Mutant Year Zero Took me by surprise. When you tap on the space bar to change from the real-time exploration mode to the turn-based strategic mode, it’s not considered triggering battle. You’re not entering into battle. The term”Fight!” Doesn’t leap from the centre of the display. Rather, the space bar is labeled”Ambush” and, while pressing it will indeed initiate a turn-based XCOM-design experience, the semantics make all the difference.
Road To Eden is all about utilizing stealth to thoroughly scout dangers ahead, then applying that knowledge to maneuver your squad into position for the perfect ambush. Do your research and plan well, and you are able to take out your goal without them (or their cohorts) even understanding what has happened. Proceed without warning and you are soon going to be bleeding out, your impatience badly penalized. Approached properly, Mutant Year Zero isn’t a challenging game; it’s a tight, cohesive strategic masterclass that rewards the diligent participant.
Road to Eden depicts a post-apocalyptic Scandinavia where Resources are scarce and comprehension of what the world used to be is much harder to find. Stalkers are shipped from the Ark, one of the few remaining hubs of human civilization, into the Zone to scavenge for scrap and fend off the bandits, ghouls, feral dogs and much worse that now occupy the ruined suburbs and towns. Everyone, even those safe in the Ark, has been touched by mutation. But Dux and Bormin, both starting playable stalkers, are different; they are mutated animals, a duck and a boar, respectively.
At first glance, there’s a lot you Can do to customize each stalker and gear up them to specialize in certain fields, permitting you to mix and match your active squad based on the task at hand. The restricted number of weapons and utter expense of updates means you are forced to create tough choices. Should you spend literally all of your weapon parts on the close-quarters potency of Bormin’s scattergun, or are you better served by enhancing the ranged effectiveness of Dux’s crossbow? You can only afford one right now and again, since there’s no capacity for grinding, it might be some time until you are able to afford another.
Occasionally The choices are easier. Up against spiders? You’ll want a minumum of one stalker, likely two, using a successful EMP attack. Up against dogs? You’ll want at least one stalker, likely two, with crowd control abilities to prevent their melee rush. If you have done your scouting properly, you will know what’s coming and know which stalkers to swap in and out until you tap which spacebar. But don’t tap that spacebar only yet. You are not quite ready.
The Zone is divided into a couple dozen maps networked Across southwest Sweden. They are not especially large–larger than an XCOM map, but hardly sprawling–and usually centered on an identifiable feature: a scrapyard, a school, a subway station, a quick food restaurant, etc. When you enter an area you are in pursuit mode and free to wander around in real time. When you see an enemy you can enter stealth mode by shifting your flashlight, thus slightly lowering your visibility but also greatly reducing the distance at which the enemy will spot you. You are still moving around in real time, just slower and much more subtly.
The tension is Ratcheted up through this pre-combat exploration phase, as you are tip-toeing into hostile territory, identifying the number of enemies await you, what types they are, what levels they are, whether they are patrolling, where these patrol paths require them, in which their vision cones intersect, etc. You’ve discovered a enemy’s patrol route takes him from others. You hit F to split up your party and guide them into place. Bormin gets his back to a tree, Dux is about the roof of a nearby building, and Selma is crouched behind a stone at the conclusion of the unsuspecting enemy’s patrol route. He is there now. Time to hit the spacebar.
It is about the ambush. It is about analyzing each Scenario in the exploration period and differentiating which enemies you can remove, one by one, without alerting others. But pulling off a run of clean hits isn’t always possible. Inevitably something goes wrong–you’ll miss that 75% chance shot you’re counting or fail to perform quite enough damage before the enemy gets its turn and calls out for reinforcements–and suddenly the entire place is on alert and you’re scrambling to improvise a new plan. In such moments of high turmoil, once the rug is pulled out from under you, this is where the game really shines.
The tactical combat engine borrows a lot from Firaxis’ resurrection of XCOM and offers as much depth alongside a demonstration that ensures all important data is clearly communicated in any way times. And you have to be well-informed, because most of the time–out of those odd simple skirmish that introduces a new component –there is an awful lot to consider. Enemy variety is crucial; you will find basic brutes who charge you in melee, snipers who hunker down on overwatch, shamen who will call in reinforcements, and medbots who will reestablish enemies, pros who nourish you out with molotovs, and that’s just the first phases. Later, there are high-HP tanks that can ram your cover, priests who will buff fellow enemies or send chain lightning strikes, giant puppies who will knock you over and maul you for multiple endings, but others have mind control powers and more. Tackling collections of enemies drawn from several of those types can be enormously challenging, even once you’ve culled their amounts with some critical early stealth takedowns.
The stakes are large, especially on the harder Problem settings. Your stalkers’ health will be measured in only and low-double digits for much of the match, meaning it only requires a couple of direct hits to put them down. Similarly, your weapons can only fire once, twice, or if you’re lucky, three times before you want to use up valuable actions points . These restricted resources echo the post-secondary topics of survival and scarcity while also increasing moment-to-moment strategic considerations in combat.
Juggling all of the demands of combat, from patiently Assessing the area beforehand through to learning how to best counter every enemy type and improvising a new strategy as it all goes horribly wrong, create an immensely satisfying tactical experience. But as enjoyable as the predefined experiences on offer within the class of Road to Eden’s largely linear story are, it is still a linear story. On a new playthrough, the exact same map will still feature the very same enemies standing in exactly the very same areas or conducting the identical patrol routes. Exterior of testing yourself against the hardest problem and a permadeath manner (assuming you do not opt for these first time through), there is not a great deal of replay value to be found.
It is a shame, since the combat Engine is so robust, I would love to keep to pit myself from some type of randomly generated map after completing the main story. Mutant Year Zero’s clever concentrate on stealth and pre-combat preparation reward your diligence, its own turn-based combat encounters are complex, and they help bolster its all-encompassing post-apocalyptic setting. It is a superb tactical battle campaign that you shouldn’t let creep past.
Mutant Year Zero: Deluxe Edition is now out on Nintendo Switch, and it features new expansion, Seeds Of Evil. While this version runs smoothly, it displays poor visual fidelity in comparison to its console and PC counterparts. Whether handheld or docked mode, a low resolution and fuzzy general appearance reduce the luster of post-apocalyptic Sweden. Additionally, it makes scavenging places for weapon and scrap components –crucial to maintaining your Stalkers well-equipped, and difficult items to spot–much tougher.
The Seeds Of Evil Expansion, also on other platforms, expands the game’s narrative Past the somewhat abrupt ending of Road To Eden. Additional map areas And fresh enemy archetypes introduce hard new situations; a new Character, extra weapons, and upgraded perks give you more options To think about as you plan your own ambushes. Seeds of Evil also adds a system That will occasionally repopulate current map areas with enemies and Items, which effectively adds a continual stream of discretionary experiences And mitigates the foundation game’s issues with replayability.