Biomutant is an open world RPG made by Experiment 101. It’s set in a post apocalyptic Earth where you play as a furry little creature who has mastered martial arts and can combo Wung-Fu moves in a variety of ways. There’s also ranged combat and magic in the form of Psi-Powers. It’s a promising sounding RPG, but does it live up to it? Continuing reading our review to find out.
You start in Biomutant by creating your character as you do in most RPG’s. You can choose the breed, the attributes, and the class. Certain breeds and attributes fit with classes better than others, but you’re not locked into the class when you play. The good news is that if you discover you like playing with swords more than magic you can change as the game progresses. However, there’s not a respec option. So if you are shifting your focus that majorly, especially on harder difficulties, you’ll be better off starting over.
That’s not the end of the world anymore however, as Experiment 101 patched in an option to skip the opening 30 minute tutorial. It’s not a bad or boring tutorial by any means, but having the option is very nice. Especially when playing on NG+. Speaking of New Game Plus, you can loop New Game Plus if you enjoy playing the game and want to try different builds or make different choices.
Like a lot of RPG’s Biomutant is full of choices. You have the choice of which skills to take on each level up, which resistances to take, and which Psi-Powers to pick. Those Psi-Powers use a different skill point than the combat skills. You also have the choice of which weapons and armor to use. And you have the choice of whether to be good or bad (light or dark) and whether you want to side with the light tribes or the dark tribes.
You don’t really know what the right choice is for the fate of the world and I could see how both could be right in one way or the other. That being said, I found myself not really engaging with the story. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly was the issue with the story but I think the biggest problem was the way in which it was told.
In Biomutant there is a narrator. This narrator translates the gibberish being spoken by all the creatures in the game. I don’t have an issue with the narrator per se, but having to listen to the gibberish and then hear the translation was a bit frustrating at times and definitely took me out of the story. Luckily, there is a setting that allows you to turn the narrator down and the gibberish down. I turned the gibberish down to 0 and that definitely made the experience better. The narrator I didn’t turn fully off, just down to about 25, and that also improved the game.
The combat in Biomutant is very enjoyable. It’s very easy to move about the battlefield using either Psi-Powers such as Blaze, or by just using the dodge button. Combat feels weighty and each weapon type has their own skills and abilities. For instance, if you use a one handed slashing weapon and press the X button 5 consecutive times, you’ll get a prompt to activate Death Rake. Use enough different Wung-Fu abilities and you can activate Super Wung-Fu. This somewhat slows down time and allows you to activate some special abilities. Most of the them involve a flurry of blows either with your melee or ranged weapon. Though there are some AOE attacks that are very powerful such as the Ground Slam.
Each ranged weapon also has special abilities that charge your Super Wung-Fu meter. In my playthrough, I used a Psi-Freak class that mostly focused on using the aforementioned Psi-Powers. But I did use ranged weapons while I waited on my Ki-Energy to regen. Each time you use a Psi-Power or dodge you lose Ki-Energy, but it regens over time. The regen can be boosted with consumables or with armor perks. Certain powers are locked behind your aura which is affected by the choices you make in the game, whether they be light or dark choices. Most of the time it tells you if a decision will be light or dark, but not all the time.
To unlock the Ki Spark power, you need 30 Light Aura and 16 Psi Points. Those Psi Points are unlocked by finding shrines throughout the map or by rescuing captives. If you decide to play a Psi-Freak then you should plan on doing some exploring. That being said, I do wish they had more powers than the 9 powers you can potentially unlock. I say potentially because if you min/max your aura you’re only going to get 5 powers. You get a 6th power if you choose Psi-Freak. Which you should if you want to mainly use magic as it’s the only class to get the Spark Ball ability.
That’s not an issue in Biomutant however. The exploration and world is one of the games biggest strengths. I loved exploring the world that Experiment 101 created. The game is absolutely gorgeous with its lush environments. I played on a Series X which helped, but the game hasn’t been optimized for it. If it ever does I will definitely be jumping back into the game to take a look.
Across the map are outposts you can liberate depending on which tribe you side with. There’s also sign posts that act as fast travel points, though I wish when you activate them it didn’t automatically bring you to the map. Of course, you can’t not activate them because walking near them is not enough to unlock them for fast travel. It’s a minor annoyance for sure, but it’s little things like that that keep Biomutant from realizing it’s full potential.
There are also bunkers and cities to explore and each location tells you how much legendary loot and puzzles there are. This is a very nice feature that helps you make sure you’re not missing anything. In those locations, there are often secret walls you can break using either the Klawbar or the Klonkfist. Though some walls require upgrades of those tools. The puzzle are usually rotation puzzles and the amount of moves you have to solve depends on your intellect stat. These puzzles are fun, though I am a sucker for puzzles, so your enjoyment may vary.
There are also groups of enemies to fight scattered about the world. Sometimes these groups contain a miniboss which can be a fun way to use a new weapon or skill you just unlocked. On top of those mini-bosses are 4 world eaters, fortress bosses, (which are unlocked to fight once you capture the surrounding outposts), and one main villain who plays a key part in your backstory and the story as the game progresses. Each world eater has its own mechanics though I didn’t always find that fun. For instance, the Porky Puff requires you to fight the first phase on the Googlide, a water vehicle. It probably would have been an easier fight if I would have upgraded the engine, but with a level 1 engine, I took a lot of damage. The requirements to damage the boss were also less fun, though I’m glad they gave you two methods, as the method involving the mines did not work for me at all.
Biomutant is full of equipment to loot or craft. Some enemies do drop weapons and consumables, but most weapons and armor are found through exploration. Crafting is a good way to improve the weapons and armor you find, but I tended to find better loot consistently throughout my time with the game. And in open world RPG’s that’s one of my favorite parts, so it was fine by me. Certain things you find are locked behind levels which can be frustrating at first until you realize you find a lot of loot. You can sell those pieces that you don’t need or can’t use to merchants in the different outposts and fortresses for the green grass currency. You can use that to buy weapons or armor with specific helpful boosts as well.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Biomutant. The story isn’t the best, and there are certain design choices with characters and the story that don’t work all that well. But if you can get past that, or if you really enjoy the exploration part of open world RPG’s then you will more than likely enjoy this one. The combat is very fun too though I wish the magic class had more options for fighting. You can purchase Biomutant from the Microsoft store for $59.99.
We received a review copy from THQ for Biomutant.
A Mutated Open World that Mostly Works
- Great amount of loot
- Fun exploration
- Wung-fu is enjoyable and different than a lot of games
- The gibberish is not enjoyable to listen to
- The story could hook you more