What? another post apocalyptic survival game!!
- Developer: The Bearded Ladies Consulting
- Publisher: Funcom
- Genre: Single player Turn based Strategy
- Release Date: 4/12/18
- Platforms: Xb1/PS4/Pc
- Reviewed on: PS4/XB1
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
As much as i’m frustrated that we have yet another post apocalyptic game, a subject covered many times and with more still to come, you have to credit Mutant Year Zero, road to Eden for bringing something new, fresh and exciting to the table.
First of all, turn based strategy games I find immensely boring for the most part due to the micro management of the troops, laboriously getting them into position for either a completely boring one sided surprise attack, or more frustratingly, getting something slightly wrong and it all goes to pot, and you have to start again. However, Mutant, nails that balance of accessibility and strategy superbly. For the most part you control one of three characters in a 3rd person over the top view, and can, and do have to at times, simply sneak your team through enemy areas avoiding combat like a normal game. It’s only at your choosing that the turn based combat kicks in.
When it does, the combat is very organic, simple, but hard to master. VERY hard actually. Each of your team can move different distances, then shoot different types of weapons, for example Dux has a silent crossbow, but Bormin has a loud shotgun. They also have grenades, upgrades, and med packs to heal or revive downed teammates. One large gripe I found with the game was to revive a fallen teammate, you are supposed to stand near them, then use a medipack on them. However, many times, even standing right next or over them, failed to revive them. The game makes you only able to revive from certain directions.
Initially the combat was fun, learning what each player could do, how to use them best, in what formation, sneak or go in blazing etc, but it didn’t take long for the games difficulty to ramp up exponentially to soon become a right headache! Part of the reason for this was the game doesn’t explain or show how far or what certain enemies can do or move to. So you may think your far enough away, but soon find out your not. Add to this, the game didn’t explain things like what the enemy Medi Bots or Leaders could do. You only find out in the midst of a battle, and normally in how you lost.
Add to this lack of explanation, comes the sudden uprize in difficulty. You simply can’t follow the storyline, you have to go explore. There is very little, if none, leeway, as if you don’t go exploring to upgrade, you’ll simply be too underpowered to progress. For example, the first enemies you meet are one shot kill level one’s. The next level 5, and then soon after you face level 10 enemies, some of whom take around 6 hits to die, but your team is still only around level 5. In fact it’s only the first enemies you face in the game that are level one at all!! My issue with the game balancing is, the difficulty starts at normal, but even that is rock hard, so it gets frustrating if you just want to enjoy the story ( like me ) when the characters, and the story and characters are excellent.
There isn’t a real explanation to begin with as to why you start the game as a walking, talking duck and pig, you just accept it, but the excellent voice acting, with superb witty narrative, soon draws you in. How many times you can replace the word “F@@K” with the word Duck, are explored a lot here. So as the voice acting and dialogue was great, I soon became interested and interested in the story. I didn’t want to be bogged down, but I soon was.
As combat became harder, I decided to just try and sneak my way through areas, which I found I could. All was well until I got near the end of an area only to find the only way to progress was to start combat. Hopelessly outnumbered, and out leveled I decided i’d have to go back to find other ways to level up. However, going back to one section instantly spawned me right next to enemies ( who again outnumbered me and out leveled me ) to finish me off easily. In short I was stuck between going back and moving forward. Eventually after a lot of dying I managed to get back to my base hub ( the Ark ) to level up a bit but it still wasn’t enough, so I had to abandon following the story arc ( despite the character saying we need to hurry ) to go explore elsewhere, to level up. The game basically forced me to play it the way it wanted me, not how I wanted to.
Finally, the graphics and artwork are superb. For a game that has the camera distance quite a way off, the world looks like a living breathing organic place, with lots of detail and care being taken to make the environments interesting and lavish. Walking through woods you find abandoned campsites, crashed planes, and all look weathered, old and detailed. Add to this there was a good variety of environments too. Wooded areas, harbours, caves, snow capped mountains, there is a lot to see. The lighting was also excellent, especially the night time light and shade.
Audio was excellent too with superb moody and very atmospheric background music, along with the easy to hear and crisp dialogue
Although the game is hard, the payoff for that is that there is such a sense of achievement for winning encounters, even minor ones. As long as you didn’t want to rush through the game for it’s story you will love what this game delivers. The only real downside is, although you can choose where to go or what encounters to get involved with, the truth is, you pretty much have to play the game the way the developers wanted you too. It’s deceptive in that it might look like you have choice, but you don’t really.
However for a game under £25, that will take around 25-30 hours to complete, with an excellent amount of quality content it’s hard not to recommend this excellent game especially those who want something good, but different. Be prepared for it’s brutal difficulty, even on the normal game mode, and learn to save often right before every encounter, so you’ll then be able to inch your way forward, and enjoy something really quite unique and entertaining indeed.