long range) is huge for collecting money, materials, skins and schematics all throughout the game, and you should always be scanning and looking for these things. Lowering your dash cooldown is also necessary as the game feels like it’s broken without it. This upgrade makes it available almost instantly in many cases.
Your Progress Isn’t Being Wiped, It’s Just A Very Stupid Feature
I am guessing you are going to run into the same thing I did with Agents of Mayhem, and think that the towers and cash/ammo generators you took over are being lost over time through some sort of bug. It’s not a bug. I asked Volition about this and they said that it’s a purposeful design decision that they will take away one captured enemy base from you every time you visit the Ark to encourage “staying on the map” and giving the world “a sense of struggle.” It’s beyond stupid, and counter to every well-established standard in open world games, but just know that it’s happening. I would still take over enemy bases when you can because they’re a good source of cash, XP and loot, but I would not bother trying to get four cash generators running because you will lose them all quickly.
Gadgets And Schematics Will Prioritize Your Active Roster
I do appreciate the way smart loot works in Agents of Mayhem, as the Lair/Mission rewards of Gadgets and Schematics used to modify your build will drop and prioritize whoever you’re currently using. Once you have nine of both Gadgets and Schematics, these drops will switch to random classes. Loot you get from bosses or chests in the world, however, is more random. But just know that when you go to a Lair with X reward, you will be getting that reward for those heroes, unless you’ve found all their stuff already.
A “Six Star” Wanted Level Is The Best Way To Farm XP/Loot/Currency
It took me until the end of the game to realize that the best way to level up my heroes and be drowning in cash and loot was to simply go into the world GTA-style and start shooting. In this game, you have a “wanted level” like in most open world games, but there’s a twist. Waves and waves of enemies will come, and once you hit “max” level, you’ll fight a relatively tough super boss robot, where if you kill him, your entire wanted level resets. It’s a very clever mechanic, and one that is crazy rewarding, as the boss drops everything from schematics to upgrade cores, and his minions will give you loads of XP and cash. In my experience, the best person to have on your team for this was Joule. Her turret will shred enemies in open spaces while you barely have to do anything, and her ultimate comes up incredibly often for bonus damage. She’s not great in missions in tight spaces, but for farming the open world, she’s a dream.
You Won’t Really Need All That Gremlin Tech
There are something like two dozen pieces of Gremlin Tech, an ability mapped to L1 that spans across all characters that can do everything from boost you while crippling enemies to laying waste to the entire map with an airstrike calldown. The thing is, once you unlock Mulligan, which auto-revives your team on death every two minutes, there’s little reason to use anything else, and I never did. Your standard abilities do enough damage to take down anything you want, but having Mulligan as a backup plan means that failing anything is almost impossible. It’s essentially an extra life for your entire team and relatively cheap to craft. I’m not sure it should even be in the game, but don’t leave home without it.
Don’t Hoard Upgrade Cores
Upgrade cores are crystals formed from upgrade core shards, which can be found while wandering about Seoul. Each character has three slots for upgrade cores, which can be filled to add additional bonuses to abilities. Cores are also used once an agent hits level 20 to add up to 20 additional sub-levels. While they seem like a precious resource at the beginning of a game, by the time you reach the final chapter you’ll be swimming in them. Don’t be shy about applying them. There’ll be more.