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Agents of Mayhem made all the right improvements after SR4…

… but it made too many other mistakes in order to be as fun and successful as it should have been.

I think that the moment-to-moment gameplay has been improved dramatically compared to SR3 and 4, but it has been overshadowed by a kinda boring and bad overall theme and repetitive content. If SR4 had gameplay like AoM, or if AoM had a strong story and charm like SR3/4, it would have been a perfect match and the game would have been a complete hit IMHO.

A few examples of what I mean:

  • combat is more balanced and challenging while still maintaining that "crazy mayhem and shit blowing up" power fantasy feeling. When you line up a few of your powers and start shooting, it feels more like awesome planned destruction than "random bullshit, go!"

  • we get a huge variety of new powers and playstyles but spread out in "kits" for each of the heroes you can play. A much better approach than the basic slam/firewall/throw/jump stuff in SR4, both in terms of immersion, enjoyment or balance

  • vehicles are more convenient than ever and still very relevant compared to SR4 where they got outclassed and forgotten due to the super sprint and jump. they feel a bit weird to drive but at least you have a reason to do so now.

  • character progression is miles ahead of SR3 or 4. While there you mostly just bought new weapons and linear upgrades for cash, in AoM you have a pretty satisfying leveling up gameplay loop, and tons of combat customization due to all the heroes you can pick and how you can upgrade them (you can pick variations of their abilities and then mod each of them with additional unique effects)

  • the city tug-of-war with legion is something that would have been really cool to have in SR thematic gang warfare. AoM feels pretty repetitive due to reused assets in these encounters but if this were expanded (or maybe it took advantage of the sandbox open world instead of putting you into small underground areas so often) it might be a pretty good and compelling activity in between story missions.

  • map verticality. It's great that the city in AoM is not a flat plane with buildings – there are huge skyscrapers, floating platforms or construction sites that let you explore and fight in much more interesting situations than just streets and back alleys. Lack of wall running or flying vehicles means these are fun to navigate too, rather than just holding W and getting to the top.

There are other smaller examples like the introduction of gadget consumables, a difficulty scale that increases the rewards as well, some pretty fun companions, abilities and weapons, much more satisfying gunplay, addition of (de)buffs, randomized secret locations that you can search for extra loot, world boss battle events, etc. but I think you get the point already. AoM fixed almost everything I hated about SR4, but unfortunately it also messed up the only things I liked like the humor, story or MC customization.

I really hope that SR5 doesn't ignore these advancements in AoM due to it's bad reception and that they instead build on top of them because I think they were a step in the right direction, and it'd be a shame to abandon them because of other issues the game had.


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