With its launch only a few weeks away, we were able to check out Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden. For the preview, we were only able to play about three hours. Check out our thoughts on the game so far.
Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden Preview
For this preview, I played as two mutants searching for scrap to bring back to the Ark: Bormin (the pig Mutant) and Dux (the duck Mutant). The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, one where the glaciers melted, disease spread, and finally, the nukes went off. The last bastion of this wasteland is the Ark, and your job is to bring back supplies from the outside world back home. Not many dare to adventure outside of the safety of the Ark, but someone has to do it. After exploring around for a little bit, you run into two Mutant hunters, and your first combat begins.
Combat plays very similar to X-COM. It is turn-based and after one team finishes, the second team starts. Your characters get two actions, which are typically moving and attacking. However, if you want to get closer, you can use both actions to dash into cover and wait to attack until next turn. Overwatch is another action you can take so when the enemies move you gun them down. Items such as grenades and molotovs can be equipped to take out multiple enemies at once or cause chaos on the battlefield. When you defeat the enemies, you get EXP and whatever loot they are carrying.
Unlike X-COM, however, you explore the world freely. I wouldn’t call it open world; it’s more of instanced zones you can explore. You can find scrap, weapon mods, old technology, and enemies by searching around. With Dux and his crossbow, you can pick off stragglers one by one to even the odds during a battle. Bormin uses a shotgun, so if he fires, all the enemies will be alerted. The other thing you have to watch out for is enemy levels. I ran across a couple of level 50 enemies protecting some sweet looking loot. As tempted as I was to try and grab it, it would have meant death to the team, so I snuck past and kept going.
When you gain enough experience, you level up. As you level, you will gain mutation points that can evolve your mutant abilities and give you new perks. Dux, for instance, can gain moth wings that will allow him to fly. While in the air, he has an advantage over enemies because of his height it only lasts for his turn. After you use a mutation, you will have to recharge it and you do that by killing bad guys. There are also passive buffs you can get with mutations points like more HP and more movement.
When you finally arrive at the Ark, you can use scrap and weapon parts to upgrade gear and buy new weapons. None of these items come cheap, so finding as much scrap as possible is a must. There is no hospital to heal at either, meaning that the only way to recover is via medpacks or some mutations. The elder of the Ark gives you another mission: a stalker named Hammon has been missing for a few days. He is the one who keeps all the machines running in the Ark, so you need to get him back. On the way to find him, you get your third team member, Salma. She looks mostly human, but has horns and can control certain aspects of plants.
As soon as she joins your team, the battles get way more intense. When it was just two Mutants, the fights were much more low key. Now you will be faced upwards of 10 enemies with only three team members. You can even the odds with stealth kills, but even the stealth kills get more difficult as enemies gain more HP. That is my biggest worry with the game currently. The stealth kill mechanic is fantastic when it works. With the amount of HP enemies had at the end of the demo you needed to get a critical hit to get the stealth kill. If you have to rely on critical hits for anything in games, it can burn you very quickly. That, and having to get stealth kills every battle will get tedious.
Even with these drawbacks, I still had a good time playing the game. Those looking for something similar to X-COM will find that Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden is worth their time.