Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is one of my most requested video games to review because I was intrigued by its XCOM-isque gameplay and how they would combine that with Diablo III adventure style. At this point, all I could is that they did not fully disappoint the curious me, but they have a few fallouts here and there. I definitely had fun playing this game. Also, I played this on normal mode without iron man option turned on, so there’s that. Anyways, check out my review.
Good Visuals For A Starting Title of The Series
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden has some good visuals in gameplay and those hand-drawn cutscenes look good as well. It’s not that great though I suppose, but it is a serviceable kind of visuals compared to triple-A games out there in the market today. Actually, the visuals really meld well with the theme of the game, which is a post-apocalyptic world filled with dangerous chemicals, overgrowth of foliage, destroyed buildings, and tons of crazy zombies out to kill the normal humans and mutants. There are tons of visual bugs here and there though, even though there was a patch installed when the game was officially launched. I played the first version and it had a lot of bugs, but at least the latest version had less visual bugs. It’s really okay for me though, it’s the first title of the series so there’s still room for adjustment in future sequels… I really do hope there are more of these in the future. For the visuals, I’ll score this a 7. Good for a tactical video game, but not there yet. Hopefully more improvements in the next title.
Stealth, Positioning, Angle, Skills. It’s All Required
The best part of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is its gameplay. The combination of adventure, stealth, placing characters in
certain spots, height, angles, and skills make it one helluva game. I’m totally impressed by how they could think about this idea and implement it almost perfectly. Yes, there are some imperfections with this kind of combo (bugs and more), but I really like where this is going. To be able to place my characters on spots where I really wanted them to be and avoid getting caught by enemies are so satisfying. I’m no tactician, but I really love strategy and tactical games, which is why this gameplay is such a blessing for me. There are challenges to go through especially if you want that certain character (a sniper perhaps) to be in a certain spot that could yield heavy damage on an enemy. Shotgun wielders on the front, sniper gun users on high places,
semi-automatic gunners on the middle ground. And that’s just the positioning. Wait till you get to the actual combat.
Just like in XCOM, characters that hide behind walls or rocks can get protection against projectiles fired from an enemy AI, well aside from those who use melee attacks. There is also the realism of putting your characters in proper angles before firing on an enemy or else your attack will be blocked by a tree or any object blocking the gunner’s view. There is just one quirk I’d like to address and that’s hiding. I think it’s a good thing that while my characters are in “hiding” position, the guards can’t be alerted by their presence, but they can’t see them in front of them as they pass by? My character is in front of them, in plain sight, with proper lighting. I mean, come on! How could he not see him? And when I toggle my character from hiding, it’s this moment that he could see him. Actually, this is how I surprise my enemies with a crossfire attack from all sides because they can’t see me even though he is already in the middle of our sights. Sure it’s a blessing, but at least give me that kind of challenge that I could be found out after they pass me by. Developers, I hope you improve on this one.
The enemy AI is rather good actually. Enemies are not that stupid, they would hunt your party down to the death, give your characters some status effects before they totally own you (fire, stun, mind control), and properly get into the best positions so that they can have the highest percentage in hitting your characters. Even on Normal mode, they are merciless. I like that.
So for gameplay, it’s kind of a mixed bag, but I’m totally impressed nonetheless. It’s an 8 out of 10 points because the AI is solid, the tactical gameplay is awesome, and only a small nitpick.
The Start Is A Dead Giveaway of What’s To Come
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden’s story is quite interesting, but it’s another post-apocalyptic world where humans were foolish
and bombed major cities and now the ground is toxic for normal people. It sounds so familiar already. The interesting part of this is the story of the few mutants who become elite warriors scavenging off metal scrap and fighting berserker zombies who want to kill every single one of them. Why is it interesting? It’s because how it develops from a single mission to check up on
a certain someone to a conspiracy. Yes, sure it’s interesting, but I could see the plot twist from a mile away.
I mean, come on, only a few of your characters have animal looks, have special powers, can go through that toxic land, and their
leader, the “Elder” is always concerned about them like they were family or not; he’s way too concerned and that gave me the idea that he was hiding something and this could become somewhat the plot twist. I won’t spoil anything anymore, but yeah, it’s kind of obvious. It still intrigued me though and I want to know what comes next after that very, VERY obvious sequel bait in the end.
The game’s story gives me a score of an 8. Obvious plot twist, but it keeps interested and I want to know more afterward.
Incredible Voice-overs And Good music
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden has the best dialogues I’ve ever listened to for a while now. I mean, you could relate to these
characters because they are just like regular people talking to each other. The voice acting is superb with emotion just flowing through and not the robotic or overacting kind. It’s not annoying as well and the small cheers or reactions during battles are not repeated on one loop only. I didn’t even get drowsy throughout my playthrough because the voiceovers are a joy to listen to. The enemy AI though is kind of on the crazy side because the characters are also crazy like talking about some kind of god and its prophecies and stuff. It’s hilarious to listen to though.
The music soundtrack can be intense when it needs to be. It’s not that loopy and really makes it feel like you are walking on the land of a post-apocalyptic world with berserker zombies walking around.
So for superb voice acting and good music tracks, I’ll give this game a 10 out of 10.
No New Game+ But Has Tons of Starting Options To Choose From
Just like any tactical game I know of like XCOM or Final Fantasy Tactics, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden does not disappoint. There is no New Game+, but there are some options to choose from to make it more challenging for the players. You can go from normal to friggin’ super hard difficulty, which really ups the difficulty. With higher difficulty, enemy AI is more alert, has a higher percentage on aim while you have a lower percentage, higher life bars with armor, and so on and so forth. You can even up that difficult with the iron man option where there’re more challenges like no more saves. Savage, but very satisfying if you complete it.
The only gripe I have with this game’s replayability is its inability to grind. Yes, the battles you go through this game is the only
one you get all throughout. Yes, there is no way you can earn more experience in this game, which is why you have to plan carefully on your skills that you want to unlock.
With one gripe that is kind of a heavy hit for the score, I’ll give this game a 6. I really wanted an option where I can grind for
experience and items, so I’m kind of disappointed with that part.
All in all, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a pretty good game to keep and play again for the challenge. Great gameplay, good visuals, solid voice acting, several options for upping the difficulty, and an intriguing storyline are the reasons I gave it a high score. I do see some parts that need improvement that needs to be implemented in the next title though. Devs, make it happen because I really like this game despite its small flaws.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Funcom. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.