BioMutant is a title that has many gamers interested to see what it has to offer with its mix of cute characters and dynamic combat. During the PCGamer Weekender I was able to sit down with the title and play through a short offering, which showcased the opening moments of the game. Being the first time seeing the game in motion, I was keen to sit down and drive right in.
Lasting around 20 minutes, the demo on hand allowed a player a chance to create their character and experience a few features within the gameplay. The character creator gave you control of the DNA of character featured on the cover of the game which the developers have called ‘muppet’. The muppet can be designed to be have different stats and attributes, similar to your standard RPG, but with each one being shown off in the design of the muppet. For example, if you have a focus on strength then your muppet will have long, big arms which are ideal for breaking some skulls. Speed your focus? Then leg day was never skipped. This visual representation of DNA and attributes result in each player having a different and unique player character. From here, you can pick the colour, pattern and type of fur that your character has and then jump right into the action.
As you might expect the game is controlled from a third-person viewpoint with controls being rather easy to pick up. Movement, jumping and camera control are all straight forward with most of the focus being on the combat that you will run into fairly quickly and often. This combat in BioMutant can only be described as a fluid dance of beauty and destruction. Something akin to the likes of the Devil May Cry games, developer Experiment 101 have found a sweet spot between melee and ranged attacks. Sweeping hits cleave through enemies, dodges adapt to the enemy to ensure you face a weak spot and your guns feel powerful even when not in bullet time. Oh yeah, you can jump through the air in slow motion, unleashing a flurry of bullets that daze and damage your opponents before slashing them to death. Because the combat is fluid, your attacks and combos will always adapt to whatever enemy you are fighting. Dodging a smaller enemy may just be a side step whereas on a larger one you might slide under their legs, gaining an attack of opportunity.
BioMutant ends up creating a solid combat system that feels responsive and offers plenty of exciting moments. The enemy types within the demo were lacking in variety but were ranged in what weapons and items they had equipped. The bigger enemies featured in the demo each had a different set of moves and behaviours, offering a change of pace to the encounters. To help mix this up even more and give players more options, the game, as you might expect given the title, has a mutation feature.
Mutations are present and allow a player special abilities that change up the gameplay dramatically. Though only a small selection were included in the demo, they offered a lot of options. Want to pick up an enemy or object with your mind? Go for it. How about growing mushrooms so you can reach higher places? That works too. Drive an enemy mad so they hit their friends? Check. Players will have access to plenty in the full game but the ones that I got try out in the demo were satisfying. It looks like you can only have four active at once but having a large pool of mutations to mix and match is exciting.
Though the demo was a linear experience, designed to guide you through the basics of the game, the ending of the demo teased what the open world of the full game will have to offer. It feels like at its core BioMutant has the foundations in the combat to support an open world design but without seeing it in action, it is hard to say. Character progression does support the open world design though by the means of the mutations and items in the game. Giving players plenty of options on how to build their character and what way they want to fight. Crafting is a feature and it is a system that seems very promising, which should be good in the final release.
One of the few complaints I have with Biomutant from the demo is that narrator. Though his voice fits the game and lines are delivered well, he suffers from talking way to much. Hearing him yell ‘You hit it!’ over and over during a fight becomes very annoying, very fast. Once more, characters in the world don’t have voices but rather just make sounds so the narrator will be preparing the dialogue for those as well. I hope you can turn him off in the full game.
In the end, the twenty minute gameplay demo was an interesting taste of what BioMutant has to offer. I walked away from it not disappointed but also not feeling invested in it. For me, the combat was solid and refined and that alone might be a good reason to keep an eye on the title. Not getting a feel for the openworld structure has me wanting to hold off making final judgement until seeing how they will play out, including quests. For now though, BioMutant is definitely a title worth keeping an eye on and seeing how it develops ahead of its release.