Biomutant Review: Preachy writing spoils great combat and gorgeous open world

I have always been a fan of action role-playing games (RPG), as I still play Diablo III – THE action RPG released in 2012 – till today. So, I was excited when Biomutant was released late last month.

Biomutant is an action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have fled the Earth after destroying it. Irresponsible fellows…

PRICE: From $79.90 (PC, version reviewed; PS4, Xbox One), available on EpicSoft Asia
GENRE: Action role-playing game

And due to the radiation and bio-contamination caused by humans, animals have mutated into intelligent beings standing on two feet and able to use weapons and shoot magic from their hands (or paws). Oh, they also somehow know kung fu as well.

You play this character, which looks like a cross between a cat and a fox. When you start the game, you can choose your genetic make-up that will dictate whether you are a charmer or a wrecker. Your looks will change as well, according to the genetic make-up.

Yup, this might be you in Biomutant. (Photo: THQ Nordic)

+ Gorgeous open world environment
+ Intuitive combat elements
+ Outcome of game depends on your choices

– Preachy writing
– Repetitive gameplay

The gist of Biomutant is that The Tree of Life, which is sustaining life-form on Earth, is dying. Four creatures, known as the Worldeaters, are eating its roots and killing it. If The Tree of Life dies, the world dies too.

As you might expect, you are the chosen one to defeat the Worldeaters and save the world. Typical RPG storyline. To do so, you are supposed to choose between two warring tribes – one who believes in killing other tribes for peace and one who wants to unite all tribes for peace.

Yes, the usual morality choices in a RPG. The only issue as well as a very glaring and irritating one is the way the story is told in Biomutant.

From the very moment you start playing the game, you are guided by a storyteller who narrates every step of your journey. He is telling you what you should and giving you background stories to this and that.

It would have been great if this game is just about killing and less talking. (Photo: THQ Nordic)

But a lot of times, he is talking about choices, morality and destiny. Worse still, every conversation you have with other non-player characters (NPCs) is also conveyed by this same voice actor. Not to mention, every NPC in this game seems so concerned about morality issues. I really think mutation has gotten into them.

In fact, I began to wonder if Biomutant is a social study class disguised as an action RPG. Yes, the game’s ending depends on the choices you make. And the choices you made might even prompt some characters to talk or not talk to you thereby forbidding you access to some quests.

However, this constant narrating (or nagging) becomes the major source of irritating in this game. Because otherwise, Biomutant has such big potential to be a sleeper hit.

For instance, it has a vast gorgeous open world that you can explore. From the dying wildlands and underground bunkers to the frigid icelands and red deserts, it was a visual feast to behold and explore.

One of the gorgeous landscapes you get to explore in Biomutant. (Photo: THQ Nordic)

The 3rd person combat elements are intuitive, easy to execute and offers plenty of progression. You can also mix it up with shooting, melee and even magic powers depending on your mutations.

You also get to craft and customise your armour, weapons – from rifles to swords – and even build vehicles.

Take this, you ugly beast! (Photo: THQ Nordic)

On the downside, the quests are pretty boring and the gameplay gets repetitive pretty quickly. There are a lot of fetch quests that I beginning to wonder if I am a NinjaVan delivery warrior instead of a mutated animal superhero.

In addition, your main quest is always to make your way to some new area, talk to someone, help them fix up a vehicle. Use that vehicle to help kill the Worldeater. And then repeat the process until you kill all of them.

Of course, along the way, the choices (again) you made will dictate the ending to be different. So you can always play the game again in a different way. But no thanks, I am not going to listen to the same guy nagging me about my moral choices.

Biomutant looks promising and gorgeous with its open world environment and initiative combat elements. But its preachy writing, over-emphasis on morality and repetitive gameplay dampen an otherwise enjoyable action role-playing experience.


Trevor Tan

Started out with dreams to become a street photographer, Trevor Tan somehow became a tech journalist with over 16 years of consumer tech experience. Maybe he plays too much video games and buys too many new gadgets.
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