Biomutant from Experiment 101 and THQ Nordic has been a title that’s flown underneath the radar for quite some time now. Originally announced way back in August 2017, Biomutant seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth until earlier this year when an official release date was revealed via a Twitter post.
Biomutant is thankfully not vapourware and exists, as there’s been some marketing buzz lately showing off the game’s different mechanics. Players will thankfully have a great time with this game however, there are multiple caveats which may not be to everyone’s tastes. Does the game live up to its sudden surge in hype? Let’s get into it shall we.
Players will take on the role of a mutated creature in Biomutant. You create this creature directly after viewing the opening cinematic and there’s a lot of options available to you. Biomutant opted for a slightly different approach to creating your character. Players will choose a base species type from six different options. Then you can play around with a circular mutator which changes your attributes and fur colour. Lastly, you’ll pick one of 5 different classes (or six if you pre-ordered the game and have the “Mercenary” class unlocked).
These class choices don’t affect gameplay too much in the grand scheme of things, but are rather just a starting point and players can eventually take their character in a completely different class direction. The classes in Biomutant have various different specialities such as focusing on “Ki” based attacks, physical attacks or ranged attacks. Some are more balanced than others but depending on the way you play the game and level up your character, you can completely change your entire play style.
Varied Gameplay Styles
Biomutant’s gameplay starts off incredibly linear. For the first hour or so, you’ll be stuck with a set path which brings you up to speed with the game’s backstory and sets into motion its main plot. The next three sentences contain mild spoilers so avert your eyes if you want to go in blind. The world in Biomutant was effectively destroyed by mankind. A giant corporation dumped toxic waste into the ocean and set forth a great calamity which changed everything. Your playable character is tasked with saving the world by protecting the Tree of Life from being destroyed.
There’s a lot of other details which delve into spoiler territory so it’s best they aren’t mentioned and that players enjoy them for themselves. What can be talked about however is Biomutant’s Aura system and mild RPG elements. Players will align themselves with 1 of six tribes in Biomutant. Which tribe you align with plays a significant role in how the game will play out for you.
This also ties into the Aura system which involves “Dark” and “Light” decisions. Want to destroy everything and conquer the other tribes? “Dark” it is. Want to do the opposite? That’s “Light” for you. There are in-between choices too and the morality questioning in Biomutant is quite present throughout with characters voicing their opinions on the state of the world and on each other quite often.
Gameplay in Biomutant is at its core, a hack and slash third-person action adventure with an immensely large open-world to explore. Players can button-bash their way to victory by sword-slashing or beating up enemies with their fist. Alternatively, players can also shoot a variety of longer range guns or use “Ki” based attacks which draw forth their mutant powers. You can for instance dash and leave behind flame or spit acid or freeze enemies. It’s incredibly fun in action.
Biomutant, when it eventually does reach the open-world stage of the game, becomes a remarkably compelling adventure. Players will want to adventure further, discover more and learn all about what happened to the “Old World”. Some of the conversations and cutscenes regarding what turned the world into a mutated post-apocalyptic mess can come across as quite dark but there is plenty of humour in Biomutant to balance this out.
NPC characters talk in “Gibberish” as the game calls it and there’s a Narrator which translates for you. David Shaw-Parker voices the Narrator and has done an excellent job in the game. However, the constant narration may start to grate people over time and thankfully the developers have included a meter in the option’s menu which can be used to turn down how often the Narrator speaks in-game.
If you’re playing the game for prolonged periods of time and you constantly have to hear about how you should be saving the world, players will definitely want to make use of this option.
Combat in Biomutant is fast and frantic. There are times when the camera angle and camera control in battles can be obscured or thrown around a bit too much.
However, there’s just something about defeating enemies that makes the game incredibly fun. Throw in a couple of slow motion finishers and a lot of flashy effects and you have a recipe for success right here. Some gamers may however find the combat to lack impact of sorts, especially when fighting larger creatures which don’t really flinch much when being hit.
Biomutant features a looting system where players will defeat enemies or loot chests and obtain items which can then be used for crafting new weapons. It’s surprisingly enjoyable and crafting can result in some really great new weapons to use which make you feel super powerful against smaller foes.
Graphically, Biomutant is a mixed bag. There are photorealistic environments interspersed with character models and textures which look cartoon-esque or downright horrendous when up close. Thankfully, most of the time you’ll spend in the game, you’ll be in awe at just how vibrant and beautiful the environment looks.
The game also has a photo mode which can be triggered by simply pressing both analog sticks in or by launching it from a menu. This can be activated at any time, instantly freezes the action and you can play around with taking the best screenshots known to mankind.
In fact, we suspect that a lot of players are going to have a field day with the game’s photo mode capturing the gorgeous locales and mutated beasts throughout.
Enemy designs in Biomutant are quite varied too with some incredibly eye-catching designs that range from zany to terrifying. It’s fantastic. The first time you see a specific giant creature near the start of the game, you’ll be in awe at how it looks.
The soundtrack of Biomutant features quite a few memorable tracks and the battle music that kicks in when in combat is well suited to the game. There’s a distinct East-Asian undertone and theme to the game given the fact that you are referred to as a ronin and have some rather impressive sword skills. The wind and string instruments in the soundtrack further builds on this theme and the soundtrack just fits the game perfectly.
Biomutant is overall, an action-adventure game that does a lot of things. It draws inspiration from numerous other open-world action adventure games and sets itself apart from them with its own original vibrant, cartoony aesthetic.
The game’s morality system, weapon mechanics, exploration systems and combat are all well done and even at its jankiest, this game has heart. If you’re a fan of open-world action adventure role-playing titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Biomutant will definitely scratch that itch.
We highly recommend giving the game a go and trying to look past some of its videogame trope flaws.
Biomutant is overall, an action-adventure game that does a lot and does it well enough to satiate fans of the open-world action adventure genre.