It’s of­fi­cial. The gun-tot­ing rac­coons shall in­herit the earth!

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - PREVIEW - Sa­muel Ri­ley

If look­ing af­ter the planet were a full­time oc­cu­pa­tion, hu­man­ity’s CV would al­ready be lin­ing a land­fill. Still, what if mankind re­ally were made re­dun­dant? Who, or what, would go on to in­herit the earth? While X-Men makes the case for the mu­tants and Plan­etOfThe Apes opts for… well, apes, Swedish de­vel­oper Ex­per­i­ment 101 is choos­ing to em­brace both. No more hu­mans and a mu­tant crit­ter on the loose? Wel­come to ‘a wolver­ine and the ex-men’.

This is Biomu­tant, an open-world ac­tion-RPG from the minds be­hind the

JustCause se­ries. De­signed as a sort of post-apoc­a­lyp­tic fa­ble—and nar­rated in ‘sto­ry­book-style’ through­out—the game fea­tures in­tel­li­gent an­i­mals bat­tling it out as part of var­i­ous warring tribes. The pro­tag­o­nist mean­while, a diminu­tive rac­coon-like crea­ture (think Rocket cos­play­ing as a cow­boy) is out to in­ves­ti­gate the ap­pear­ance of a thick black tar that could sig­nal The End™.

So far so fairy­tale, or so it may seem, but make no mis­take—

Biomu­tant is no Pixar movie. Nor, how­ever, is it un­nec­es­sar­ily edgy. This is a world of grit, grime, quirk, and color—be­ing nei­ther re­al­is­tic nor to­tally fan­tas­ti­cal.

In­deed, ro­bust, nu­anced de­sign is at the heart of ev­ery­thing Ex­per­i­ment 101 is try­ing to achieve here. Side quests, we’re told, will be highly en­gag­ing af­fairs, lower in num­ber than your stan­dard RPG per­haps, but eas­ily more worth­while. Craft­ing also prom­ises to bring plenty of depth to pro­ceed­ings—al­low­ing you to tin­ker with weapons and gear at will, and to an im­pres­sively var­ied de­gree.

Dark­siders May Cry

Speak­ing of weapons, the game’s core com­bat sys­tem also prom­ises to be a cut above the usual ac­tion-RPG. To that end, Ex­per­i­ment 101 has de­signed a fluid, freeform scrap­ping sys­tem that bears more than a pass­ing re­sem­blance to the likes of

Dark­siders and DevilMayCry. While face but­tons han­dle the gun­ning, jump­ing, rolling, and strik­ing, shoul­der in­puts al­low you to briefly ‘remap’ the pad in or­der to ex­e­cute pun­ish­ing mu­tant pow­ers. It all adds up to a com­bat sys­tem that’s less about di­alling in the com­bos and more about us­ing your skills in con­cert.

That’s where mu­ta­tions come into play. Th­ese abil­i­ties range from shoot­ing light­ning from your fin­ger­tips, to mov­ing ob­jects around with telekine­sis. One par­tic­u­larly use­ful abil­ity in­volves plant­ing large mush­rooms that dou­ble up as jump pads—per­fect for get­ting to those hard-to-reach ar­eas or launch­ing your foes into an air­borne combo. All told, the game will fea­ture around 40 of th­ese unique and quirky pow­ers, with no two abil­i­ties work­ing the same way.

This is ‘char­ac­ter ac­tion’ on a sand­box scale, though thanks to the game’s Bion­ics sys­tem, get­ting around re­ally ought to be a breeze— quite lit­er­ally in the case of the Da Vinci-es­que wing­suit. Other meth­ods of trans­port in­clude a bruis­ing mech, a jet-ski-style wa­ter­craft and even other an­i­mals. Best of all is the ‘hand tank’, an over­sized man­nequin hand that scur­ries around like Thing Adams be­fore shoot­ing bul­lets from its fin­gers. Talk about re­dun­dancy—we can’t imag­ine you’d want to ride around on any­thing else.

If that all sounds am­bi­tious, that’s prob­a­bly be­cause it is. Still, small stu­dio or not, Ex­per­i­ment 101 clearly has good rea­son to be ex­cited about

Biomu­tant. Gamers ought to be, too.

“The game’s core com­bat sys­tem prom­ises to be a cut above the usual ac­tion-RPG”

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