Biomutant may be the most aptly named game of 2021. It mutates and crossbreeds various gameplay mechanics and genres into something that is mostly unique. As promised during the game’s initial reveal in 2017, Biomutant features robust customization options and a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative. Though it’s certainly ambitious — especially for a 20-person team — Biomutant’s disparate parts don’t come together gracefully. There’s a lot to like here but the game’s rough edges prevent it from reaching its potential. It’s tough to rank it among the best PC games out there.
A world of your creation
Set in a post-apocalyptic future dominated by anthropomorphic martial arts masters, Biomutant tasks you with either saving or destroying the world. You play as an unnamed rabbit/ferret/gerbil thing that you can customize in a myriad of ways. A spirited narrator (voiced by David Shaw Parker) translates the inhabitants’ unintelligible language. He also reminds you of your importance to the world.
As you explore the land, you’ll come across humanity’s ruins, which are now contested by the six main animal tribes. Four “Worldeaters” threaten to destroy a planet already on the brink of death. Biomutant’s setting is admittedly bleak, but the whimsical characters and tongue-in-cheek narration prevent it from becoming overly depressing.
Things kick off with the character creator. Your character’s appearance changes depending on which stats you focus on. Creatures with higher intelligence have big heads and tiny bodies, while those possessing higher strength have large bodies and small heads. You’re also free to select a breed with predetermined stats if you want to avoid micromanaging. Character classes come with individual perks that remain no matter which stats you emphasize. Overall, the game gives you enormous freedom to create a furry mutant suited to your playstyle. This is especially true in the latter stages where you’ll gain options for further customization. Those who love tweaking their base stats will find a lot to like here.
You’ll further customize your furry combatant via the copious loot scattered across the land. This includes weapons, armor, health items, and crafting materials. Vendors sell items as well, but their wares pale in comparison to whatever you’ll find and craft. Crafting allows you to enhance the quality of your armor and weapons. This process also alters your appearance, depending on which piece of equipment you’re altering. However, you’ll be able to customize how your equipment looks later in the game. This ensures you’ll have armor and weapons that are both functional and stylish.
Every mutant was kung-fu fighting
Your mutant dispatches foes with both melee and long-range weapons. Melee combat can get downright nasty since you’re slashing and slapping enemies with weapons like swords, bats, clubs and more.
Countering attacks opens a foe up to devastating combos. Dodging at the right time also ensures you minimize damage received. Though melee combat isn’t cartoonishly violent, it feels intense — especially when you’re surrounded by a horde of baddies. As you level up, you’ll unlock new attacks and combos.
Long-range weapons provide an efficient way of dispatching mutants from afar. Unfortunately, the absence of a lock-on feature can sometimes make it difficult to concentrate fire on a single foe. To survive, you’ll need to mix up melee and weapon attacks while always remaining on the move. Mastering the various aspects of combat is rewarding, and considering how nearly everything in Biomutant wants to kill you, you’ll quickly learn how to become a bad-ass warrior.
Despite the deep customization options and the wide assortment of combat styles, Biomutant quickly settles into a routine pattern. Facing a Worldeater entails having to build a vehicle capable of entering said Worldeater’s location and capturing certain animals to distract the massive boss monsters. Conquering the map for whichever tribe you ally with means taking over their forts, most of which have the same basic layout. Even the plentiful sidequests devolve into fetch or elimination quests. Because of that, it’s best to experience the game in small doses before the repetition becomes grating.
A beautiful but unstable wasteland
While missions can become dull, I can’t say the same about the gorgeous environments. From dense forests, devastated ruins, pollution-infested rivers, and towering mountains, Biomutant’s world is a visual spectacle. You can scurry across the land on all fours or ride around on an awesome mount. Some, like a massive ram, are organic creatures.
Others, such as an oversized mech, are artificial. Like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Biomutant subtly guides you to interesting places by its clever use of landmarks. This is a world begging for you to explore.
Biomutant PC performance and requirements
To play Biomutant on PC, your rig will need (at a minimum) an Intel Core i5-4690K CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 GPU, 8GB of RAM, 25GB of available system storage, and the Windows 10 operating system. On my gaming desktop, with its Core i7-4790 CPU and GTX 1080 GPU, Biomutant ran well, for the most part. I saw frame rates hovering between 80 to 100 frames per second.
I experienced minimal stuttering when exploring the environments and during some heavy enemy encounters. I’m not sure if my rig’s specs or in-game hiccups caused this stuttering to happen. Regardless, if you have a halfway-decent rig, you should be able to play without any major issues.
Biomutant is one of the strangest titles of 2021. It combines a slew of different ideas and gameplay mechanics but never excels at any one discipline. Its quirky world filled with kung-fu fighting mutants has appeal, especially for those seeking something outside of the standard fare found in most games. The deep customization options alone will be enough for some players. Unfortunately, its somewhat unpolished segments and repetitive mission structure hamper the experience. With that said, we should appreciate that a title like Biomutant exists. In a world dominated by indie and AAA titles, it’s genuinely great seeing a legitimate AA game. Biomutant won’t set the world on fire, but it’s worth a look if you’re seeking a change of pace.