Earlier in this year we first caught wind of Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden and its interesting look and design drew me in. It has been a while since I was able to play a good turn-based combat game and it looked like The Bearded Ladies was right on par with trying to bring one to us. Not only that, but also bring one to us based on a classic tabletop game I have never heard of before but many of the team had grown up enjoying. We will stick the new video game here for Mutant Year Zero though as this is what Funcom had the team out at E3 to show us and the world with a nice little demo to build on the gameplay we have seen in the past months already. At least in its most recent form out there.
For those not fully up on Mutant Year Zero it is an RPG that takes place in a world where normal humans no longer walk the Earth and all we have is the ruins of the cities and culture that the current mutants and cyborgs are trying to make heads and tales of. In Road To Eden we will be taking on the role of a team of scavengers and mutants who are out there for story reasons doing what they do best. The demo I was able to play had the three main ones that we have seen many times already, Dux, Bormin, and Selma. It was stated that we would see more mutants in the roster at a later time, but these were the characters that were getting the highlight at E3. It does not look like there will be a character creation system in the final version for those hoping for one, so be ready to play with what we are getting.
After getting the basics understood, I was let loose in the level crafted for this demo and left to my own devices. This let me check out one of the pillars of the gameplay mechanics with the exploration. While Mutant Year Zero is a turn-based combat title in general, we are allowed to have the team searching the world for items, loot, and other objects when not in combat. Each of the characters come with a flashlight and this helps dictate the walking speed we have while roaming. This is also tied into the stealth mechanics of the game, but we will get to that in a moment. When it comes to exploring and scavenging, there are things placed all over the game's environment that have both lore and gameplay uses in Mutant Year Zero. As this demo was more on the mechanics side of things, I ignored most of the lore side of things and just hunted for items to be used while avoiding enemies.
Not every enemy can be fully avoided in the game though and this is where Mutant Year Zero's next pillar seemed to come right in. I was able to use stealth of sorts in the area by moving slower, turning off the flashlight, and getting my characters in position around singular enemies. In many situations, this seems to be the best way to go as you can get an ambush set up and take down enemies one at a time and not have to devolve into a mass combat. This made things much easier and when focusing on silent attacks it would keep the fights down to one or two enemies at a time. Everything was still resolved with the turn-based combat of the core game, but due to the ambush my team would all go first and have a chance to take down enemies before backup could be called in. Normally, character's turns are based upon their stats and you can have them going many different points in the fight.
While I did try to go a stealth route in my demo of Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden, it never seemed to pan out the way I hoped it would. I am thinking this is based on the place the demo took place in the full game and not having hours of practice under my belt. That or the difficulty of the game was ramped up to "force" us to explore the various mechanics and tools we would have in the game. None the less it would devolve into a full map fight were multiple enemies would join in and bring the tactics into full use for both sides. Something I was not always ready for, but that was a user-side issue and nothing I found to be the issue of Mutant Year Zero.
Once the main combat fired off, things would progress as you would expect in a turn-based combat game like Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden. Each character on the screen would have an "action economy" where they could move, make an attack, take a different action, or "dig in" to skip their turn. It quickly began to feel like a combat scene in many of the tabletop games out there with the various options you could take and perform. For instance, I found that I could take two move actions if I did nothing else for the round. Alternatively, I was able to heal myself twice if I did not move. I was also able to move and then attack, or vice versa. All to see who could end each other first before the enemy attack or environmental issue cause my character to drop and need reviving.
Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden — Gameplay
Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden is a tactical adventure game combining the turn-based combat of XCOM with story, exploration, stealth, and strategy. Take control of a team of Mutants navigating a post-human Earth. Created by a team including former Hitman leads and the designer of Payday.
When all is said and done for Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden here, I had a lot of fun failing at what I needed to do. This is in the best kind of way as I pressed forward to try to win and come up with different tactics the various times I played the same match. While I was never able to fully succeed at making it through I was drawn in further to do better and try a few things I did not before. This is something I do not see often in turn-based games like Mutant Year Zero. It usually devolves into the same tactic each time and hoping for the best. Even from the hardships I put myself through for this game, I am looking forward to seeing how it all pans out from The Bearded Ladies and am going to tell you again to keep a close eye on the game for the future.