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Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden Crosses Stealth With Turn-Based Tactics

by Jacob Bukacek

Quick question: is Ducks a mutant duck or a human mutated to look like a duck?

With a name like “Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden,” a game’s nature can be hard to discern at first glance. Fortunately for everyone, its developer has put out a short video laying out exactly players can expect from the game when it launches later this year. The shorthand version is that it’s a cross between Hitman and XCOM, but that doesn’t quite describe the full experience Mutant Year Zero is aiming to provide its players.

As the game’s director, Lee Varley, says in the video: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a tactical adventure game set in the universe of the Mutant Year Zero tabletop game. As its story plays out, players are tasked with taking teams of mutants into “the Zone” and retrieving artifacts for use in “the Ark.” Set some centuries after a global cataclysm, most of the world’s inhabitants are mutated in one way or another. Those with mostly beneficial mutations have banded together to create safe havens like the Ark, while those less fortunate wander the inhospitable Zone beyond the Ark’s walls. Forays into the Zone are necessary for the Ark’s continued existence, so teams of “stalkers” must regularly go out, salvage whatever they can, and carefully dispatch the crazed monstrosities slinking around its crumbling ruins.

Stalkers have powerful mutations on their side, but their enemies are even more powerful still; engaging hapharzdly can quickly get a stalker team killed, so they must carefully set up and execute every engagement. This is where Mutant Year Zero’s stealth and turn-based systems come into play. Players must quietly set-up their attacks in real-time and then switch to XCOM-style actions once the moment of truth arrives.  Like XCOM’s units, mutants will gain new abilities and specializations as they complete more encounters. However, players can create their own combinations of abilities once they’re available instead of having to lock-in each mutant’s skills as they’re gained. It’s a level of flexibility that’s not often seen in these sorts of games, and is sure to help this project establish itself as something unique within its genre.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden launches for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on December 4.

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