On February 28, 2018, the strategy games fan thrilled with the good news of a new title called Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is launching. A strategy game filled with RPG elements that combine Real-time exploration with turn-based combats and that comes from the hand of Funcom with Bearded Ladies, former developers of renowned games like Hitman or Payday.
Mutant Year Zero is a fun experience that will surely please the strategy fans, although it is burdened by some design failures that holding it back to be a remarkable game.
A post-apocalyptic game with an interesting story
Post-apocalyptic settings are very popular lately. In Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden we are presented with a world torn apart by climate change, the economic crisis, nuclear weapons and a strange disease that seems to have eliminated almost all population.
After the Nuclear disaster, nature has invaded the cities, humans almost do not exist and, in the world, a lot of mutants, robots and strange beings who struggle to survive and try to find a bit of hope to find the salvation or, even, be able to eat a piece of food.
With this premise we find Bormin and Dux, the two mutants with whom we began the adventure that, little by little, will discover new friends and part of the mysteries of this new and complicated world as they travel to rescue a fallen companion and They begin to wonder what the hell is this mysterious legendary place called Eden.
At first, the story will seem like the typical science fiction that we have seen in other games, series, or movies, but, despite everything, we will be hooked thanks to the curious relationships, jokes or beliefs of the protagonists with respect to the old inhabitants of the earth and their customs.
As the end of the game nears, the story becomes increasingly interesting, and leaves us with curiosity and makes us wonder how everything will end up engaging in what the plot is, causing us to want to Give the game a final sprint to know the end of its history.
Real-time exploration and stealth
One of the highlights of Mutant Year Zero is to combine the exploration of the scenarios in real time with the battles in turn in the purest XCOM style almost perfectly, all accompanied with some quite interesting stealth mechanics.
To move and explore the scenarios everything goes in real time, controlling the characters with the typical left analog and to discover everything we use each button on our controller.
During our searches, we will encounter different enemies and here will begin the agile mechanics that allow us to perform stealth actions, also in real time, or choose to go directly to turn-based combat in which to control, in a thoughtful way, the confrontations with the enemies.
Beginning with stealth, we will see how rival units have the typical “vision” circle with which they are able to detect our presence, either because they see us or because they can listen to our steps. This circle can be reduced if we go to a stealth mode, watching our protagonists turn off their flashlights and crouch to pass unnoticed.
Here, we can choose either to draw enemies to move to another area of the map (whenever possible) or try to approach them from a vantage point to be able to ambush them and gain a great advantage in combat.
These stealth mechanics will also be present in the confrontations since, for example, we can use silent weapons to kill a single enemy away from the rest without being heard by their companions, who will be alerted or if our rival survives and gives voice of alarm or if we use, for example, a powerful and noisy machine gun to end his life.
However, one of the negative points of the game is that, at the design level, this stealth system does not offer us many possibilities beyond ambushing the enemies, since avoiding them, except for some specific moments, will be very unhelpful
The first reason why it will not be useful to dodge the enemies is because doing so will not gain experience and without this experience we will not level up (with the typical progression to improve the character or add skills) and, without levelling up, the fighting will They will make us very uphill from the first moments of the game.
The second reason why it is not useful to avoid them in this way except for exceptions is that, in some cases, dodging them can end up turning against us because of the biggest design flaw we have seen in the game that has directly affected our game.
In a moment of the same one, combat against enemies that guarded the access to the following zone choked to us, and we decided to draw them to continue our advance, something that we obtained successfully.
After exploring a couple of extra places and climbing some levels, we decided to go back where we had come to face this fight and gain some experience in order to reach the recommended level for the next part of our mission. Our surprise was huge when we arrived back at this area and appeared (after the relevant loading time) just in a place where the enemy automatically detected us, with no possibility of doing anything other than forcing us into combat, eliminating the crucial surprise factor in most of the meetings.
Before our eyes, it was a major failure that forced us to load a previous game with a few minutes behind us, spoiling part of a game experience that until then had been very satisfactory.
After giving an intensive review of what the game offers us before the fight, now it’s time to talk about the turn-based strategy that we will see in all its glory when the famous ” hour of the cakes ” arrives.
As well says the name of this section and as the creators of the game comment in their description, we are facing a system very similar to XCOM own, with each character can perform two actions (sometimes some thanks to special skills) per turn , being able to move a certain number of squares, shoot, put on guard, throw grenades, and so on.
In general, all the mechanics at the strategy level are very well resolved and it is very interesting that, in each combat, we should make the most of the coverage as well as the special abilities of our characters or all the utility they have in the form of grenades, Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs, etc., which will give us many interesting variables at the strategic level.
Something that we liked is the possibility of destroying all the covers, either by the use of grenades or other skills, giving us even more variants for each turn. This we have used, above all, to break the advantage of rivals in high positions, being able to break a grenade to break the roof or the upper floor in which they are, hurting them both by the explosion and by the fall, in addition to reducing their superiority to zero.
Another element that we liked, but that has to be improved, is a “quick action” button that allows the enemy’s turns to pass at high speed. This is really useful if we want to move quickly to our next turn but have, again, a novice failure in its execution because, to quickly pass the enemy’s turn we must keep pressing the same button that we use to confirm the actions of our characters.
This, together with the fact that the action is not automatically stopped when the enemy’s turn ends, makes us repeatedly execute movements that we do not want with our characters when we are using it, weighing down our gaming experience to force us to use, rather little, this tool that, on the other hand, is very useful if it is well designed and that can be arranged as simply as by changing it.
At a visual level, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden offers us a very colourful game technically and, in fact, with some very good graphics if we usually take into account the average of the strategy titles thanks to the Unreal Engine 4 engine.
Of course, this great visual finish has its “trick”, because the scenarios are not too big and the line of vision of our players is quite reduced, noticing how they are showing, little by little, the new areas of the map. In addition, we have also found some point failure of the camera lacking in severity.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a very fun game with which we have had a really good time during its approximately 15 hours that can grow a lot if we decide to play in high game modes, which will represent a real challenge, almost sickly, for those who love strategy
The combination of elements of exploration and stealth in real time with the turn-based strategy offers a very satisfactory playable experience, especially for the transition between the three styles of play, carried out in a truly natural and fluid way.
It’s a pity that, at the design level, the game has a couple of practically simple errors that are unexpected on an experience like this, if we do not take them into account, is really remarkable and that, despite them, will enchant everyone the lovers of strategy.
Of course, the fans will wait for the second installment of this Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden in which Bearded Ladies, creators of the title, can offer us this great experience polished and without ballasts to offer us a game that, without these failures, could be a reference within its genre.
We have prepared this review on a PS4 Pro with a code provided by Evolve PR.