Biomutant Review | Tom’s Guide
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5 (tested), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Release date: May 25, 2021 / September 6, 2022
Plagued by performance issues and graphical issues, THQ Nordic’s Biomutant launched last spring to mixed reviews. In addition to its technical shortcomings, the open-world action-RPG was criticized for delivering a merely average gaming experience, which failed to stand out in the competitive genre.
Just over a year later, the kung fu-fueled post-apocalyptic adventure returns with a new layer of polygons on the Xbox series X and PlayStation 5. The bloated title also eliminates bugs, provides snappier loading times, and even makes the protagonist’s rodent-like fur look more realistic. More than an incremental update, the current version of Biomutant represents the definitive edition of the title.
While both current-gen consoles get the updated perks, Biomutant brings a bit more to the PS5. Specifically, the game leverages the DualSense controller, increasing the level of immersion through the device’s adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and built-in speaker. Read on for our full Biomutant review.
Biomutant Review: Next-Gen Upgrades
Like many games that debuted on last-gen consoles, Biomutant received an enhanced version for current-gen consoles. And as with similar titles, its update is a free download for players who have already purchased the game on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
Whether you’ve played the game before or are new to Biomutant, you’ll enjoy a consistently smooth and graphically impressive experience. The first thing that struck me was the fur covering my post-apocalyptic protagonist. This fur could give Pawl soft and supple coat a race for his bolts. The smooth lighting and detailed textures are equally impressive, doing their part to bring the game’s vibrant and varied world to life.
All thanks to the game’s new 4K resolution, HDR enhancements and faster frame rates. The PS5 version offers three modes: Quality (30 fps at 4K) Quality Unleashed (40+ fps up to 4K) and Performance (60 fps at 1440p). I stuck with the middle option, the best of both worlds, and felt more than happy with the visual clarity and frame rate speed.
The game’s DualSense integration also works well, producing plenty of sound and vibration. Biomutant uses this technology liberally, from chaotic combat to silent puzzle-solving challenges to dialogue-rich character encounters. However, the DualSense features still don’t offer the detail or depth I’ve experienced in other games. There are a few nuanced exceptions, such as the satisfying rattle of an old projector’s film reels coming from the speaker. But overall the comments seem a bit generic and superfluous.
Beyond the aforementioned upgrades, Biomutant also seems more stable. I have never encountered any crashes or progress-blocking bugs. Even minor, occasional glitches – such as graphical pop-ups and clipping – weren’t prevalent enough to pull me out of the experience. Add super-fast loading times and the PS5 improvements generally work as advertised.
Biomutant review: Setting, story and characters
The world of Biomutant, its inhabitants, and their story of ecological survival were some of the best parts of the original release. The story was shallow and added nothing to the real-world conversation about corporate greed and the consequences of ignoring the Earth’s pollution problem. But the game still offered a relatively new take on the post-apocalypse.
Trading the genre’s typical “nuclear annihilation” plot for humanity’s irresponsibility neglecting the planet not only paved the way for a new storytelling, but also illuminated the look of the world and its inhabitants. Biomutant’s hairy, paw-like population is more aesthetically creepy than cute, but I enjoyed the dystopian setting nonetheless, full of creatures that survived and thrived, evolving into humanoids with special powers, abilities, and intelligence.
In addition to featuring a clever cast of anthropomorphs, Biomutant organically ties its quirky characters to the story, world, and gameplay. The Sludge Soaker you fight early on, for example, didn’t just experience a spill; it is suitable the hazardous substance to thwart threats. Other villains have made similar tweaks, like using the doors of derelict vehicles as shields.
The dire state of the world also benefits the player, as the protagonist continually exploits it to power up special skills and abilities. Oversized mushrooms can propel the hero upwards or send enemies flying, while other mutations harness toxic waste and radioactive material to inflict serious damage. These examples only scratch the surface, but the game does a great job of tying its polluted planet setting to its story and characters.
The look of the world follows suit, forgoing the usual muted color palettes for a varied and vibrant map that doesn’t make the end of the world look so bad. Sure, there are run-down towns that wouldn’t seem out of place in the dreary world of Last of Us. But among the destroyed buildings and abandoned cars, you’ll spot colorful banners and billboards, complete with cute mascots, like a bowl of smiling ramen. Biomutant’s world may be destroyed, but that’s not depressing.
As attractive as the presentation is, it has flaws that break the immersion. The endless dialogue exchanges seem more tedious than charming. The characters also speak in gibberish that your robot-bug companion translates for you. It’s an inventive touch, but one that will make you want to spam the “skip” button.
Cutscenes also lack polish, containing awkward and jarring cutscenes, as well as awkward transitions in and out of gameplay. Despite all the graphical and performance improvements brought by the current-gen makeover, it seems to have ignored the refinement of second-order cutscenes entirely. I also encountered several audio issues, such as complete silence when my hero waved his arms in the water.
Biomutant review: Gameplay
Biomutant is packed with systems and mechanics, from a myriad of combat options to a staggering array of RPG features. The game is undeniably ambitious, but also feels like it’s shot up to the stars, only to barely clear the clouds.
Battles, for example, encourage you to unleash a creative and combined variety of melee, ranged, and magic-type abilities. Mixing and matching the different skills is fun in the early hours of the game, when the leveling systems and character progression paths still have a lot of potential. But after hours of leveling up, unlocking weapons and abilities, and investing in the various in-game currencies to evolve my build, I found that just using the same few moves over and over was just as good. efficient.
Most fights don’t pack a lot of figurative punch. Targeting is imprecise, attacks lack impact, and controls feel loose. Combat is light and buoyant, rather than heavy and sticky. Throw a camera that often gets caught behind objects, and battling the sheer number of mutated enemies just isn’t as fun as it could be. Boss battles offer a glimpse of potential, but in general the combat lacks the same creativity and polish that went into Biomutant-inspired world-building.
Other elements of the game seem equally uninspired, from its mission structure and morality system to its puzzles and various upgrade paths. Everything works, but he rarely offers anything new or unexpected. There are exceptions, like a crafting system that captures the feel of tinkering with post-apocalyptic junk. But most of the time, you’re just going with the flow, engaging in activities that other games have done better. None of this is terrible, but the systems rarely rise above “adequate”.
Biomutant Review: Verdict
Thanks to a PS5 upgrade that improves game performance and beautifies the presentation, Biomutant looks and performs better than ever. It also offers a new spin on post-apocalyptic tropes. This welcome approach not only informs the story, but also spawns an imaginative world full of colorful characters and creative creature designs.
However, Biomutant’s gameplay rarely lives up to its promises. Clunky, repetitive combat is the worst offender, betraying the potential of the many character-building options. There’s also an assortment of RPG systems and mechanics that tick the expected boxes, but do little to stand out from the crowd.
Biomutant is an ambitious offering, clearly built by passionate developers. And although it pales in comparison to the giants of the genre, such as Ghost of Tsushima Where Forbidden Horizon Westhe also comes from a much smaller team, at a fraction of the budget.
It’s not a bad game, but Biomutant would have benefited from more refined and less noble aspirations. Despite its warts, it’s a useful, occasionally inspired action/RPG that will deftly scratch the itch of the genre until God of War Ragnarok shots.