by Joel France
previewed on PC
A Long Time Coming
This year marks the third Gamescom Biomutant has been shown — it’s becoming somewhat of a tradition. Experiment 101 have always seen this game as a passion project, and as they work through what is now their QA stage, it must be satisfying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But what have we got to look forward to?
A Lot Of Ground To Cover
Biomutant’s post-apocalyptic nature reserve is a fairly sizeable one, and the travel options are thankfully plentiful. Each area has a distinct vehicle or mount that allows smooth traversal of the region. We saw a mech suit, a squid-like submarine, and even an airship — all of which come with their own strengths and uses. There are big bad boss fights lurking in the corners of each region, and these mounts will be crucial in overcoming them. Whilst there will be a lot to discover, the decision has been made to limit quest markers and pop ups — the only marker you’ll have on screen is the ‘main’ quest reminder, all side quests will be much more fluid, involving paying close attention to the machinations of the inhabitants around you. This will be important, as the warring tribes you meet along the way have a large impact on the experience.
The leaders of the tribes you meet on your journey are all aligned in different ways with the game’s morality system, inspired by the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. You can work with these tribe leaders to take over outposts and shape the balance of the world, but the way in which you choose to help can affect how the leader will act going forward. It’s a nice touch that means even helping the ‘bad’ tribes can have positive outcomes for both your character and the world as a whole. Once a tribes moved into an outpost, they’ll open loot shops, sell items for crafting, and generally provide what a classic RPG town is meant to. The tribes can help you in a number of ways, but your progress won’t be gated if you have a falling out — for example, a glass door that requires a key from a tribe leader can be bypassed if you’re able to somehow generate enough heat to melt straight through it.
Another key benefit of helping a particular tribe is that the leader will train you in specific fighting skills as your allegiance with them deepens. This opens up new avenues of combat that look to provide a pretty deep and engaging battle system. In addition to your fighting prowess, any weapons that you find or craft are limited not by ammo but by the balance between strong or fast hits, as well as weapons that will need a moment to recharge after use. This is an intentional choice to avoid the endless foraging of consumable drops which would take precious focus away from Biomutant’s action. Weapon creation is grouped into certain classes, but you can craft something dangerous from just about anything.
Time To Shine
With the release date now pinned for sometime in 2019, time is ticking for the game to be out in the wild. There was much discussed at our meeting that we didn’t get a chance to see, like DNA strings being used to level up and gain certain characteristics, or the scope of crafting for weapons and clothing. Whilst more features are always welcome, it’s important that they mesh together into a cohesive experience. As it stands, the Biomutant we saw is shaping up to have some promise, if all the separate elements can come together in the final version.