Review – Biomutant

Journey to the Release Date

Overview

Developer Experiment 101
Publisher THQ Nordic
Genre Action-RPG
Platforms PS4(Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date May 25th, 2021

Biomutant was first announced in 2017, with an early demo build playable at PAX West that same year. That was also the first PAX event I ever attended for Geeks Under Grace, and I had the chance to try out the game for myself. Since then, four years have gone by, and much has changed in the video game industry and my own life since then. Experiment 101(the developers) mainly were quiet over those years, with an occasional update to tell us that they are still hard at work on the game. Now, four years later, I get to tell you that the game exists, and while very strange, it is an adventure that will keep action-RPG fans invested for many hours.

Content Guide

NOTE: Biomutant is rated T for Teen by the ESRB. After many hours in the game, there were quests and tasks I did not complete. Therefore, there are likely pieces of noteworthy content that aren’t listed in this guide.

Spiritual Content: The game’s plot takes place during an apocalypse and is centered around the Tree of Life. This tree symbolizes hope for the inhabitants as a sign that life is returning. A morality system called “aura” is included in the game, represented by the interactions of two light and dark familiars that interact with one another. The player character has psychic abilities called psi-powers that they can utilize if they wish to do so. Other skills include mutations that use various elements such as fire, electricity, ice, poison, and more.

Violence: In the world of Biomutant, the player and other characters in the world combat one another with various melee and ranged weapons. Though a minimal amount of blood is present, players will be shocking and burning enemy creatures. A significant part of the game is to choose a warring faction to align with. Players join their allies in battles to take over outposts and free their fellow soldiers from captivity.

Crude Humor: There are multiple instances of crude humor throughout the game. For example, the player character is swallowed whole by a giant creature. If the player doesn’t make it out in time, they are farted out. Once they are shot out, the beast proceeds to sit on them, then gets up. As the giant creature rises, your character is stuck in the characters and struggles to get out but dies of suffocation. More instances such as this one occur throughout the game.

Drugs/Alcohol: An outdoor bar is one of the many locations that players will visit in Biomutant. At this location, a character sits at the bar and seems to drink a beverage containing. It is implied that the rads in the drink affect the creature’s brain like alcohol would. The ESRB mentions the use of tobacco, but I don’t recall any specific occasion.

We’re responsible for our planet’s demise.

Review

Biomutant is a strange video game for me to describe. The apocalyptic setting has a sense of familiarity, though inhabited by strange creatures. It is an action RPG that takes inspiration from many different games, with a few traits more prominent than others. However, the game has many unique aspects that give it an identity all its own. Biomutant is, in itself, a mutant. Plenty of dangers, mysterious locations to explore, and tons of loot await those who wish to go on this oddity of an adventure. 

The influences found in Biomutant are many. It is an action RPG, customizing your stats and character appearance at the beginning of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a morality system that took me back to days of Fable and Mass Effect. You can have your mutant specialize in one or many stats, or even min-max your way to the end if that’s how you want to play. My character’s focus was psi-powers, which gave them the energy to use the special abilities frequently. The developers created an experience that doesn’t always feel like an RPG until you level up or find yourself in an area that you might be too weak for. To me, immersion is vital, and Experiment 101 has successfully delivered on that front.

Fun at the playground.

The overarching objective has the player traveling across the land to defeat giant creatures known as World Eaters. The task made the adventure feel like Breath of the Wild, in which we traveled across a desolate Hyrule in search of the divine beasts. However, to face those beasts, you’ll seek the help of allies that will craft some unique vehicles that will get you around the various biomes—which feels inspired by the Jak and Daxter series. Lastly, there is a faction war going on in the world of Biomutant. When aligning with a faction, you’ll be encountering opposing forces on your journey and have the opportunity to storm their bases and take them as your own. Engaging groups of enemies on patrol reminded me of the many times I had run into a group of patrolling Mongols in Ghost of Tsushima or Orcs in the Middle Earth games.

What makes Biomutant unique is not the world itself, which is relatively generic aside from its Kung FU/Asian influences. It’s the life that inhabits it after us humans are long gone. These strange mammals might have the casual gamer thinking, “What is this?” while others might find that the game’s quirkiness is a part of its charm. In terms of presentation, I was impressed with the graphical detail that added to the mystery of exploring our dead planet for the 100th time in a video game. I also find it intriguing that most of the game’s dialogue comes from a narrator, who communicates what a character is saying to the player over indistinguishable mumbles. Though I enjoyed the company on my journey, players can tone down the commentary in between those moments.

One of the many unique characters you’ll have the pleasure of meeting.

I usually cringe and think of survival games when I hear about crafting mechanics but making weapons in Biomutant is a prominent part of the experience. Including various clothing and armor items, you’ll be picking up parts for both ranged and melee weapons. I never made a melee weapon I stuck with for long, but I eventually put together an automatic ranged weapon that became old faithful. I have to give the devs props for having weapons for us to discover out in the world, which means that players aren’t required to engage with the mechanic if they choose not to. Of course, specific resources are needed to craft your unique creations.

Say hello to my favorite gun.

The part of Biomutant that took me the longest to get the hang of was the combat. Many games these days usually have a lock-on, especially for melee. However, Biomutant seems to operate on a very loose soft-lock, so I couldn’t always turn around and aim for a creature I want to attack. Eventually, I learned to apply the dodging and parrying better and had a better time. When leveling up in the game, you’ll have the opportunity to learn new combos for both weapon types and their varying styles, along with the many other upgrades you’ll be applying to your mutant.

However, a part of the combat I didn’t have any issues with was the mutations and psi-powers. Your mutant can use various elemental-themed abilities such as poison, electricity, fire, and more. One of my favorites was “Blaze,” which would let me dash in any direction and trap enemies or have them run through it to take damage. Though there are more helpful bio mutations, one of my favorites was “VIle Bile,” a poison projectile that immensely helped eat away at my target’s health. Thanks to my Psi-Freak character class, I had plenty of energy to use multiple powers at once and equipped my character with gear that would shorten the recovery time.

How about some electricity?

Biomutant is a strange game and yet charming at the same time. The post-apocalyptic setting has been long overused, but Experiment 101 found a way to make it unique. There aren’t any plot points or characters that players will have a strong connection with, but this is a world that is worth exploring. I found myself fully immersed in this world and could drink everything in at my own pace and playstyle. Though I had to deal with some pre-launch bugs, they were eventually patched out before launch, bringing the game to a quality that fans should be pleased with after waiting all the years. Biomutant is not a masterpiece, nor will it be recognized as one of the greats, but after sinking dozens of hours into it, I was never bored and would recommend it to anyone willing to go on a weird adventure.

 

 

The Bottom Line

 

Biomutant is strange world with plenty of action, adventure, and loot that will keep players exploring for dozens of hours.

 

7.5

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L.J. Lowery

Born in southern California, but currently residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Loves Hip Hop music, comics, and video games. Events/Media Coordinator, Podcast Producer, and Public Relations.

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