Experiment 101 / THQ Nordic
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the project known as Biomutant. To me, it resembled the book, Moby Dick, suddenly surfacing every now and then with some flashy preview, only to disappear into the depths of obscurity just as quickly. Personally, I thought “Wow, if they can pack all of the stuff they’re promising from these trailers, etc., this could be the next big adventure game!”
Lo and behold the game finally releases and it’s a decidedly mixed bag, packed with wasted potential more than anything thing else—although there is still hope for it in the future.
After being dazzled by all of the snazzy trailers, Biomutant starts off with more of a fizzle than sizzle. After designing your mutated animal character, which seems to be some sort of rodent thing, you’ll find yourself within closed-in areas—a far cry from the beautifully sprawling vistas seen in the game’s marketing stills and videos.
After about an hour-and-a-half of wandering through the many narrow corridors and claustrophobic dungeon chambers that serve as the game’s tutorial, things mercifully open up and you get to check out the “open-world” aspect that the developers have boasted about.
The tutorial was informative enough, but after getting into a few scraps with Biomutant’s oddball denizens, I quickly realized that the developers probably should have developed the combat system a little more. Whereas in the game’s earlier videos, combat seemed both intuitive and diverse, in reality, it’s a pretty pared-down version of that. Some of the moves that I tried to pull off were unresponsive and had quite a bit of animation jank to them.
Another issue is that there is clearly an emphasis on ranged combat. In theory, Biomutant was designed to let you wield giant melee weapons such as swords and axes, or unleash ranged attacks from guns or any psi powers your character possesses. But in reality, the melee system is flawed, with some attacks not registering, and the feeling that everything seems floaty and without heft.
The game’s style is very cartoonish and resembles any of the Saturday morning cartoons we’ve all seen before as kids (or grown-up kids). Its visuals are very vibrant and colorful, and the various environments that you traverse through are eye-poppingly great looking. Likewise, the enemies and NPCs you’ll encounter are all very well-rendered. The same goes for the excellent sound design.
Biomutant’s dialogue is also fun to read through—with lots of witty proverbs, words of wisdom, and black humor-tinted puns that had me laughing out loud. Whoever did the writing on this game deserves some serious praise.
Although the game lacks a considerable amount of polish, Biomutant seems oddly addictive, if just to see what’s around the next corner or in the next lush valley. The loot system is also well designed and—as long as I stuck to the ranged combat system instead of engaging in melee—kept me wanting to acquire bigger and louder guns. It’s an addictive gameplay loop that other looter-shooters have utilized before, to lesser or greater effect.
In the end, Biomutant is a game that doesn’t seem to have an end—at least figuratively. It seems to be something that has a lot of room for further growth and hopefully evolves into a new and improved, mutated (couldn’t help myself) version of itself, later on down the line.
As it is, Biomutant is a decently fun and quirky adventure romp that should keep fans of the genre busy for a good amount of time. It’s a game that resembles a child smashing two toys together in the bathtub in the best and worst possible ways. There’s some serious imagination behind a lot of the game’s systems and a lot of whimsy, but also lots of nonsense and noise. If you’ve played games like Jade Empire or Fable before, this game could be worth your time.
Biomutant has some great graphics so you’ll need a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. Therefore, you may just want to invest in a superior gaming rig:
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