Biomutant Review – pointless doubletalk and time-wasting mechanics will put you asleep or annoy you from playing the game
In a post-post-apocalyptic world, animals have mutated and inherited the land, our technology, and our ways of fighting. Biomutant is a Kung-Fu fable told across an open world action role-playing game developed by Experiment 101 and published by THQ Nordic. While I will applaud the art and design of the game, I actually will be pretty harsh in my Biomutant review. I try to be positive, as I know the tremendous amount of work that goes into creating a game of this scale. But, man the basics really get overlooked and honestly just really annoy me. So, let me begin with what I do like.
Biomutant has a pretty interesting story. I personally like the kung-fu-inspired tale of a lost prodigy returning to save the world. Very ATLA-esque in that sense. It’s a bit of a trope, but it’s one that easily adds gravitas to a character. The event that caused you to be lost from the world also leads to the situation you are here to fix, which is to reunite the people of the land and save the Tree of Life from being torn down at the roots by world-breaker monsters. Simple, epic, and sets the player up to not only recover history but also save the world. A great set up to play with the expanse of time.
But Biomutant chooses to waste your time and does so pointlessly by design. So, I won’t cover much of the story in my Biomutant review. One thing that thoroughly irritates me and will have me give up on a game are pointless short walks to cutscenes and when the game is obviously on a train track. This game does that immediately. I understand the need for a tutorial, and I respect the attempt to ingrain it into the story and introduction. But when you boast open-world I really don’t expect to run into a wall within the first minutes of the game. And I’m not talking about some building wall or something, I’m talking about not being able to explore the area you put me in. You are able to wall jump and double jump in Biomutant and there are objects/platforms that are just high enough to require these heightened levels of jump that you can’t get onto. I can see there’s nothing up there, but I know the abilities given to me would allow me to step there, why would you prevent me from stepping there? It instantly pulls me out of game mode and just irks me. I understand sometimes it’s a design thing, but it’s one of those things that a decent game maker would overlook, but a great game maker would consider. Not saying a great game won’t have that same problem, but you can kind of tell they left it out because it doesn’t matter versus it’s something they didn’t think about.
On top of that, right away, the game is chopped up by pointless amounts of tiny walks to cutscenes. Why? It does nothing but break up the gameplay experience. It goes from, “Oh, cool! Look at my double jump. Oh, I can spri- WTF a cutscene?” It happens a lot and if I wasn’t reviewing the game I would have just quit. When this happens, it takes away major points from my review. Just make it a longer cutscene. Or have the cutscene play out around me as I walk, and let my control of the walk control the speed/triggering of events the story being told. Let me interact in this interactive medium, or just tell me the story. Don’t let me pointlessly do nothing in between beats of your story.
My biggest pet peeves in gaming immediately activated. Then they created a whole new one… double talk dialogue scenes. All the NPC’s in the game you interact with get full-on cutscenes when you talk to them. The gameplay stops and focuses solely on the NPC you’re interacting with. It’s not new, and I get it, but I also prefer that it only be used for important characters and that non-important stuff just causes an NPC to speak without cutting away. But, it’s not a bad mechanic and not something I would ding a game for. However, each NPC speaks a made-up language of goobly glop. Which is also not a thing I would ding a game for. I mean Pokemon speak their names, and for the most part it’s utter nonsense but usually you can find meaning through context. I digress, NPC’s speak made-up languages. No big deal. However, it is a big deal when you have each NPC speak an entire block of dialogue in goobly glop then have the narrator interpret/translate that entire block of text back to you. It literally doubles the time of the NPC dialogue! It could have EASILY been a non-issue if they just put subtitles as the NPC shlocked their goobly glop. Would have been something no one noticed. But no, they double talk and have this bargain bin Liam Neeson sound narrator translate what each NPC just said. This complete waste of time gives you the time to realize that there is no unifying theme in these glopped languages. Each NPC is just making random sounds with likely no direction other than to maybe match the time it would be to say something in an actual language. Then this overworked and pointlessly overly important narrator says whatever the NPC was pretending to say. It is painfully obvious the NPC’s language isn’t even directed to the same meaning as what the narrator says they say because the goobly glop has all the wrong cadences and inclinations. It is an extremely irritating waste of time and is abhorrently performed. This is not a slide to the voice actors or narrators who are doing their job, but to the total lack of foresight or purpose of whoever was directing them.
Thoroughly irritating mechanics aside. The gameplay is nowhere as polished as a game with this caliber of art should be. Being as kung-fu is marketed as such a bit part of the game, I expected the fighting to be far more fluid and polished. The melee system is akin to that of the Arkham franchise, but with a thoroughly terrible counter system. The attack indicator that notifies you to counter is great. You are able to notice it without being distracted from your current combo/engagement. However, you must stop everything and press the counter button or else you will be hit and knocked down. You must be within your striking range to counter and you have to press the counter button. This makes sense and is okay in some games, but games with a heavy martial-arts hand-to-hand element should be much more fluid in my opinion. I should be able to interrupt the attack with my own attack, so I won’t have to stop my combo or current engagement to prevent the attack. I should be able to mid-combo hitting Bad-Guy A and interrupt the attack of the attacking Bad-Guy B with the option to continue my combo on A or finish it off on B. At the very least I should be able to roll/dodge if I don’t press the counter button. Basically, I should have options to react to the attack if I see it. Biomutant does not give you logical and favorable options. You can counter/parry, which is the one good choice. But you cannot interrupt/stop the attack and you can’t really dodge it unless you run ridiculously far away. Counter and parrying is great and does set you up to do major damage. However, it breaks your flow. It might not bother many of you, but that makes a huge difference in gameplay to me. Then the inability to dodge is frustrating. Because I have a roll that can be used to dodge attacks the indicator doesn’t show up on. But if the indicator shows up and you’re remotely near the attacker, the attacker will perform its attack and its character model will drag across the screen to wherever you are to hit you. Which is pathetic in my opinion. When games do those dragging attacks to force a hit on you, it just screams lazy. Like instead of giving the thing another attack or something, they just change the physics. I understand changing up the attack and patterns to add challenge and value to the game, but actually change the attack and patterns, not give the attack invisible extra reach. It’s just lazy. Say the character powered up and now has aura added to its attacks or something.
I feel guilty about my Biomutant review being largely on the negative. The story is pretty interesting, minus some weird interpretations of things like calling the sea/oceans “the surf.” I understand and a lot of post-apocalyptic content does that. But it feels insulting in some way. The game has truly gorgeous graphics and designs. Seeing all the different species and enemies is wonderous. The powers you develop and the fighting moves you learn are fun to perform. But… you don’t really get to do that stuff without heaping amounts of wasted time in between.
There are a lot of good things to Biomutant that you do eventually get to enjoy. The awesome powers, more complex fighting, weapon and gear customizing. But honestly, you’ll be too annoyed with the pointless doubletalk to get to it. So, I didn’t really go into it in my Biomutant review because I know I’m not going to sit through poorly directed goobly glop dialogue to hear an overused narrator multiple times per character just so I get the chance to use a character from Kung Fu Panda that’s been hit with a Mad Max ray to take down giant monsters and other Zootopia residents. Despite its genuinely interesting story, inspired art and design, the thoroughly innate and designed waste of time mechanics literally keep you from playing the game. My Biomutant review gets a 4/10.
Biomutant is out now on
and on Steam and EA Play Pro
According to Google, the average Biomutant review is about 6/10.
- Story - 6/106/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Mechanics - -1/10-1/10
There are a lot of good things to Biomutant that you do eventually get to enjoy. The awesome powers, more complex fighting, weapon and gear customizing. But honestly, you’ll be too annoyed with the pointless doubletalk to get to it. So, I’m not even going to go into it in my Biomutant review because I know I’m not going to sit through poorly directed goobly glop dialogue to hear an overused narrator multiple times per character just so I get the chance to use a character from Kung Fu Panda that’s been hit with a Mad Max ray to take down giant monsters and other Zootopia residents. Despite its genuinely interesting story, inspired art and design, the thoroughly innate and designed waste of time mechanics literally keep you from playing the game.