Biomutant is a game I have been intrigued by since its very first trailer, but for a reason I will address later there was always something stopping me playing it. Originally launching in May 2021 for last gen only, an upgraded current gen version released earlier this month. You play as the titular Biomutant, a small raccoon-like creature you create and design from the opening moments of the game with complete power over the stats it favours. Varying from a stocky, strong yet slow build to a more slight but quick specimen, and everything in between, the choice is yours as to how you build the Biomutant for your game. This is a great idea for any playthroughs you may start after your first, and while the game does its best to accommodate any choices you make, it’s not easy to know what your preferred playstyle will be until you actually begin the game.
One immediate detail about Biomutant which gets under my skin and was a constant source of irritation is how every character speaks in a gibberish dialect with a narrator speaking over them explaining what they are saying. This works fine in other mediums where someone has to explain what animals or monsters are thinking or saying, but would it have been such a challenge for normal human voices to have been used in the game? Within the first hour I found myself wanting to mute all character dialogue and just read the subtitles, which luckily is an option in the audio menu so that sorted my problem!
While I’m complaining, the combat sound effects for the guns sound great on-screen but are truly awful through the DualSense controller. In fact, this is the first ever instance for me in a game where I have had to disable the controller speaker in order to continue playing as it became so infuriatingly grating within the very first minutes of gameplay.
The humour, if you can call it that, seldom lands for me. It was early on when a character was a clear parody of Elvis that I began to think I’d be in for a rough time, and while this wasn’t helped by the overly long flashback segments, after a couple of hours I found myself more contentedly immersed in the world. The humour never really improved but at least the attempts at it, which I caught anyway, become more scarce.
Onto the aspects where the game shines; the visuals of the world are, at times, excellent. I do appreciate that there is very little filler when it comes to the design of the open world. First impressions when you see the map unfold before you indicate it doesn’t have much going for it size wise, but upon setting out on your adventure it quickly becomes apparent that the game is only as big as it needs to be. I wish more games like Biomutant and Shadow of Mordor would understand that bigger doesn’t always translate into better.
I am also a big fan of the design choice where your characters drops from running bipedally to all fours when you begin to sprint, meaning I was never in any doubt of the fact that I was traversing the world at max speed. Less attention has been afforded to the vehicles I have accessed so far, which aren’t quite as snappy in their speed meaning I’m regularly selecting what I think is acceleration only for my current crawl to become even slower.
I have been having a great time with the combat. I made my character a fairly small Saboteur with an emphasis on speed in the creation menu. I enjoy hammering square and triangle in melee combat with the option to quickly retreat and mash R2 to lay down firepower whenever I choose to. There’s something about the reloading animations I find very satisfying, which compliments the generally positive feeling I have towards to combat overall. I just wish it would always work when I first tell it to and I wouldn’t have to insistently keep tapping R1 until my Biomutant realises I’m trying to reload.
The reason I alluded to at the beginning of this review as to why I did not experience Biomutant sooner is because the game looked interesting for more of a lower budget game, but for some reason it stubbornly held its launch price and has seldom dropped at all. I am glad I waited until the PS5 release, and I think this review would be quite a bit more brutal if I had paid full price for it at launch last year.
I have enjoyed my time with Biomutant, but I don’t think it does enough to keep players wanting to continue exploring its world and the various factions you can interact with throughout the game. I found after the first few hours there were no new additions to gameplay other than upgraded powers I would unlock but immediately forget about, as the standard button-mashing gameplay works perfectly well as it is. The world is pretty, if shallow, but I never found anyone I interacted with likeable, interesting, funny, relatable or in anyway engaging to the point I cared about them or their problems. All they would ever do when given half a chance was talk my ear off about nothing in particular, which isn’t the sort of thing you want in a game which encourages multiple playthroughs.
The colours of the world really pop and encourage open world exploration to uncover resources, but I’d often groan when I had to talk to anybody, not entirely dissimilar to real life. I enjoyed the combat in bursts, but found longer fights against bosses or tankier enemies would try my patience by the end. There’s nothing to hate in Biomutant, once character audio is disabled anyway, but it doesn’t do anything new or interesting which is a shame considering the interest I had in it until I started playing. If there ever is a sequel I think it could be a big hit if lessons are learnt from this game, which I score
6 / 10
Written, edited and images sourced by Alexx.
Review code supplied by publisher / developer.