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Game review 24 May 2021, 17:00

author: Giancarlo Saldana

Giancarlo Saldana has been covering video games and tech for over a decade for publications like 1UP, GamesRadar, TechRadar, MacLife, Blast Magazine, and more. Twitter: @giansaldana

Biomutant Review: A Fuzzy-Wuzzy Fable

Donít be fooled by its cuddly-looking characters with silly names. Biomutant is a robust and enthralling RPG with a lot to offer and plenty of ways to see it play out.

The review is based on the PC version. It's also relevant to XONE, PS4 version(s).

From the very beginning, Biomutant makes it clear that you have the ability to control nearly every aspect of gameplay. Want to have neon-colored fur? Why not. Want to focus on destroying the world and being a jerk to everyone you talk to? Okay! Feel like making a weapon out of a telephone and focusing on melee attacks over magic spells? You got it. This open-world RPG practically gives you full reigns to shape your experience how you see fit, making each foray into its vast and wondrous world unique and worth the time.

PROS:
  1. Robust RPG elements
  2. Impressive and rewarding loot system
  3. Fun and immersive quests to complete
  4. Your choices feel like they truly matter
CONS:
  1. Narrator can get old at times
  2. Lack of a full voice cast diminishes the importance of certain conversations

Biomutant takes place in a world previously ravaged when an industrial corporation took it a little too far and eradicated prior civilizations. What surfaced after that were mutated beings, such as your character, that resemble fuzzy and furry mammals, who then split up into tribes throughout the lush forests, watery archipelagos, and arid deserts. This land becomes the backdrop for your adventure, which entails exploring its corners and completing both main and side-quests as you determine the fate of the world and those you encounter.

Make it your way

In true RPG fashion, the game starts off by having you choose your character, its appearance, base stats, and what kind of class you want it to become. These choices determine how your character plays in the first few hours, but you have the liberty to alter this later on and focus on a playstyle that makes sense for you. At first, we thought we wanted to play as a dual-wielding rogue-like character, but as soon as we discovered this really cool, power-fist weapon, we threw that out the window and focused more on strength and vitality for more damage. Whatís more, each time you level up, you can assign points to one of five stats like strength, agility, and luck to continue to mold your furry warrior into the hero you want it to be.

This freedom is also evident in the combat system that lets you swap out from a melee to a long-range weapon on the fly to pull off snazzy combos, or, as the game refers them, Wung-Fu styles. Think of it like the combat style of Ratchet & Clank or Devil May Cry, wielding swords, dodging, and shooting down enemies you encounter. Additional combos can be unlocked with perk points you discover and can greatly diversify how you take on your enemies.

The other great thing about combat is that you can essentially build any kind of weapon you want. At first, we chose to stick to the weapons we found through the main quests, but later discovered that we could craft even stronger weapons with all the loot we discovered. And believe us, there is a lot of loot out there Ė like, a lot. Each piece you find can make up different parts of a melee weapon or sword, so you can use your Frankenstein talents to create the ultimate weapon or combine special pieces that give you the added effect you want. One of best parts of progressing through the game is remembering to change up your weapons to create some legendary creations that pack a punch.

Besides the sheer joy of crafting your very own weapons, you can also choose what kind of abilities you want to unlock. As you play you will also come across biopoints to unlock mutation abilities, PSI-points, which will make you feel like a Jedi or a Sith, and upgrade points, which unlock the aforementioned combos and other perks. These abilities use up your ki, which is determined by your characterís intelligence, and acts as the gameís mana meter. You ultimately have the choice to focus on brute force, special abilities, or a mixture of both.

All these options mean combat is never dull. As you progress through the various main and side quests, you will inevitably have to take on some formidable bosses, and these battles, while straightforward, provide some variety in the regular fights you will encounter. Even though one of them may be a fluffy, dopey-looking creature called the Jumbo Puff, these bosses are huge, have to be defeated in unique ways, and will surely instill a sense of awe.

That voice in your head

Described as an ďopen-world, post-apocalyptic, kung-fu fable,Ē the gameís world is truly beautiful and features a varied palette and impressive areas that come alive under the bright yellow sun, or increase in danger under the moon. You can hop on a mount and traverse through rundown cities, glide down mountain ranges, and even travel by boat across waters thick with seaweed. Some biomes require special gear to explore, so they further challenge you to explore your world, complete quests, and meet these requirements before going in. Each area you visit truly feels unique and worth discovering.

Accompanying you throughout your grand adventure is an omniscient narrator who provides additional context, as well as reminders and random bits of philosophy here and there as you are playing. Voiced by David Shaw Parker, the narrator is talented in his delivery and tone, but because he is the only one you hear during your playthrough, his voice, and not his lines, do get old. This is akin to your loveable grandpa reading you a fascinating bedtime story with so much care and wisdom. But when he starts to rant about how things were back in the day, you wish he hadnít. Luckily, you can also decrease the frequency of the narrator, but the downside to this is that the game then sounds too quiet.

Whatís more, the characters you meet donít talk, but instead communicate in what you could consider chatter through grunts and unique noises, but these sounds play out before the narrator translates them. So, if you are someone who reads fast, or doesnít want to sit through a drawn-out dialogue, you will be constantly skipping most of what he is saying. We only wish more characters had been voiced to enhance the depth and heighten the tension of some of the gameís more critical conversations.

Your adventure, your choices

The only other two characters that do chime in every now and then are those of your conscience, when you perform morally light or dark actions. Nearly every quest conversation and the ultimate final decision of the game requires you to make a choice. Which tribe you side with, whether you kill or spare your mortal enemy, whether you destroy or save the world Ė these are but some of the more important decisions you will make, but even choosing cheeky or polite replies in certain conversations will net you morality points for unique PSI-powers. Your morality also affects how characters view you and how they refer to you in conversation. But, again, because the narrator is the only one voicing these lines, the impact of this delivery is somewhat diminished.

There are also a plethora of side quests to complete that continuously encourage you to explore your surroundings. These quests allow you discover some legendary loot, special outfits, and also learn what the world was like before the apocalypse. Every area you visit has a checklist of things you can collect to ensure you loot everything possible. However, a basic area map would have been helpful as these zones are pretty big and can be confusing to navigate.

Biomutant possesses a certain charm that you wouldnít expect from a post-apocalyptic title. Itís a game that grants you so much freedom to play it how you want and continues to do so until the very end. While the narrator is a comforting voice in your adventure and sets the stage for your epic tale, he can also take away from some of the more pivotal moments you will encounter. Its strengths truly lie in its RPG elements that reward you for your choices and the time you take to explore every inch of your world. Despite its shortcomings, Biomutant is a joy to play whichever way you do.

DISCLAIMER

We received the game free of charge from Dead Good Media.

Giancarlo Saldana | Gamepressure.com

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