Review: Mutant Year Zero
Turn-based strategy games, which can be seen as scarce in these seasons. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden brings this back in all its glory and uniqueness. Read all about it in our review!
Mutant Year Zero is one of those games that you expect in advance to be doomed to failure. But this title came as a surprise to me. This game is truly unique in just about every way. Where with almost every turn-based game you get an intro-cinematic before you start a fight, with this game you have to be tactical before the actual fight. Check out the trailer below to get an idea of the game!
Tactics at every step
As mentioned before, there is no pause before a battle begins. If you see a group of enemies, you are not meant to run towards them face-first. You can, but it won't work out well for you. As the attack button says, it's an ' Ambush!'. You can take different positions with your team before starting the attack. Once the ambush button is pressed, the attack will start immediately. So make sure you use your sneaking and position yourself and your team well. The advantage is that you are free to switch characters at any time! If you think tactically well, you can take out a group of enemies without them ever realizing you were there. But it is almost never that easy, as the game can be very challenging. Your team can die pretty quickly and it's up to you to make sure anyone who wants to die during a round doesn't, of course.
When you start a fight, you start with the character you started your ambush with. You start the game with 2 moves per character. Shooting or other heavy actions immediately end your move. Eventually you will get more skills with which you can extend this, this will broaden your tactics. This way you unlock a lot of skills, but more about that later! The game plays smoothly, works great with controller or mouse and keyboard and every move counts, so be smart!
Everything to the sharks
Mutant Year Zero is set in post-apocalyptic Scandinavia, where food and other amenities are no longer self-evident and where you really have to search for the smallest tools. Stalkers are sent down from the Ark . The Ark is one of the few human communities. These are sent into the wild to look for food and other resources, or well, especially to steal them. There will be a lot of enemies on your way. You will compete against bandits, ghouls, feral dogs and you name it. Sometimes it happens that you find some resources somewhere in a corner, but in general you don't get your stuff that easily. You start the game with Dux and Bormin. Immediately I thought of the 'Looney Tunes on Steroids '. These are two of the playable stalkers, eventually you will find more. They are mutated animals who want to provide the Ark with wealth, just like their mates. Wealth in stuff of course!
You soon notice that expanding gear and skills is quite extensive. You can put together entire builds that best suit the characters and the way you use them. For example, Dux starts with a crossbow and Bormin with a kind of Shotgun, or Scattergun. It always takes a while before you can upgrade weapons, as resources are scarce. This really gives you a bit of a survival feeling and it also fits with the grim atmosphere of the game. Nothing is obvious, you have to look for your stuff and that is not always easy.
Big, grim and out of the box
The map for Mutant Year Zero is not one to scoff at. There are a dozen zones to explore. You always come across the same type of buildings. Not in design, but in name. You often come across schools, restaurants, small houses and so on. The best part about this is just looking around for scraps and food. This way you can immediately see every corner of the game. You will often encounter enemies that are still way too high for your level, you will have to avoid them and here you will have to return at a later time. This is something games like Pokémon often do to increase the replayability of certain areas!
The game looks good graphically, especially for an XCOM type game. The atmosphere is grim, there is a lot of fog and effects like rain also look sublime. The UI can be a bit large and a bit in the way at times, but the graphic design of your characters makes up for this a lot. The graphics also fit perfectly with the theme of the game and, in combination with the characters, bring the atmosphere to a good end. In terms of sound and dialogue, the game itself is fine! Some sounds of footsteps or actions are not very well developed, but the overall quality is at a good level. Voices seem very emotionless at first, but after a while this gets a lot better.
Mutant Year Zero is a unique, atmospheric and above all duckin' cool game. It's one that you wouldn't expect to have such a unique outcome. The tactical approach is completely different than we are used to, graphically the game fits the atmosphere perfectly and the gameplay itself is superb. Apart from some minor hiccups, I would have no reason to wait to buy this game, it is completely worth the 35 Euro!
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