Mutant Year Zero: Road to Edenis the first video game based on thepopular Swedish tabletop roleplaying game,Mutant Year Zero. In this fictional future, the world as we know it today has ended. After being ravaged by climate change, nuclear wars, and widespread pandemics, humanity has fallen and gave way to an uprising of “mutants” around the globe. The Ark is seen as the last sanctuary of safety with the irradiated and destroyed wasteland outside simply referred to as “The Zone.”
InMutant Year Zeroyou play as a group of scrappy scavengers that are tasked with exploring the Zone, taking out Ghoul mercenaries, psychotic cult members, and other enemies as you search for a path to survival. The setting is strong and full of potential with a satisfyingFalloutor Wasteland-esque vibe, but the execution falls a bit flat.
We just never found myself invested in the story at all. The voice acting is excellent and the characters themselves are full of personality with interested side conversations throughout the adventure, but the actual overarching plot felt about as generic as post-apocalypses can get. There is a clever sense of humor here though that really shines through despite the boring story. Luckily, it’s not all that important or necessary to find enjoyment inMutant Year Zeroas a whole. The real star here is the tactical turn-based combat.
What makesMutant Year Zerostand out most is that, unlike in games such asXCOM, you don’t get taken back to a base to manage your forces from fancy menus in between combat. Instead, there is just one large, connected world for you to explore. You take your entire party with you at all times, with up to three in a squad at any given time, and go out exploring in real-time. That’s right -- when you’re not fighting, you move around the top-down world in real-time like you’re playing an action RPG.
While in exploration mode, your main goal is to search for loot like spare scraps lying around that act as currency, weapon parts for upgrading back at the Ark, or ancient human artifacts (like iPods and defibrillators) to trade in for augmentations. You’ll also find enemies out on patrol when exploring as well, which is whereMutant Year Zero’strue genius lies.
By monitoring enemy patrol patterns you can do things like set up for an ambush with your entire squad and pick off perimeter enemies using silenced weapons before the rest of the group even knows you’re there. I don’t usually like stealth in games, but when it’s integrated into the rest of the experience so well and has real tangible benefits (thinning the enemy herd) I’m onboard.
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