Biomutant pretty much needs no introduction. It’s easily one of the biggest games I’ve been excited for in a long while. And despite being a bit rough around the edges, it’s one game that speaks in volumes for its gorgeous open world, engaging combat mechanics and unique storytelling. Because in an industry filled with massive games and their even bigger offerings, the humble approach to a more compact but activity-filled world with its fun and versatile combat often feels like the breath of fresh air that we all kind of need in a certain weird way.
There’s no way around it, in scale and form, Biomutant definitely doesn’t have the massiveness of certain games like Grand Theft Auto V nor can it go toe-to-toe with the engaging quest lines from The Witcher 3. However like most games, it doesn’t have to. In its own right, it has just the right amount of length for a perfectly balanced game that isn’t utterly short nor outrageously long.
A Ballsy and Awkward Approach to Storytelling
Biomutant pretty much takes a unique approach to the post-apocalyptic worlds we’re used to seeing in modern video games. Unlike getting overrun with the typical undead zombies due to some weird plot for an experiment gone wrong, you and the entire world of furry creatures or as I love to call “fluffballs” are plunged into a dying world due to a massive oil flood that infected the Tree of Life.
Now the once vibrant and colorful world is plunged into chaos with most of its civilization in the brink of ruin as mutated creatures roam the wild and large creatures known as World Eaters are slowly gnawing on the said tree. And while this should’ve been the right time as you, the main protagonist and General Fluffball, to step in as the world’s savior and sole hero, the game pretty much has other plans. Because unlike most games, Biomutant takes on two diverging routes to its conclusion. On one end, you can take on the World Eaters and restore the Tree of Life while another path would have you going the darker end of the road as you let the World Eaters destroy the tree all while uniting the six tribe factions into one big banner or facing your past once and for all.
However, what makes the storytelling a bit awkward is the unique way it’s being told. There’s definitely some great moments to its narrative approach but a fully narrated story where each and every character is being narrated or should I say every word they speak gets translated to the human language is a bit too jarring and no level of voice acting could probably save that. Because at the end of the day, while it makes sense that you wouldn’t know how to speak chipmunk or badger, the whole “he says”, “she thinks” lines doesn’t portray yourself as part of the story but more like you’re a third wheel getting dragged into it.
Looter Slasher? Looter Shooter? You tell me!
But what makes the game a bit of an eye catcher aside from being an RPG that pretty much incorporates the dopamine-infused loot elements with its engaging hack n’ slash combat while also being an acrobatic shooter that even Max Payne can approve to, is its funky character customization that not only gives you a wide range of options despite only having a single slider for morphing your fluffball into Megamind levels of head radius or taking the 80’s style Rambo body and putting fur all over.
The combat is also one of its strongest points with its versatile and engaging mechanics that not only gives you a ton of options on how you can tackle encounters but also makes character progression something to look forward to each time you get new skills or a shiny set of gear with its different effects that can combo off each other perfectly. One of my favorites being the Mucus Bubble that makes smaller enemies stick to the bubble and when paired with the Blaze power that not only sets the entire floor on fire but also deals even higher damage on enemies you pass through, it can become a deadly combo that melts enemies in mere seconds.
You also earn new combos and perks to make your melee and long range attacks that much more deadly. From going into dual wielding one-handed slash weapons or one-handed guns that becomes so absurdly insane when you can stack weapons with two different effects like unleashing rockets or saws when shooting or dealing twice the damage on your melee attacks all while inflicting status effects on top of all that added effects. It becomes a pretty crazy game that can get so addictive to play because of all these elements put together and the fact that it’s a looter-based open world game makes it all the more interesting as it gives you even more incentives to explore the world outside of its core campaign.
But speaking of the loot-driven experience, unlike what most looter-shooters often do, Biomutant takes more of an Outriders effect when it comes to its gear progression and if you’re unfamiliar with the recent Square Enix-published game, it’s hard to blame anyone for that when it almost completely made Anthem look good. But the TL:DR here is that similar to Outriders, Biomutant makes existing gear of any rarity upgradeable to a certain degree or can be used as materials for other gear to be upgraded. So a rare piece of gear can be broken down into materials or can be upgraded to eventually hit Legendary or Relic level of rarities. However this is where Biomutant one-ups the idea as weapons aren’t exactly obtained as is. Mostly, weapons are crafted from parts like adding a handle to a base while also adding add-ons to the blade or in the case of guns you put grips, muzzles and magazines on top of the base weapon which makes for a completely unique gun every now and then. This pretty much gives you a bit more reason to explore the world and honestly my sole reason to even go into every nook and cranny and finish most if not all the side quests throughout the world being the loot hoarder that I am.
Post-Apocalyptic yet Still Vibrant and Colorful…
I hardly even need to tell you how good the game looks visually. Straight from the character creation with its varied range of body structures despite the lack multiple sliders for each and every type of body part that modern games tend to have, Biomutant offers just enough to make your character look unique for each playthrough. While the world and its environment offer the colourful and vibrant shades of greens with its lush forest regions, huge canals of water, underground structures and vast canyons all while having some splash of radioactive or freezing cold zones just to name a few.
Each part of these zones also offer unique traversal elements such as the early stages of the world where you get access to the Googlide, a personal water scooter if you may that lets you explore the waterways of Surfipelago or the different types of mounts like Gnoats which are goats with an N which you find in each area of the world to tame and keep. The only shame here is that they tend to be exclusive to the region you got it from so forget about trying to use an aircraft or your robot anywhere else.
Biomutant despite its delays delivers a game that for the most part is fairly decent if not great. It might not have taken my undivided attention when it comes to how the storytelling is portrayed but it came in clutch with its engaging combat and addictive loot-driven experience which on its own is a win in my book. Although it also has some very limited world mapping which can be a bit awkward as you can’t place custom waypoints wherever you want and its lack of a mini-map does hinder your exploration which the in-game compass just can’t do it justice. But if you’re looking for a loot-driven experience that has some pretty good gameplay mechanics and replayability, this game pretty much takes the cake.
Developer: Experiment 101
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
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