A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a downloadable strategy role-playing game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The Nintendo Switch version is the deluxe version and includes this game and the expansion, Seed of Evil. This game's based on a tabletop role-playing game, and takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where characters fight mutants, ghouls, and other creatures in an attempt to survive another day. Combat’s a key part of the gameplay, with characters using firearms, grenades, and mutant powers to kill their opponents, who scream when defeated. Blood frequently flies from wounds, and bodies are often scattered across the environment to show the devastation. There’s lots of swearing that pops up in dialogue, as well as in random comments in the middle of battle, including “f--k” and “s--t.” Apart from references to grog, a generic name for alcohol, and a bar where character upgrades are hosted, there’s nothing seen of characters drinking.
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What's it about?
MUTANT YEAR ZERO: ROAD TO EDEN is a strategy role-playing game set on a truly devastated Earth in the far flung future. After massive climate change, a global plague, and nuclear war, the few remaining remnants of humanity have gathered together in scattered enclaves or bunkers. Only the bravest members of these societies, called Stalkers, venture out into the wasteland with weapons and mutant abilities looking for equipment and resources to bring back to their people. Players take on the role of Dux and Bormin, two Stalkers from a large settlement known as The Ark. When they discover that a fellow team of Stalkers have gone missing, it’s up to these two to build a squad of fellow adventurers, explore the wasteland, and hopefully bring their people home safe. Players will engage in stealthy exploration of their environments, which quickly turns into turn-based squad battles against a variety of enemies. Success frequently results in scrap materials that can be used to buy upgrades, or even powerful artifacts that can give ability enhancements. But act quickly, Stalker -- the fate of The Ark, and possibly all of humanity, rests in your hands.
Is it any good?
This post-apocalyptic strategy role-playing game (RPG) is packed with atmosphere and engaging touches, but it’s the challenging fights that will keep strategy fans coming back for more. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is based off of a table top RPG where players take the role of Stalkers, brave adventurers on a Mad Max-like journey through the wastelands. These aren’t typical heroes either; Dux and Bormin are a talking duck and boar, respectively, each with their own mutated superpowers. While you don’t know much about the characters until the very end (with a reveal that’s clearly set up for a sequel or a franchise), you do get glimpses of what these battle-hardened, cynical warriors think from snarky comments about situations they find themselves in. As you explore the world, you’ll come across things they’ve never seen before; airplane crashes are regarded as “metal birds,” and in their eyes, a lumber mill with piled up timber has “strange sideways growing trees.” The glimpses of this devastated world, especially as you start to put together what they’re exploring, is a lovely atmospheric touch.
Gameplay's a mix of exploration and stealth, as you search for items while avoiding possible hazards and threats. But this also raises one of the game's biggest issues, which is that combat really tests your tactical skills. You can’t distract opponents and can only pick off a few enemies with stealth attacks. Unfortunately, that means that when battle starts, every enemy in the area comes running, and frequently calls for back up. At that point, if you’re not at a high level or have the right gear, the only solution is to reload your game and try again, which can be frustrating. Fights are complex puzzles here, and it’ll take time to figure out each solution. Nintendo Switch owners should also be aware that while the game includes both this game and the original, the visuals are a bit muddy and hard to see, which can be a problem when you're searching for items in the environment. Playing it on a television helps slightly, but it's still a bit rough to pick up all the details you'd like, so you may miss vital items. For role-playing gamers and strategy fans willing to put in the time to solve these fights or adjust their tactics in the middle of battle, they’ll find a lot of fun in taming the wastelands of Mutant: Year Zero.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden affected by the bloody and violent battles that happen in each area? Would the impact be lessened if there wasn’t as much blood or gore shown?
Why do you think post-apocalyptic stories or dystopias are popular in science fiction? Do you think there are lessons or warnings that can be learned from these stories? For all of the despair, do these tales also highlight hope and goodwill?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $34.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: FunCom
- Release date: December 4, 2018
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood, Language
- Last updated: August 12, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.