The Sad Sound of Biomutant
Biomutant has tons of issues. The game, made by a small 20-person team called Experiment 101, first launched a year ago for PS4 and Xbox One. It also technically functions on newer machines, with both Series S and X getting a resolution bump to 4K and PS5 getting no extra features to speak of.
I’ve tried to play through the game several times. I intended to blast through its vast open world in the first few weeks after release and write up a full review. It was meant to be the first in a series of thoughtful game reviews that signaled a shift in my online writing conquest away from tech products and towards gaming software.
This was thwarted when I actually tried the game. It’s kind of a slog. It starts with one of the saddest logo animations I’ve ever seen for a modern game developer and doesn’t get much better from there. The character creator is expressive but there’s no way to know what to pick before you’ve played the game. The combat is floaty and imprecise. Visual bugs abound, including a super common glitch where the main character hardly ever actually touches the ground. Actions in the game lack impact. Whether you’re opening a door, hitting something with a sword, or sprinting around, it all feels a little like it’s covered in butter. And the game has a weird obsession with several Asian cultures, appropriating things left and right to no apparent end, and pasting them on top of clever animal designs. It’s not quite offensive it’s just…odd.
The low production budget hurt other aspects aside from visuals and combat design. The game only has a couple of voice actors speaking the vast majority of the game’s English dialog. Most of the voices in-game are rendered in a fake language. The character will speak for a while, then the pithy narrator will translate. The timings for this were tightened up in a patch, but even with the tweaks, every single scene with dialog in it moves much slower than those in any other major open world game.
You might be thinking that it’s unfair to compare a 20-person team’s game to larger…