Tactics based gameplay and stealth are two things that I am almost comically horrible at. My general go-to strategy is to overwhelm my enemy into making a mistake. If that requires a pile of my troop’s corpses to do it, then so be it. There’s also been more than one instance where stealth turned into me screaming as I run away from a wall of bullets being slung at me.

So when it was presented to me that Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden was a tactics-based third person game I was leery of it, to say the least. Thankfully Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is so easy to grasp and invests players so heavily in the characters that I would back out of fights to a previous save just to make sure everyone lived.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden weaves comedy wonderfully into a post-apocalyptic universe. Comedy can be found both in the dialogue of the characters and the descriptions of collectibles found by the player. There is the simplistic puns such as the wordplay had with the character Dux, whom literally is a human-sized duck. Several characters say lines like “Duck this!” or “What the Duck?” when interacting with him and it gives a few chuckles to the player. There are the more random moments like when an enemy butcher gets resurrected and he says something like “Am I late for school?” in a disoriented manner.

There’s sort of a sad or rather tragic comedy in reading the description for collectibles or hearing them in character context. These mutants learned everything second hand from the few surviving humans so the information is sometimes warped along the way. What I mean is, it’s funny to see that hockey padding is considered armor, with a description talking about how they seemed to have been used in stick based gladiatorial fighting done by the ancient humans.

Then on the other side of the equation, hearing Dux’s amazement that the giant metal beasts we refer to as subways moving it tugs at the emotions in an odd way. Kind of makes you realize we take a lot of basic stuff like transportation for granted. Then Dux will confuse a boom box with a literal bomb and the laughs kind of break the tension.

Exploration is a breath of fresh air to the genre. One of the things I did not enjoy about XCOM was there only seemed to be an overhead view of the world where I could sort of just order things to be done, then I was stuck in these turn-based fights. There wasn’t much outside of that.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden throws that away and lets player roam the zones on the map freely when outside of combat and it is as exciting and enjoyable as it is worthwhile. Scrap is basically the in-game currency and exploring will find you a lot more than just running from each objective would. Not only that but it also lets you find these interesting almost side quest locations. There was a bunker I found while exploring that reminded me of the ones in Fallout. Void of human life yet managing to make the player feel not alone. I found a few supplies but came across a room full of enemies ten levels higher than myself. As I tucked my tail between my legs and got out I came across the best pieces of armor in the game that turned the tides of the battles I had been stuck on for a few days.

Speaking of, combat is entirely turn-based and each move comes with its’ pros and cons. What I mean by that is trying the most obvious avenue or strategy doesn’t always pay the best dividends so to speak. Attacking head-on will more often than not leave the player at a disadvantage, that proves wordplay several hours in when a difficulty spike for enemies happens.

Take your time when planning an ambush, look for patrolling enemies that may provide an entry point into the fight that will give you an advantage. Make sure to use the in-game leveling system as well, it will make your group exponentially better suited for combat. Take Selma, for example, she unlocks an ability down the skill tree that will root enemies in place for a few turns that can help keep a fight in your favor. Just a recommendation, make multiple saves in your game especially on the hardest difficulty as permadeath is a thing in that mode. The multiple saves allow you to leave a fight at any point and keep your team alive, it also allows you to go back and try to find a new route or post-apocalyptic and grab some health packs.

It’s not all smiles and roses though with Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. While there isn’t much to not like about the gameplay there are some things worth noting. It does not escape my comprehension that you have to have a system where there is a chance that players can miss a shot. That system though needs to make it seem a little more believable as to why the hell a bullet at ten feet misses when we are both standing still. There were several instances where the bullet, leaves the gun at an angle, which in reality isn’t physically possible.

I’m not always talking about a slightly-off-shot either, it was a huge miss when characters haven’t moved in two turns. It also seems from a logistics standpoint that snipers or marksman characters shouldn’t miss as often as they do. My sniper, Selma, more often than not, missed her opening shots which lead to many more frustrating outcomes then there should have been.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is one of the best games to come out of 2018 and I hope people don’t pass on this game. There is so much here and such a depth to the game that even the newest fan to tactics shooters can enjoy the game.

The graphics are stunning, I currently have them set to medium and they are absolutely gorgeous I’m curious to see how detailed the game is on ultra settings. If you are looking for something new to try or your next fix of tactical gameplay do not overlook Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Review
The Good
  • Wonderful Atmosphere
  • Exploration Matters
  • Character Investment
The Bad
  • Wonky missing at close range
  • Difficulty spike in enemies can wall off story progression
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
9.5
  • Michael Costa

    I loved this game. A total gem that went under the radar.