Tobold's Blog
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

After not being all that happy with Phoenix Point, I wanted to try a different turn-based tactical shooter game. So I started playing Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. This is not exactly the same genre: There is a lot less of the strategic level gameplay, there is just a base in which you use various currencies to upgrade your soldiers. And instead of having randomly generated soldiers, you get a very limited number of characters, which will revive at the end of a combat, unless you selected the permadeath option. I don't what happens if you choose the permadeath option, because it seems to me that the characters are essential to the story, maybe its just game over. The option didn't look like something I wanted to try.

Unlike XCom or Phoenix Point, Mutant Year Zero is also a lot more about sneaking. Fortunately, the game very clearly tells you that. It is much better to first walk around the enemy camp, watch their patrol movements, and then pick off stragglers in a single round of combat with silenced weapons. If you can do that, combat ends, and when you start the main fight, there is an enemy less. There are fights where you can do that repeatedly, until the boss mob is all alone, which makes fighting that one a lot easier.

The characters in Mutant Year Zero are not only interesting, they also have different skill trees, a.k.a. mutations. The boar is more of a tank, while the duck is more of a sniper, for example. As your squad is never bigger than 3 characters (when you get a 4th, you need to choose who to take), turns in combat are faster than in the other games. Another notable difference is that all the battles are set, there are no random maps with random enemies. On the downside that turns enemies into a resource with limited supply: You can't just go and do a couple more fights against lower level enemies if you want to level up. It also means that there is less replayability.

However, I would say that for one playthrough, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a lot more fun than Phoenix Point. It is better written, funnier, more balanced, more interesting to play, and a lot less buggy and frustrating. Recommended!

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