PAX East 2019: ‘Biomutant’ is the PAX East’s Best in Show

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PAX East is always filled with a plethora of amazing games. There are so many new titles and different hooks to reel a player in. Whether you’re looking for something completely new in regards to in-game mechanics, a genre hybrid, or the biggest most polished AAA titles around, the show floor has something for everyone. I spent some time thinking, “Of all these games, which one do I feel deserves special recognition to me?”

It wasn’t easy, I had a ton of new experiences and enjoyed so many new games. But, in the end, I picked the one that best encapsulated what I look for in a game. A ton of character honed to a dazzling finish with an ample coat of polish.

Developer Experiment 101 and publisher THQ Nordic appear to be bringing that kind of experience home with Biomutant. Biomutant is an open-world action role-playing game where you take control of a raccoon-like creature in a world filled with mutated animals. In traditional RPG fashion, the game has branching storylines where decisions you make will decide how the story will continue. After a poisonous oil causes a natural disaster in the world of Biomutant, the Tree of Life is polluted. The Tree of Life gives life to the whole world and in order to save it, you need to destroy the oil creatures threatening it.

Everything about the ten-minute demo I played amazed me. From the gorgeous graphics, the perfectly executed third-person action, and the charming narration which allowed me to learn about the world I was inhabiting without slowing down the journey, it all worked together for a great experience. It was the only game at the show I took the time to get in line for a second playthrough.

The character generation was quick but allowed good customization both in your characters attributes and appearance. Using color wheels to select fur colors and types made the process much simpler than having half a dozen slide bars to operate. I was happy it didn’t take to long because I wanted all the time to the gameplay I could get.

Sporting a classic third-person action view your character begins the game with a shotgun style projectile weapon and a basic sword for melee. Both weapons packed a good punch and I never felt like I needed to lean towards one or the other to really bring the baddies down. It was just whatever the situation required.

Melee has a few extra bells and whistles as timing dodges correctly would trigger a slow-motion event where you can dish out even more damage to foes, and of course, the classic “get the enemy down low on health and do a stylish finisher” mechanic. All of which looked extremely impressive. With loads of dodge animations and attack sequences in use, I never once noticed my character do something that felt clunky. For example, the default dodge is a roll. But, if you dodge toward a large character rather than just roll the player will slide feet first and spring up facing the target. Every action I saw was the same context-sensitive animations and it made everything look amazing.

The demo wasn’t even long enough to get into all the layers of customization Experiment 101 has been talking about. From attributes to weapons and item crafting, if the full game fulfills its immersive promises beyond the 10-minutes I played, I can easily see it becoming a title that defines a console generation.

Biomutant’s release later this year for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC cannot come soon enough for me.