Games on my Radar

Each month, as I assemble the list of new titles releasing, I earmark a couple of them (usually adding them to my Steam Wishlist) to keep an eye on. Sometimes they are no-brainers that I am going to pick up as soon as I can (Resident Evil 7 and Breath of the Wild, for example). Others usually stay on my wishlist for months, until the Steam sale rolls around and I get the email deluge of 50 “An item on your Steam Wishlist is on sale!” and I remember “oh yeah, that game”.

One of those games was Agents of Mayhem, an open world game cut from the Saint’s Row cloth but gunning for the Crackdown throne. Being the loyalist I am, I was worried that AoM would be the death knell of the Crackdown franchise.

After reading a couple of reviews, it looks like I can take AoM off my wishlist and still be hopeful for Crackdown 3 to bring back that original Crackdown Magic.

Justin McElroy (whose opinion I trust) sums up his review succinctly with

Agents of Mayhem heaps theoretical fun on you. Characters, powers, upgrades, tons of missions — it’s desperate for the player to just have fun. It’s a noble impulse, but one that it’s depressingly incapable of consistently delivering on.

While John Walker (who I haven’t read enough to know if I can trust just yet) comes to pretty much the same conclusion at RPS:

I was, immediately, really excited. The game begins with your controlling three different characters, each in a different part of an underground bunker, jumping between them as you learn their distinctive combat styles in this enormously elaborate third-person shooter. The writing was incredibly funny, the character mix interesting, and the action fine enough – I was delighted! Volition doing their thing. The process of playing since this opening scene has been one of disappointment after disappointment, until I’ve come away from what is undeniably a huge and complex game with very few positive feelings about it at all.

Agents of Mayhem is no longer on my Steam wishlist.

Pyre from Supergiant Games was another I have been watching, as well. Steve Brown at GameCritics praises its lore and art style while souring on the actual gameplay, going as far as saying

… Pyre could have easily been a visual novel, and I would have honestly preferred that instead of being forced to suffer through the tedious magic-balling.

So this doesn’t necessarily strike the game from the Wishlist, but definitely moves it into “when there’s time” territory (Spoiler Alert: there’s never time).

Finally, after hearing mention of Oxygen Not Included on an episode of Idle Thumbs, I have added it to the Wishlist. With its combination of the Don’t Starve pastiche and the gameplay of Fallout Shelter, it has earned a spot on my radar.

Any games blipping up on your radar? Or any comments on the games mentioned here? Share them in the comments!


  1. sojournerstrange says

    Heavy disagree on “could have easily been a visual novel” — no spoilers, but the game derives a lot of emotional impact from “forcing” the player to “suffer through” the active bits. There are analog decisions and moments which absolutely cannot be recreated through choice text alone, and I say that as someone whose first love is prose fiction (and who still enjoys text adventures).

    IMO having a lot of exposure to/awareness of distinct game genres might be a liability on this one, honestly — you start expecting genre conventions that just ain’t coming. Which isn’t to say that it’s a perfect game — I have an armful of criticisms to make of it myself — but that this *specific* criticism of “it should have been a VN” is something I strongly disagree with (and believe that I am justified in strongly disagreeing with).

    • Thanks for the comment, sojournerstrange. This is definitely why I usually don’t rely on one review, so your input is helpful in making a buying decision. I actually think the parts of playing the “ball” game actually sounds fun, contrary to what this reviewer’s experience was. But your perspective makes it sound integral to the game experience, which actually puts the game in a more positive light.

      Thanks for sharing!

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