PAX West 2017: Biomutant Preview

When I first saw the trailer to Biomutant at E3, I didn’t really know what to think about it. The trailer was full of CG goodness but there wasn’t any gameplay and it didn’t know what kind of game it was going to be. At PAX this year THQ Nordic had a playable demo and I got to try it out. I sat with one of the of the game’s developers from Experiment 101, who pretty much held my hand the whole way. It was nice because this game has a lot of stuff to learn. If I had to sum it up, I would say the game reminds me of Nier meets Star Wars and I loved every minute of it.

Biomutant starts off with the trailer but immediately after it goes into a character building screen. I’m not sure if we are given other characters to choose from, but for the demo featured a panda/cat looking hybrid with an eye patch. I was able to choose different body types through a type of character creator slider feature, from tall, short, fat or mix in between. From there I could choose the amount of fur on the creature as well as the color of the stripes and fur. Players are given a decent amount of customization in terms of appearances. 

I started the demo in a jungle / wooded area where the world was very colorful with lush landscape and tons of greenery. As I moved my character around to get a feel for him, I was pleased that character movement is very responsive. Then the big giant from the trailer jumps out at me with his club and I’m told that we get to play that part of the trailer in the game. My weapons I start with are a katana like blade and a gun. I was taught how to shoot while locked on and when I get close, how to use my sword and dodge attacks. This is what reminded me of Nier. After doing a certain amount of damage, I have to go in close to initiate the cut scene of me slicing the giants club in half.

The giant then began to chase me, swinging that giant spiked ball around while I run into a hole in a nearby wall. This is where the CG trailer ended but now I am to escape a room full of explosives. After escaping the explosion, I was shown a scene where I mutate and gain different kinds of powers. This new power lets me shed particles off my skin enables a sort of mind control on an enemy. I also learned something similar to a force grab where I can either pull or throw items or enemies. From here on I was able to freely go through the level, running, gunning, and slicing enemies while looking for their weaknesses.

Next, the developer showed me the game’s crafting system. I was able to create new swords and even dual wield, which was really cool. I was also able to add attributes to my weapons such as electrical damage. I then crafted even new guns and was able to power those up as well. There’s so much in terms of customization for the weapons. Finally, I was led to a boss fight where the demo ended just as things were ramping up.

Biomutant is still work in progress at this point, but what I saw and played was quite amazing. Experiment 101 could not give me a release date but speculated sometime in 2018. This is one game everyone should look forward to.

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