Biomutant Review (PS4)
Updated: Jun 7
Developed: Experiment 101
Published: THQ Nordic
Genre: Open World action RPG
Release Date: May 25th,2021
Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/Windows
*Game provided to me by THQ Nrodic
''Not your Animal Crossing''
Biomutant is an open world action RPG game that is developed by Experiment 101 and published by THQ Nordic. With the market currently flooded with a variety of open world games nowadays, Experiment 101 attempts to create something unique and special with their newest title, Biomutant, with the hopes of turning the genre upside down and on its head. But do they succeed with realizing their vision? or is this just one title that doesn't live up to its potential or expectation? Only one way to find out, so, let's go!
A plague is ruining the land and the Tree-of-Life is bleeding death from its roots. The Tribes stand divided, in need of someone strong enough to unite them or bring them all down… Will you be able bring those divided together and stop the plague? Only you can determine the fate of the world. Will you walk in the light? or embrace the darkness.
Biomutant is an open world action RPG that has seen a very long period of development over the many years. Which means this can go either way. Either this game is going to end up a lukewarm success like Final Fantasy 15, which saw good sales numbers and decent reception , given its development time or we might have a case of Cyberpunk 2077 or a Duke Nukem Forever on our hands. Well.. ok, no.. we won't go THAT far, but you get what I am trying to say. Now I've been looking forward to this game since I first saw its announcement trailer back in like 2017 and I had extremely high expectations for it. Was it everything I hoped it would be and more? well.. yes and no. My experience with this title ended up being quite a bit of a mixed bag with both my positives and negatives. So let's just get into explaining why that is exactly, starting with its game play and overall how the game itself works for you, as the player.
As you start your game you're greeted to a character customization screen where you're able to create your own squirrel.. uhh.. raccoon.. wombat.. thing. You can change the style, look and stats of your breed of animal by selecting a Primal, Dumbdon, Rex, Hyla, etc. However, it really doesn't matter what breed you pick in regards to its stats since over the course of the regular game itself you have complete control of how you want to improve your animal, so really the only thing here to even worry about is the aesthetic and design of the animal you like the most. I chose to go with a pink and purple Dumbdon because... why not?. But now comes your real test of strength and endurance, more so than any other point in the game onwards. The beginning of this game is a massive sloth paced tutorial. I wish I was exaggerating this, but the tutorial gives off such a bad impression of the game that it has a chance of turning some people off. It has its purpose, I won't act naive and pretend it doesn't, but the opening hour of the game is exposition, stop, exposition, stop, wanna try some combat? get in a few hits, stop, exposition, stop. I found myself rolling my eyes and telling the game, OH.MY.GOD. just please let me start playing and enjoying the game and what do you know, they actually did, they heard my cries.
Once you've made it through the torture of a tutorial, you're finally able to explore the world how you want to explore it. Finally you're given the freedom to play your own adventure. Opening your map screen reveals this big and vast open world for you to explore and it looks that much bigger to you since you play as such a small little animal. One thing right off the bat you will notice this game takes a different approach than your usual open world adventure apocalypse themed game. Gone are the mundane brown and dead textures and instead is replaced with a vibrant world filled with actual color, similar to what we saw with recent titles like Immortals Fenyx Rising by Ubisoft. But while some of the environments look absolutely gorgeous when you enter open fields and plains or mountain sides, you still do notice quite a few textural problems such as pop ins, unfinished textures and designs in areas that make it look like something from the start of the generation of playstation 4, rather than at the end of it. But you have to remember only twenty or so people have actually worked on this title, so with that known fact, it makes it actually really impressive. ''So the world is great and all'' you say, ''what about the other aspects of the game play like combat, RPG elements and mechanics''. Oh ya, that's something I really should talk about, shouldn't I? oops. First let's start off with just what the heck you'll be doing with the combat side of the game play.
Biomutant combat wise can feel like a button masher hack and slash title with your main attacks being melee with swords, poles, clubs and even a Power Fist weapon that reminded me a bit of a metal power glove. Each weapon you acquire throughout your playthrough have their own use based off your playstyle. For example if you like more of a slow and mundane style, you can use a heavy sword for powerful, but snail paced combat, but if you like a faster paced combat, you can pick weapons like the meat cleaver or staff. Personally, I chose to use the staff because since were a little animal going on a journey, I thought of media such as journey to the west, monkey king and dragon ball and just imagined the staff as a power pole. That's right kids, just like South Park's imagination land, were using our big brains and fantasizing however we want to, so don't judge me. Specific weapons you obtain are also mandatory to use for specific sections of levels too, such as the Power Fist. Normally you can use it for power attacks on foes and ground slams, but this weapon is also used knock down certain walls by holding down the attack button to unleash a powerful move. This means you're able to break the walls down, ala Y2J style and find a secret area, new quest or even rare or legendary loot that will aid you in your long journey. Your main hand weapon isn't the only trick in your arsenal either, as you have both a secondary weapon, special abilities and powers that you will be able to use as well the more you level up your animal friend.
When its finally time to equip secondary weapons, you may do so by using the left arrow to select a weapon wheel for quick and easy weapon switches. These secondary attacks include regular gun, which can later in the game turn into a dual wield ability, Boomerangs, grappling hook, crossbow and many others. These attacks work in conjunction with your normal melee attacks to create various combinations of attacks. If melee combat is getting too repetitive for you, like it has the tendency to do at times, then try switching up between a melee weapon and using one of these secondary attacks to make the combat more quicker paced and more interactive. For instance if you're melee'ing with your power pole, every 3 hits, you can use a special ability that lets you jump spin and hit your opponent, upon completing this move, immediately equip your grapping hook and as soon as the animation ends, grapple towards your opponents with the weapon and pull them right towards you to continue the attack pattern. Granted this only works on enemies your size, but its still fun to do. This same strategy works as well for the next mechanic in the game that were are going to speak of and it relates to the games abilities/power ups. However, these are only able to be acquired as you level up your character and gain ability points to spend and use. Man. if you think all of this is sounding lot a lot, well then you aren't wrong, this game is far deeper in the mechanic and game play department than I've seen people give it a credit for. It's pretty insane.
To be obtain new abilities, powerups and perks, you will need to complete side quests, defeat enemies or continue the main games campaign. Upon doing so, you will gain skill points to use towards one of your main stats that relate to vitality, strength, intellect, agility, etc. This also opens up new categories labeled as Mutations. This category acts as a way to gain new abilities to use such as Mothmouth, which throws poison on your enemies, Fungi, that allows you to summon ground mushrooms to make you leap or knock opponents in the air for combat or aoe attacks like Freeze that unleashes a giant ice attack to anything near your area. These are just but a small amount of abilities you will find under mutations in your Biogenetics, Psi-powers categories. By completing tasks for NPC characters or finding special loot areas, this also allows you the chance to gain more points to raise your resistance to a bad elements like radiation and biohazard, so that you may venture into dangerous areas for even more loot and side quests to find. Hoo boy, I wish I could say we were done, but I got to harness my inner billy may's with this one. So here it goes. BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE!. Enter the Wung Fu category.
If I'm going to be honest, maybe this game is too in depth for its own good. like this goes on for days it seems. This category houses even MORE ways to upgrade your attacks and I mean all of them...for EVERY. SINGLE. WEAPON. Each category of close combat, ranged, etc has their own set of moves to unlock. For instance in Close Combat category you can choose to upgrade new attacks/skills for Unarmed, one handed, dual wield, tribe weapons. Ranged being the same with guns, rifles, shotguns, boomerang ,crossbow, etc. All of these have their own separate upgrades trees. This means you have dozens of different categories to upgrade, with each having even more skills to unlock for that specific weapon itself. Its a little overwhelming, if I'm going to be honest, especially since majority of the attacks you acquire and even power ups, you will probably never even use in the first place because not all of them give you an advantage at all. So it's really just down to how much of a time sink you want to put in at the end of the day. You do you. As far as your perk system, it's really the same tried and true formula were all used to, upgrade class skills that increase loot chance, replenish ki energy, health regen, attack percentage, and so forth. You've been here, you've done this before. Badda bing badda boom.
Selecting between weapons using your controller arrows to select main hand and off hand weapons is pivotal for using in high stake combat fights, but it also comes in rather handy to use for consumables and mounts. If you find yourself getting your butt handed to you by an enemy, at any time, press the up arrow to find and select the item you need at the time, maybe a health pack or ki energy boost. Same holds true by holding the down arrow to select from the many mounts you have at your disposal that range from goats, bats, walking gold fingers that shoot bullets.. for some reason and even speed boats and sharks. They're all fun as hell to use and they all have their own unique uses(bat for gliding, boat/shark for ocean traversing). Some of them, like the mech, are even mandatory to use vs the world eater bosses later in the game because you need its fire power to bring it to its knees. But out of all the stuff I just named, I think the most fun feature of anything in this game is actually the gear system. Much like you see in other games like a FallOut, Outriders or a Destiny, you will acquire Rare or Legendary gear while you are out exploring the world, only this time, each piece of gear you come across is entirely customizable. Yes that's right, everything. If you find a handle, find a blade or a battery, you can make any weapon you want out of it and mix and match. The same holds similar to head gear, shoulders, torso or legs. Whatever junk or spare parts you find out in the open world, you will be able to weld it to your current gear for small or massive stat upgrades, so you can be an even more formidable opponent towards the other tribes you can take down or befriend. Which speaking of tribes, this is actually going to play a BIG role in not only how the world is shaped, but how people in the game perceive you. This relates to the morale system.
As you playthrough the main campaign, you will be tasked with picking a tribe to align with. One tribe seeks to destroy the world tree and thus bringing the potential end to the world, while the other tribe wants to keep the tree safe and unite all tribes in peace. Depending on whichever side you take, it will turn your aura to light or dark, each side affecting how the civilians of the world view you. Join the bad tribe and choose to invade every other tribe in the game and take down their Sifu and you will be feared and hated. Join the peace seeking tribe and spare your enemies and the world will love you and cherish you. This means whichever side you take in your roughly 15-20 hours main story campaign, to get the full experience, you will need a second playthrough to see just what you missed if you had picked another side. I went with the darker side because well.. I just went back and thought about my time in the original Fable when I slayed my sister, just to get a cool sword, but now this time, I get to control the world? oh heck yes I'm in. Conquering each tribe can be fun at first too, but after awhile, it does become a bit repetitive since a lot of the same tropes like mini boss fight, clear out this room, catapult here, is repeated over and over.
Harping on again about the world map once more and I cant express enough how much I love this world. Sure it may seem a bit empty here and there, but its so much fun to explore because the world actually feels lived in, it feels unique and alive and using your mounts to explore makes it feel that much more immersive to me. Especially when you always have your bug friend automaton at your side that acts like a back up weapon. Think of the NieR Automata machine gun and you have a rough idea of what I'm talking about. It can be upgraded as well, albeit in minor ways such as becoming a glider or offering you a flash light in dark areas. Minimal, but it works well enough. The world of Biomutant is also home to a multitude of great characters who are either very silly or very serious. One of the earliest characters in the game that made me laugh was this squirrel looking animal that wore a jacket like he was fonzie from happy days, but his mumbled speech sounded like he was singing Elvis. Then other characters like this scientist fat chipmunk, at least it looks like one, holds himself in the air using his tail, so it looks like he's floating and to me he just looks like Doc Oct from Spider-Man. Those are just some examples of characters I loved, but if I wrote about all of them, I'd be here for another week. Now you've heard about all the mechanics, combat, mounts, world, characters. Most of it sounds awesome right? well ya because it is. But it's not all gumdrop buttons and little caesars pizza, I wish. There were quite a few issues I had in the game that were either game breaking or actual nuisances that hindered my experience overall.
First off like I stated earlier on in this review, the first hour of the game is such a dang slog. Maybe others won't have the same issue with it that I did but it felt like a chore to play through due to the game talking to you more than it needs to do rather than letting you experience the game play and learning it yourself. It would've been better suited to have a text box showing you what to do, rather than spending 15 minutes having an NPC telling you everything, step by step. My secondary issue with the game are the frame rate dips. These don't happen all the time but when they do pop up while you're entering a different area or riding around with a mount, you literally see it and feel it. Your screen freezes for a good 3-4 seconds, making you think its going to crash, but ultimately lets you keep on playing. Its something that I'm sure will be fixed in future patches, but right now, it can feel pretty rough. My third and final issue with the game is the biggest one and most pivotal and these are the game breaking glitches I encountered during the main games campaign when you venture across to the corners of the land to defeat the gigantic monsters known as the world eaters. When you're tasked with heading to the North Eastern World Eater location to save a friendly monster known as the MJut, its supposed to be ridable after saving it, however, the AI has a chance of not responding and it runs around aimlessly. Going back to the quest giver, Noko, the cutscene that you saved Mjut plays like normal, but when the scene is done, its nowhere to be found and exiting the game and coming back will not spawn it. Your only hope is to pray you had previously manually saved at some point before that mission or else you have to start a new game over again. Yes I even tried finding him on my mount selection wheel and in my main menu, he did not show up. Luckily I had a save file and was able to rectify this.
I really wish that was the only game breaking glitch I had though because we still have two more. The second game breaking glitch occurs when you are on your way to defeat the Hoof Puff world eater monster, in which you need a specific mount to be able to pull down the wall that leads to him, however, if you get off your mount when enemies attack you, this will cause your goat mount to be super glued into the ground. He can not run, can not jump or even move, he's stuck and once again you have to pray you have a game saved before this mission or game over for you buddy. Last but not least is a smaller one and not necessarily game breaking but it happens immediately after you defeat the Porky Puff world eater, soon as he starts moving into the second phase of the fight, your game freezes and your entire system crashes. Thankfully right before the mission itself, the game autosaves and you only lose maybe 5 min of your time. Not too shabby. Those are some of the major issues I encountered, most other stuff are either very minimal or nit picky.
When its all said and done, Biomutant actually manages to be an extremely fun game and I'm not personally seeing all the same issues some other reviewers have seen or recalled. Combat at times can get repetitive yes, but I still found it engaging by mixing up my secondary attacks like the crossbow with special abilities like ice freeze to change up the pace. I loved exploring this open world and finding new areas to traverse, introducing a moral system that actually felt impactful made you feel like you were really making a difference in the world, good or bad, amazing monster designs and variety that made for some very engaging boss fights, a beefy game with hundreds of weapons, gear and side quests to uncover and puzzles to solve which gives the game a crap ton of playability. All of these together you'd think I'm about to say ''buy it now'' right?. Well, kind of, yes and no. While yes, in my heart as someone who loved this game, I'm inclined to say please buy this game now, but I have to be unbiased here completely and give a truthful response to you as the viewer. I can't get over the frame rate dipping, the recycled tribe quests that take up a good 5-6 hours of the game that mostly feel the same, game breaking glitches that can completely ruin your game by forcing you to restart and random game crashes in general, have opted me to not rush to a ''buy now'' verdict. Is the game worth purchasing overall? I believe it is. However, do I RECOMMEND buying it right now? I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to say no. Until these glitches and issues are fixed, I'm going to have to say wait for it to at least hit the $40 price mark before pulling the trigger on it and that sucks to say considering all Experiment 101 has achieved here. So with that being said, my verdict is quite clear.