My experience with the tactical gaming genre isn’t as robust as most gamers. Yet I’ve always had strong opinions about the notion of starting on opposite sides of a battleground at the beginning of each fight. It just never felt right that my starting moves were always a move action and it just felt limiting to me.
In my two hours with Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, I was happy to find the inclusion of an exploration element combined with an XCOM-style formula and felt like this was something that could be a breath of fresh air for me to get back into the genre.
From the opening of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, I was able to move around freely while collecting scraps, broken weapons parts, and combat items, all of which are used to prepare the character loadouts and attempt to make combat more survivable.
As I mentioned before, what I found unique about Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden was the ability to freely approach combat situations. The player is able to sneak around enemies in real-time and try to get the jump on them or rush in guns blazing, which isn’t advised.
So far, this mechanic allowed me to thin out the numbers of larger groups of enemies by hiding behind cover and picking them off one at a time. There were even times where I was able to take out an enemy type who has the power to call reinforcements, which allowed me to make quick work of the unsuspecting opposition. This freedom has me hoping for moments of triggering large environmental damage, sniping a VIP target, or going entirely stealth to avoid any unnecessary deaths. Call me a coward, but I have a soft spot in my heart for games with extension options.
As for the combat itself, the stats that are usually a staple in tactical combat games are simplified down to a few categories that affect just your damages, criticals, spaces to move and hit chances. Couple that with the few character unique abilities that I unlocked and it seems clear that the game is more focused on straightforward combat. This is apparent with damages being measured in single hit bars and recharges being available after turns or kills.
The benefit is a small learning curve and a user interface that’s not bogged down by walls of information. The only thing I had to worry about was if my hit chance percentage was enough to finish off my opponents. Though this fact doesn’t seem to mean that combat isn’t challenging, on the contrary, I have died plenty of times in my short time with the game and I can’t wait to test whether it has anything to do imbalances to difficulty, strategies that I have yet to try, or if I perhaps have no business calling myself a gamer. Otherwise, instances of rushing my targets with high chance critical weapons, stealth takedowns with silenced guns or planned out series of teammates wiping out powerful brutes are satisfying.
I just hope that exploring more of Eden doesn’t end up being too barebones.
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