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Gamereactor UK
reviews
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

A duck and a boar set out to brave what's left of the Swedish west coast...

The narrative sees Dux and Bormin learn more about postapocalyptic Sweden, the Zone that surrounds the safe haven they know as the Ark, and their own origins. They're stalkers and the Zone is populated with Ghouls intent on destroying the Ark, but as you'd expect there's a lot more to the story and as you progress you learn more about the fall of society, and the war that leads to the wasteland you see in the game. It's not the most fleshed out story, but characters like Dux and Bormin help give it some much-needed flavour. In total, you'll command five mutants, with Selma, Magnus and Farrow (the vixen) joining you along the adventure.

It must be said that a lot of love has been poured into the details, and if you happen to know Swedish you'll no doubt enjoy the plentiful word puns on offer, and even if you don't you'll enjoy stuff like the "Borg band", headgear that lets you move four extra tiles per round (and give you that sweet Björn Borg look to boot), there are also little arcade machines to find (non-playable, understandably given the state of the world) including one with The Bearded Ladies' Landit Bandit. There's even a Ghoul who wears a tattered Lucia crown. Just listening to our mutant friends speculate on what certain things were meant to do pre-war was thoroughly enjoyable.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to EdenMutant Year Zero: Road to EdenMutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

We spent roughly 25 hours playing through the campaign, but if you're a turn-based prodigy you can likely run through in half that time. It's a decent sized campaign in other words, and you've always got the Iron Mutant mode (permadeath) if you're looking for more of a challenge. What should be noted is that while there are optional maps and missions they're not really optional as you need the experience and loot in order to progress. In that sense, it's very old school in its structure.

The game is not without flaws. We encountered some issues with the camera and there was the occasional sound glitch. The menus could also do with some work and it was particularly painful shifting gear between your squad members as you pulled them in and out of duty. Every mutant has to have a primary weapon equipped even if they're out of rotation, which made shifting one of your three silent weapons a 4-5 click operation instead of simply one click. As we shifted between Bormin for ghouls and Farrow for robots (her circuit breaker ability is key here) during the second half of the game that made for a lot of unnecessary clicks.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to EdenMutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

In terms of design we would have liked to have seen some kind of indicator of how far certain sounds would travel (like, say, would a nearby enemy hear a desperate hog rush or not), and it would have been interesting to have some further stealth tools at your disposal (a means to lure enemies away perhaps?). We were also somewhat disappointed to discover that none of the lovely CG seen in the announcement trailer made it into the game. Instead we're getting some admittedly lovely, but still not as powerful drawings at major story beats.

Road to Eden is a game that asks a lot of you as a player. It's fairly rigid in its structure and old school in that way. However, it also rewards you as you figure things out and once we'd mastered the ins and outs of the combat system towards the latter part of the game we found ourselves savouring every combat encounter and new map we got to tackle and that speaks volumes about the experience.

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Mutant Year Zero: Road to EdenMutant Year Zero: Road to EdenMutant Year Zero: Road to EdenMutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Challenges you to think about how to approach combat, Surprising tactical depth, An interesting story and world, Lots of attention to detail and a great synth soundtrack.
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One or two technical issues, Menues could do with some work, Old school structure may surprise some younger gamers.
overall score
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