What’s in a title? Certain titles let you know exactly what you are going to get. Even if you knew nothing about the Call of Duty franchise, the name alone would let you know that you are looking at a military shooter. The same can be said for Battlefield. It does what it says on the tin. Some games aren’t helped by their title. And I have to say; I don’t think that Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a good title. Fortunately, though, it is a good game.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a tactical adventure game. The adventure part plays like Diablo III with that isometric-style view. You hunt around to find new items and weapons. You also collect scrap (to buy items) and weapon parts (to upgrade your arsenal). Notes are hidden around the world which will give you greater insight into the setting and lore of the game. The tactical part kicks in when you come across an enemy. Combat is turn-based, and movement is on a grid. Choose your move, execute it, and then wait for your enemy to respond.
You control a squad of mutants, with five to choose from. You are only able to have three in your squad at one time, but you can swap them whenever you aren’t in combat. At the start of the game, you only have access to Dux (he looks like a duck) and Bormin (who looks like a pig). You will soon collect Selma, and then the other two characters are found later on in your playthrough. Swapping your characters around to meet your situational needs is essential, especially as you reach the end of your quest.
The actual story is pretty good. I won’t spoil the surprises for you, but I found it to be engaging and, for such a far-fetched scenario, surprisingly logical. The Ark is your home base. Here you can buy new objects, pick up and upgrade your arsenal, as well as unlocking new abilities by returning collectables. You can quickly return to the Ark (and anywhere else you have been to) at any time via the map.
Visually the game looks pretty good. Characters look great as do trees, buildings, cars, and pretty much everything in the world. It’s enhanced on Xbox One X as well. I did come across a few visual glitches when switching between vertical levels, but this was never game breaking. It has to be said that the fire effects are a little basic, but as these would get in the way of the action, it’s forgivable.
What’s not really forgivable is the way that you negotiate the menus. While using (what is effectively) a mouse pointer to navigate the inventory sections is passable, utilising it to navigate a pause menu when the only options are up and down screams of a lazy PC port. It’s a shame really as it does tarnish an otherwise great presentation.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden may have a really clunky title, but it is a great game. I’ve never really dabbled in this type of game before, but I really enjoyed this one. The story is good, the action is fun, and the visuals are impressive. The areas are a little small and the load times could be shorter, but it is a gripping game and one that you should consider checking out (despite that awful title).