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Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden

Posted by GG Goblin On December - 10 - 2018

The highly anticipated duck with a top hat is ready to do some sniping.

 
Yeah. If that opening sentence has left you a little confused, you obviously haven’t been following the hype of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden from The Bearded Ladies. When first revealed to the world, gamers where instantly excited by the duo of anthropomorphic animals in a post-apocalyptic wasteland being the stars of an XCOM style strategy game. The cool duck with his top hat and the hard as nails boar really were the star of the Mutant Year Zero show. But then, as more and more details of the game started being drip-fed to us, Mutant Year Zero started looking more and more interesting. By the time I got to preview the game last month, I was already sold. Now, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is out on PC, along with PS4 and Xbox One for that matter, and it is time to see whether the duck, the boar, and even the fox, are really as much fun as they sound.

 
myz1 (Copy)

 
The setting for Mutant Year Zero is a fairly grim, post-apocalyptic future in which everything has gone wrong, from climate change to nuclear war. This leaves the world pretty much a wasteland, inhabited by the likes of cannibals and such. Amidst all of this grimness, there is a beacon in the form of the Ark, a safe hold for any normal creature trying to survive. By normal, I obviously mean a mixture of humans and mutants, which come in the form of anthropomorphic animals. Keeping the Ark running means teams having to venture into the wastelands to scavenge supplies and fight back any foes that may have set their eyes on taking control of this safe place.

 
Which is where the player comes in, along with their team. Starting out with the duck sniper and brutal boar, players will take missions that lead them out of the safety of the Ark and into the wasteland. The combat, which we will cover in a moment, is fairly straight forward and will be instantly familiar to any fans of XCOM. However, it is what happens outside of combat that really makes Mutant Year Zero stand apart.

 
There are no constantly replenished pools of recruits in Mutant Year Zero, and players will have fixed characters as members of their team. Each of the characters have a different role in combat, and by levelling them up and unlocking new skills, their roles can be tweaked somewhat to suit the players style. But before they get into combat, the player will have to do some exploring.

 
myz2 (Copy)

 
This is the biggest difference and one of the great things about the game. The world is divided up into small interconnected areas that the player is free to explore in real time. This means hunting for scrap or any other useful objects by moving the team around the area, and possibly stumbling upon groups of enemies. This is where things get interesting, because there is a strong stealth aspect to Mutant Year Zero that will see the player being able to not only pick and choose their conflicts, but even tweak them a little in their favour.

 
Enemies have an area of awareness and, as long as the player stays hidden, it is quite possible to sneak past enemies without triggering a fight. This level of stealth is taken to the next level when players are able to try and subdue enemy units without alerting the rest and starting combat, allowing the player to thin the herd before the battle starts. They are also able to take advantage of the environment by finding advantageous positions for their team, such as getting the duck sniper into a high up sniping position that has a good view of the whole area, just to make things a little easier.

 
Once the combat does being, whether the player took advantage of the stealth to even the odds or just went in guns blazing, the gameplay moves over to turn based combat. It is then all about using cover, putting characters in overwatch, and using skills to try and defeat all of the enemies before they defeat the player. The combat is where the game is the least unique, with battles battles playing out just like they would in XCOM. This is no bad thing mind you, as I and many other players love a good XCOM battle.

 
myz3 (Copy)

 
However, in Mutant Year Zero, a lot of emphasis is put into those preparations before battle commences, and not taking advantage of the stealth is going to make life difficult. The overall difficulty of the game, even on normal, is set quite high, and as characters will often head into another encounter almost immediately after finishing one, taking time to prepare is highly advisable.

 
Of course, it is quite simple to pop back to the Ark at any point, to drop off some scrap or pick up some new equipment, which is handy as grenades and med kits will need replenishing. Weapons can be upgraded which, along with the skills that the characters can unlock, means that the team will get stronger over time. Not that the enemies don’t get stronger as well, but it keeps the challenge even.

 
Visually, the game looks good. Some games can create problems in the turn-based combat with fussy graphics, but Mutant Year Zero seem to have set just the right tone. It’s not going to win any awards for looks, but it suits the game. There are still some bugs that need to be ironed out, but I am sure the developers will patch those out eventually and none of them appear to be game breaking that I have come across.

 
myz4 (Copy)

 
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a game that has made solid and purposeful tweaks to the XCOM formula that really work. The setting is both grim and quirky, and the exploration and stealth add a whole new level of gameplay. Fans of turn-based strategy, and talking ducks, would be well served by checking out Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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Set to launch for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on March 15th.

 

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