Biomutant is the latest game from THQ Nordic as well as Swedish (yay!) studio, Experiment 101, and one that has been on my radar for some time now, but the question has always been if it'll be good enough. With RPG gameplay, furry characters, colorful visuals and intense combat, it should be bound to become a terrific game, right? I've spent several hours playing through the game, doing as much as I possibly can during it all, and I've got a ton to say. Let's go!
Platform: Xbox Series X.
Visuals & performance
Before I received access to Biomutant, it was already fairly clear that it was going to be a looker, but actually playing it has changed that to it being one of the best looking RPGs I've seen.
I'm constantly in awe of some of the scenes that can be found, both in daylight but also during night - It merges colorful & vibrant visuals with amazing lighting, high-resolution textures that look fantastic when paired with the former, an awesome art style, level design that truly immerses the player, greatly detailed characters, armor & weapons, seemingly somewhat high graphics settings despite only being Xbox One X enhanced, and extremely pretty apocalyptic enviroments that easily tell tales of their past. Biomutant is running in native 4K on an Xbox Series X, and it looks downright marvelous at all times.
Not only does the game feature some truly gorgeous effects (that even resemble comic book ones) like explosions, fire, and other elemental ones, it also has super nice looking water & foliage. What about performance, then? Well, I was pleased to see upon starting the game that all this is running at a next-to locked 60fps framerate on Xbox Series X; no significant drop in sight, even during intense action instances. I never had to wait more than just a few seconds to load the game, either, so using fast-travel is really quick, as it should be.
I wasn't expecting the game to be so heavy in terms of the audio, though! It's more than perfect in this department - high-quality voice acting by the narrator, generally great ambience all around that really makes me want to go on an adventure in the vast open world of Biomutant, and top notch music that fits well during fights & trips. I've got to say, there's never a dull moment to be found in this game, and I think they've made a terrific job all around.
The visuals are strengthened further by the day/night cycle that is in motion throughout gameplay while wandering around, making the game vary not only in lighting, but also overall graphics. Pair this with the awesome dynamic weather system that comes & goes, and you'll see some almost stupidly good looking scenes! It reminds me of Banjo in some ways, oddly enough, too.
Biomutant is equally as good looking as it is fun - its ability to stay put as an ever-lasting source of joy is quite frankly amazing. It's a combined tale of revenge, adventure and epicness, with a big emphasis on being addictive in multiple ways. Its identity lies mainly at being a third-person open-world adventure with RPG mechanics that is set in a post-apocalyptic world, but it's kind of deeper than that.
I play as a furry animal that is on a task of finding the killer of someone close to him, yet goes beyond that in the form of it also having an obvious theme of, basically, saving the world by restoring the tree of life and vanquishing highly dangerous creatures called world-eaters. Before that can happen, though, our furry little guy has to be made, and yes, there is a character creator, with all sorts of different looks as well as traits to be used. Once that's out of my way, the journey begins, and it starts pretty quickly, with the next few minutes already introducing me to the either melee or firearm based combat of the game, as well as inventory management such as using a medkit.
The combat itself is very fun & interactive, and doesn't get repetitive, thanks to the different scenarios that can happen in a fight, such as using an elemental power to finish an enemy off, taking advantage of combos, or simply just filling one with bullets. To aid further in not getting boring, the ability to create your own weapon is a thing and means being able to alter every piece of the gun or sword to your liking; stocks, handles, scopes, muzzles and more. This even applies to clothing, but is more about fitting armor pieces onto your torso, for example.
This is probably one of the better parts of the game, honestly, cause of how many different outcomes there are - it's highly addictive and I constantly see myself tinkering with my favorite gun or melee weapon. It all connects with the awesome loot that can be found while exploring the big world of Biomutant, made up of colors to indicate how rare it is, and there's a TON of it, scattered around in areas like houses, caves and more. It can be resources for crafting, medkits, armor pieces or even weapons, and the best thing is that exploration is really fun to take part in, especially when knowing how interesting the aftermath can get.
With all this, of course, comes leveling up, resulting in the character becoming stronger, though in what way is entirely up to the player, as there's several different traits you can put points into, ranging from strength and agility to intellect & health, making it possible to create one heck of a mixed furry little buddy. Exploration happens rather early on, and the game's world is definitely big - teeming with all kinds of activities, like simply looting everything that can be found in a city area, destroying resource pillars, completing quests, puzzles (that may be a bit too easy), or attacking a rival's fort, and lots more.
The charm of it all lies in the style of the world, items & weapons but also characters and their personalities, dialogues, as well as their names, where someone named Gulp or Out-Of-Date, is the norm. It's really something to not underestimate, as it's always there reminding me of how unique it is, also helping in keeping the game filled with character. Lying in the midst of all this is the aura system, that decides whether you're good hearted or not, affected by doing good or evil out in the world: catching an unsuspecting little animal sees the player having to choose between letting it go or killing it, and choosing a specific set of speech option in dialogue may alter it, too.
I think it's very interesting to see the system in action, as it feels like it's always there to keep an eye on me. The narrator does talk a lot, but I don't feel like it was enough for it to become annoying, and since he's genuinely an exceptional voice actor, I don't mind hearing him talk throughout the game with his calm voice.
All in all
Biomutant is one of the best RPG games I've played in recent times, nailing its deep emphasis on having fun & great mechanics such as crafting, character building, animal & vehicle riding, quests, aura system (morale) and looting. It does all this while sporting some mindblowing colorful visuals, enhanced by the day/night cycle as well as dynamic weather system, that look insane in native 4K on the Xbox Series X, where a next-to locked 60 frames per second is present as well, also accompanied by an experience that's as bug free as it can get. The boss fights are grand and offer fun yet challenging scenarios, where regular fights too come close to being as awesome, much thanks to how varied combat is. A story is there but I decided to not go in on that much at all since it's actually really good and I don't want to spoil it. I truly have had some really thrilling times in my journey found in the world of Biomutant and I can't wait to dive in even more. I couldn't recommend it any further, even going as far as not really being able to mention any negatives.
Biomutant will be available on Xbox consoles starting on May 25th, priced at a full $60, with a native Xbox Series X|S version dropping later on.
This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson and is based on his honest opinion of the game.
A review code was provided by THQ Nordic for review purposes.