You couldn’t be blamed for forgetting that Biomutant exists. Well, it doesn’t quite exist yet it’s still in development but that’s my point. Biomutant was first announced in 2017. Yet we’ve only gotten small drips of information about the post-apocalyptic Kung Fu RPG since then. Those who might have forgotten about it could just as easily be reminded by a very quick description of it being the game about a bunch of bizarre monster animals trying to save the world. Odds are that type of description will find its way to sticking in the back of your mind somewhere. The game has a lot going for it stylistically, as it mixes character creation and customization with the sprawling RPG and a heroic story that puts you in the mix and forces you to navigate your way through it with the skill sets and resources that you have available to you.
Biomutant’s world is a big part of its draw. While it is post-apocalyptic, there is a society here that has a lot of ins and outs in different facets that are not only worth paying attention to but are integral to understanding the story. In a nutshell there are six main tribes that have formed since the previous societal systems had collapsed. Half of these tribes want to restore order and the other half have more self-serving agendas. Your character’s job will be to deal with these various differences between the tribes as you strive for the greater goals. Whether that be through mending the bridges between them all or aligning yourself with one tribe and seeking dominance over the others seems to largely be up to you. But dealing with them one way or another is going to be a huge part of your story as you set out on your journey in this broken world.
This type of dynamic opens up a lot of narrative doors for obvious reasons, but it also opens up a lot of gameplay doors. certain missions may or may not be impacted by how you’ve interacted with certain tribes. This is all impacted greatly by the layers added from the karma system that the developers have confirmed exists as well as the branching story paths that your decisions will lead you to. Interlocking story paths and alternate outcomes are no small feat to add into a game like this, which is why so few games really take advantage of these ideas to great extents.
The truth is, this makes Biomutant an incredibly ambitious project, and I’d wager is likely a large reason why it’s taking so much longer to make than how many of us had hoped it would. It’s compounded even more by the fact that you can establish companionships with various NPC characters that will follow you around and fight alongside you if you choose. Reportedly this aspect could also alter the story in various ways and could lead to different paths in the narrative that otherwise might not have been accessible.
The depth of the world wouldn’t add up to a whole lot if it wasn’t presented extremely well though and it looks like Biomutant understands that with a gorgeous world that has a lot of variety, both visually and gameplay-wise. large open planes and other types of topography have been shown in official footage of the game so far, and that seems to be greatly expanded upon with the game’s exploration. It really seems like they’re trying to craft a world here that you’re going to want to explore, not just need to, and that’s the right way to do it. An open world game like this needs to be as visually appealing and inviting as possible, and making that as true as possible seems to be what Biomutant is laser focused on right now.
So while the narrative world-building is definitely going to be one of Biomutant’s strongest suits, the game play will also be one of its more fleshed-out elements. This is not going to be a small game, nor will it be a simple game, so the moment-to-moment gameplay will reflect that with lots of exploring, deep combat, and various other tasks to keep you busy for many hours on end. To start things off you will of course be customizing your character much like you would at the beginning of most other RPGs. Strength, Vitality, Charisma, intellect, agility and luck are all facets that you’ll be choosing to emphasize or not. You can also greatly alter their physical appearance again much like you would see in RPGs today, so if you were worried about this being a thin experience then you can probably put those fears away as you will have plenty of control over your character and how they start out.
Once you get your character together and set off into the world you will start to see how the attributes that you chose impact the way that your character plays. Of course, the way that you choose your attributes when it comes to strength and agility will impact your playstyle somewhat, you will always be subjected to the same deep combat system that gives way to lots of stylish moves that the developer affectionately referred to as “gun-fu”. This is the department where a lot of RPGs tend to slack off a bit so they can spend time focusing on other more role playing focused elements, but Biomutant does not appear to be making that trade with a deep, flashy, and rewarding combat system that gives no quarter to the idea of just mashing buttons and watching your experience bar fill up.
Weapon variety is looking impressive with a wealth of options both melee and projectiles that are sure to complement any and all play styles as well as reward some experimentation to see what sort of weapon sets fit better with different situations. This merging of the deep rewarding combat of an action heavy game with the deep rewarding Interlocking systems of a well fleshed out RPG is looking like one of Biomutant’s many great strengths, as it clearly wants to satisfy as many gamers as possible with this approach. We’ll have to wait and see just how well this marriage of those two philosophies works out, but from what we can see so far it does look like that the developer is going out of their way to make sure that there is something here for as many gaming persuasions as possible.
Whether or not Biomutant excels at this tactic of throwing everything at you but the kitchen sink we’ll have to wait to get our hands on it and give it an official review, but if nothing else the game should definitely gotten our attention with its ambition and with what it’s been able to pull off so far. Few games aim as high as Biomutant is, and even fewer are able to pull it off, but if footage that we’ve seen so far and the amount of time that the game is spending in the oven are any indicator, I’d say we could very well have one of the biggest surprises of the year on our hands here.
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