Biomutant Review (PS5)
I should have listened…
Publisher: THQ Nordic
I’m sure all of us have at least one game that interests you, but you couldn’t or didn’t want to pick it up at that time. As a year passes after it’s release date and you’re reminded about that game, you think “huh, I wonder how the game is now and maybe I should pick it up sometime soon to finally play it”. Biomutant was one of those games for me. I heard about it when it originally released a year ago, including the mixed reception to it, but I didn’t get around to it. This year I actually did remember it and was planning on renting it, but I took up the opportunity to review it when the next gen upgrade came along.
While the story in Biomutant as three parts to it, it’s actually pretty simple (and maybe even cliche). The world of Biomutant actually takes place years after humans ruined Earth after a corporation and a dumb idea to dump toxic chemicals into the ocean and landfills hoping that they would deteriorate over time. Humans have long since left in spaceships (or Arks), but the plants and animals have since evolved to what it is now.
Diving into when you come in, the end of the world is upon us. A large tree called The Tree of Life is dying, due to a combination of a plague and creatures gnawing on its roots, and it’s up to you to either save it or destroy it.
While Biomutant does have a mascot to represent the game, there is a character creator to create how your character will look like. What I really like is that nothing is set in stone stats wise, as it only is just how your starting stats will be. There are six different breeds you can choose from and you can further mutate yourself when determining your starting stats as it will change how your character will look. A character with high agility will look different than one with high intellect. You will also choose your class to determine what you specialize in combat wise. You can choose to specialize in long-ranged gun combat, melee, or psionic powers. Personally, I went with whatever was the cutest appearance wise and then whatever class I thought I would like the most.
There are only three voices (not counting the gibberish every character speaks) that you’ll hear. Two of them are the light and dark fairies that will pop up whenever you make a choice. You see, there is a light and dark, or good and bad, morality system here. The decisions and choices you make can give you points in Light or Dark, which affect your overall aura. However, it doesn’t really affect much from what I can tell. Weirdly enough, you can just add points to both as it doesn’t act as a sliding scale. It mainly affects what Psi Powers you’ll have as some are determined by how much points you have in Light or Dark Aura.
The other voice you’ll hear, which you’ll hear for the whole game, is the Narrator as he’ll come in during conversations, cutscenes, and randomly while exploring. Having a Narrator chime in every so often and also translate what characters are saying was quirky starting out, but it soon just got annoying. The way the Narrator translates character dialogue turned out to be annoying as it’s told to you like a rough translation and summarization of what was said. And it was annoying waiting for the gibberish characters will speak to end before the Narrator can speak out the lines. I guess all in all, I didn’t like how the character dialogue was written like a summarization of what they said and the Narrator was not good in the big doses that you’ll get in Biomutant.
Finally getting to the combat, I didn’t end up liking or enjoying the combat even from the start. I did think it was one of those games you have to give it time, but I never got to liking it. It just didn’t feel that good to use for me. There are different weapon types, both melee and ranged, that you can use that have their own style and handling. You, of course, can dodge away from attacks, attack with your melee weapon and/or gun (which you can transition between the two if you want), and activate the two, three combos you have available to defeat enemies. Though you do have to remember to reload your gun when you notice it running low of bullets. There are also Psi Powers you can use if you build your character to use them and you can activate Super Wung-Fu if you pull off three special attacks. However, Super Wung-Fu is very underwhelming, at least as a melee build. Super Wung-Fu last for only a couple seconds and the moves you can do feels weak or not worth going into the state to use.
Early on, you get introduced to tribes, starting you with two to choose and later finding out that there are six tribes in total. Of course, the morality system does chime in here as half of them are Dark and half of them are Light. You goal here is to either end the Tribe Wars by either reuniting everyone or destroying everyone else. Each tribe has their own values and end goal and will have a rival tribe they’re at war with. I do feel the decision of choosing a tribe comes a bit too early, as you’re not even out of the tutorial stage yet, you barely got out of the starting bunker, and your character doesn’t even remember their childhood yet, but it’s negated a bit by the fact that you can switch tribes as long as it’s not a current rival tribe. While each tribe is either Light or Dark, you’re not gated by your aura value at all (you can go into a Dark Aura tribe while having an overall Light Auro). However, it turns out that your ending is dependent on your tribe aura affiliation which is a weird decision.
There is also a crafting system here, which is pretty much needed as there won’t be much level appropriate gear you’ll find while exploring. You can modify your clothing to make it stronger against attacks (though it does make it look a bit goofier). You can also make your own weapons, getting to pick what each part will be which can be towards its damage input or just how it looks (like who doesn’t want a katana with a banana handle?). Of course, you will have to have the needed resources through looting the areas and enemies you encounter or dismantling stuff that you’re not using and outgrown.
Performance wise though, I didn’t run into any problems as it performs really well on the PS5. I did end up encountering a bug early on that needed me to restart to progress, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Sometimes there are games that you just don’t know whether to listen to reviews and/or players or just go with your gut that you would (probably) like the game in question. Sometimes, it works out when you disregard one (or both) when you’re sure that you’ll most likely like the game in question…and sometimes it’s not. For this time, it turned out to be right to listen to everyone about how Biomutant was like. While I didn’t mind the story (thought I did like your character’s backstory) and the narrator himself, I didn’t like the way dialogue was written, the narrator turned from being a quirky aspect to just annoying, I did not enjoy the combat, and the game turned out to be bland.
Even with tempering my expectations before I started playing, I can’t recommend Biomutant. Yes there are those that did and will end up liking Biomutant, but I couldn’t get into the game and did not enjoy playing it no matter how many times I went back to it and tried to power through.