I’m going to start with review a little differently then the previous ones by stating that I’ve encountered so many issues with getting the game started and set for a review for day one release (December 4, 2018) because of the incompetence of the developers I missed that day. The way this was handled by the developers was just plain bad. I wasn’t the only one who had a Press key that was having this issue. Reaching out to them they didn’t offer any help just the basic answers that were given in the instructions when the key was sent out.
I had to do more digging myself and It took almost 4 days to get it to work. What fixed it wasn’t any special patch for people encountering this issue (Since people who bought the game were able to get it to work for the head start), It was just taking off the special “Press Review” status of the game switching it to the basic version which fixed it a day after the head start well started. Someone who had a press key suggested it to me and said even he had issues getting a hold of a developer. Anyway with that being said let’s get into the review of the game.
“From a team including former designers of HITMAN and PAYDAY comes Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, a tactical adventure game that combines the turn-based combat of XCOM with real-time stealth and exploration of a post-human world reclaimed by nature… and Mutants. Of course the world ends.
It was just a question of time. Extreme climate change, global economic crisis, a lethal pandemic, and increasing tension between old and new superpowers. For the first time since 1945 nuclear weapons were used in armed conflict. Mushroom clouds rose from east to west before the dust settled.
Now it’s over and the Earth is still. Nature has invaded ruined cities. Wind sweeps through empty streets, turned into graveyards.
The humans are all gone. Scavenging through the remains of civilization are the Mutants, deformed humanoids and animals alike, searching for salvation or just something to eat. To survive, you and your companions must venture out to explore the Zone.
Maybe one day you will find the Eden of legends, the ancients’ haven in the middle of hell. That’s where truth awaits, the stories say. Maybe you will find your answers there.
Then again, maybe it’s all bullshit.”
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden tries to play like an XCOM game or Divinity Original Sins games. Where it has smooth turn based combat but fails to have the layers that both those games listed about have. You can set yourself up like you would in either game to prepare yourself for a battle or to go around but once you are in a battle it’s pretty straight forward. The tactical aspect is there but it again shouldn’t be compared to XCOM with (It’s far easier and there aren’t random generated enemies or even loot). Movement outside of combat is with w,a,s,d and it feels quite natural and makes it easy for the player to get into place for an attack or to avoid enemies.
Some of the skills don’t work properly (as of now while writing this review). Which make it frustrating an example would be Dux’s wings which are supposed to be his special move, for some reason no matter where I place him no any map I can’t seem to use it. Other people have reported this issue so this one might be fixed later on. This really hinders utilizing him to his full potential. What’s interesting though is that each of the characters you can have on your squad do play drastically differently since you can stealth combat if you played your cards right (Which means using a character with a silencer or dux and timing kills.
Which in a lot of the cases can be done very easily). The difficulty for enemies varies which makes combat kind of like a gamble where the AI will be as dumb as a rock or as smart as another player. (You’ll get the latter very few times. More times if you choose the Ironman difficulty though). I mentioned earlier lightly about the no randomized enemies or even more then scripted loot. If you clear an area when you go back there is nothing there which takes the fun out of farming for materials or even med packs (which if you play decently good you won’t need to farm those). The camera is about average for games in this genre nothing to complain about or nothing to shed light on either.
One of the best parts of this game is the soundtrack. It made the missions that were just bland/boring fun. The music adds charm to the game to fit it’s unique aesthetics and in my full play through it never once made me look at the time to see if I should get off. Music is extremely important when it comes to games since it can help ease the mind of the player. In this case It did it perfectly for me. I never planned to beat the game in one setting but the soundtrack kept me rocking and in the mood to play. Whoever was the one in charge should get a pat on the back.
The voice acting was a mixed bag for me. Some moments the actors were perfect in displaying the emotion that fits for the scene whether it’s a dark humor moment or a serious moment. Then there were moments where they tried to hard and it showed in the execution of the lines that should have been fun or should have been serious. (Mainly the character Bormin had this issue where it was mixed). The villains (ghouls) were portrayed as expected nothing great or bad about them.
The story is interesting enough to want to know more but not written well enough to where you have to pay attention to know what is going on. It’s a simple but enjoyable which is a tad bit disappointing because of how well it starts out writing wise. They make good use of typical tropes without making them seem like they are dry. There isn’t really anything that stands out enough to point out. The dialogue was better than the story (Since there is constant banter throughout the game). On paper the writing for it fits the tone of the game and in most cases the scene. (The execution by voice actors made it or broke the dialogue). For the most part the writing was witty and spot on (Good mix of pop culture references without being so blunt with them like some games). More or less the player will chuckle throughout the duration of the game.
Sadly the game has really low replay value. Every play-through is exactly the same but with just harder enemies or medkits don’t fully heal your characters (Depending on the difficulty). There is no choice system, enemies don’t re spawn, loot is exactly the same. The story doesn’t stand out enough to give it another go just out of pure enjoyment. The game is short around 10-12 hours to beat (Taking your time). Once you have done it you’ve seen it all and done it all. Unless you are an achievement hunter then replay value will be incredibly low.
The graphics are pretty unique to where you can tell they were handcrafted and designed to standout. They have a rather graphic novel like feel to it but not traditional graphic novel style. The backgrounds are rich with colors and detail. It fits quite well with the character models to where both make the other look better. Funcom succeeded in this department. The animations on the models are perfect, the effects on the environment blend well. Overall things are smooth and I ran into no issues in this department.
It was a bumpy start and the miss communication from the developers put a sour taste in my mouth which was somewhat washed out by their game but still has sourness even after beating it. There was so much more they could have done with the game (At the price tag of $35). The deluxe edition at $54 is just… bad. Overall I was highly disappointed because the game didn’t live up to the hype and the way they handled the game and community just added on to that. I know I’ve said that in many different ways throughout the review I just wanted to express just how much of an issue that is at least to me other wise I wouldn’t be bringing it up so often. With that in mind if you want a simple tactical game with stealth elements, a nice sound track, and great graphics then give this game a go but remember the story is short. For those that are unsure just wait for it to go on sale.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden can be bought for Steam and consoles December 4, 2018.