Biomutant was one of the most hyped-up games of the year. After all, it's not every day we get an open-world adventure with really cool graphics, and the idea of playing with a fierce anthropomorphic rodent sounded interesting too. If you enjoy quest-based role-playing adventure games with looting and crafting mechanics, hidden sidequests, mounts, gigantic bosses and sandbox environments, then you'll find yourself at home when playing Biomutant.
What to Expect
Alright, that description is actually accurate, but we have to say that Biomutant ended up being a generic RPG with several flaws. Although we love its graphics, there's nothing really unique about this game, so you can expect everything you would expect from an open-world game... just know Biomutant is far from being the next big thing!
To be honest with you, Biomutant is one of the best-looking games of the year. If it wasn't for its visuals, however, Biomutant would be a bad, boring game no one would care about. That's how important the graphics are to this game. While traveling this post-apocalyptic world, it's hard not to feel the urge to take screenshots of the beautiful scenery or the different characters you meet. The character design is excellent and perfectly fits the world these creatures live in, but the weapons design is another thing to admire, full of references that will certainly make you laugh.
Well, we have to say that Biomutant's music is quite enjoyable, and we liked how the sound effects bring everything to life, but we had a problem with how it handles voice acting. You see, these creatures don't speak English or any known language, so all dialogues between the protagonist and the different characters feel like playing The Sims. For that reason, the storytelling relies on a narrator, but we found it not only boring but also extremely annoying. There are several narration-driven games we all know and love, from Thomas Was Alone to The Stanley Parable, to name a couple, but we think this doesn't match a game like Biomutant. We have nothing bad to say about Biomutant's soundtrack, but it's hard to pay attention to it when you have to listen to the narrator—to make things worse, the script is really boring—and you're so busy hating him.
We're finally in the Gameplay section, and here's where we can talk about all the reasons holding Biomutant back. Let's start by saying that, instead of coming up with new ideas to revolutionize the genre, Biomutant just mashes up several mechanics from famous games (even from other genres than RPG) to create something as pretentious as shallow.
In this world, there's a giant tree that gives life to all things. For a while now, a mysterious oil-like substance has been poisoning this tree, and that puts all creatures in danger. Although saving the Tree of Life sounds like the right thing to do, some people have other ideas to deal with this situation, and that's why we have to fight. Actually, that's not the only reason to fight... The region is divided into several tribes, and the protagonist will eventually side with one of them. That means we'll have to fight against other tribes to conquer their outposts and capture their leaders—a nice way of bringing everyone together while the world is coming to an end! Oh, but that's not all. It turns out there are 4 gigantic creatures, known as the "World Eaters" (or "the Puffs"), and we must defeat them with the help of specific characters who already have a plan. If that's not enough to do, there's also Lupa-Lupin, the last "Meat Eater," Nemesis-like character that we encounter throughout the game.
As you can see, it's an original story full of unoriginal ideas, and although it may sound fascinating and fun to play... trust us, it's painfully tedious.
The role-playing side of Biomutant looks complex on the surface, with too many things to customize. You can change how the protagonist looks, you can change its strengths and weaknesses, you can change its preferred combat style, and once you start playing, you can craft weapons and gear too. With every new level, you make your character stronger by adding 10 points to a given stat, but you can also unlock new special moves. Out of combat, your actions matter too: there's a karma system that affects some quests and interactions, as well as an aura system that allows you to unlock Psi-Powers, and more...
Too many customization options? Maybe, but is that a good thing? In our run, we barely touched some of these because we never needed to. Crafting is useful, but not necessary; the aura system is just a binary thing where you act according to your light or dark side, but it hardly feels like role-playing; specializing on a weapon is okay, but it doesn't make a difference and you'll probably end up using all kinds of weapons anyways.
As for other aspects of the gameplay, everything is equally shallow. Once you get comfortable with the controls, you can defeat whatever enemies you find regardless of their level or combat style. The AI makes no sense at all, and at least in our case, we couldn't find enough motivation to try new things as our weapons and strategy were enough to not care about who or what we had in front. We never really HAD to use a new weapon or vehicle; we just did it out of boredom...
Perhaps the most boring thing of them all is puzzle-solving. It doesn't matter where you are, all puzzles are the same: you must rotate something and something else will happen in that room. It's not fun, it's not creative, and it gets old really fast.
The best part of Biomutant is forgetting about quests and combat, turning off the narrator's voice, and just exploring this mesmerizing world. Okay, you can't fully explore the map before finding out how to deal with toxic environments and harsh temperatures affecting specific areas, but at least that will give you a reason to keep playing.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Thanks to its repetitive combat, convoluted story, weird-sounding dialogues, annoying narration, overly simplistic and pointless puzzles, and complex yet mostly meaningless customization options, Biomutant is just a generic game about a troubled hero trying to please everyone around.
We think Biomutant is a good game, but only if you get past all its design flaws—which is not easy. It's like dating a shallow, tiresome person only because they are beautiful; is that okay with you? Then go ahead and have fun!
Great art style.
Enough customization options and RPG mechanics to keep you busy.
Uniteresting open world, unoriginal story, repetitive combat mechanics.
Some quests are badly explained so you'll spend some time figuring out what to do.
Annoying narrator (you can mute him, thankfully).
Honey's Final Verdict:
Biomutant sounds like a kid dreaming of their perfect video game, borrowing ideas from other famous titles like it's no big deal but ultimately failing at creating something cohesive and fun. Still, there's a lot you can do in this open world, and with so many customization options and RPG mechanics, maybe you can spend hours upon hours exploring different tactics and aiming for the perfect build. It even comes with a New Game+ mode!
Biomutant is already available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC (but if your PC is not good enough to play this on High or Ultra and actually enjoy the graphics, you'll be missing the best part of it...).
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...