So this is kind of a weird post for me because it’s one that’s multi-purpose. A few hours after my Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden – Switch review went live the game received a Day One patch that brought in the game’s new expansion Seed of Evil and fixed a large amount of the performance issues that plagued the version I played. So why not just slot this under a neat little “Update” banner on the original review? Well, because I think those updates often go unnoticed by many readers and I think that Seed of Evil offers enough growth to the series that to relegate it to a mere paragraph on an existing article would be a disservice to the developers. So consider this for what it is: Both an update on the base game and an elaborated review of what I believe to be the version the developers wanted everyone to see.
To get us started, the Day One patch did a little more than simply activate the expansion, but rectified a lot of performance issues I experienced with the original game. The build I initially reviewed suffered tremendously from a lacklustre resolution in both handheld and docked and stuttered to a nearly unplayable state when enemies took their turns in combat, the patch has all but solved these issues. While the game is still definitely a graphical downgrade from what you’d expect to see on more powerful hardware, both the environments and character models have been spruced up to fix a lot of the jagged edges and loose polygons jutting out at strange angles. The game seems altogether clearer in both handheld and docked and it’s actually possible to move around the environments without getting stuck on invisible pieces of geometry. While the frame rate does still occasionally drop it’s far more consistent and never as drastic resulting in combat that only flows better but also feels so much better to participate in.
Alongside these fixes to the game’s performance, the Day One patch activated the Seeds of Evil expansion which brings a substantial amount of content to the game. I should say this upfront, SoE doesn’t bring anything new to Mutant Year Zero. It’s still fundamentally the same game, revolving around real-time stealth and tactical turn-based combat. So if the base game didn’t sell you on its hybrid gameplay loop don’t expect Seed of Evil to spark an awakening of interest in the title. That being said, Seed of Evil does excel at being an expansion by expanding the core experience ever outward. Writing about games is easy.
The expansion brings a whole bundle of new content, including new maps and locations, weapons, enemy types and new playable mutant for your party, Big Khan. He’s an imposing figure with his spectacular horns and stature, adding what is ostensibly a new tank to the roster, something the original Mutant needed desperately as only having one beefy boy to soak up damage never felt enough. Seed of Evil is designed to be a form of endgame to complete after the original campaign as the new enemies are not only far more difficult a challenge with even the highest level party but the game compensates for this by allowing mutants to enhance already obtained mutations in order to make them even more combat efficient. What was once a charge to simply destroy cover can be turned into a pummel to send even the heartiest of enemy flying backwards and stunning them for three turns; certain mutants can go invisible between stealth kills so as to make sneaking around easier.
And yet while all these upgrades to the core gameplay come as a welcome improvement to the already in-depth tactics system within the game, I wish the same could be said of the new environments. Hailed as a frozen and intolerable Northern Zone, the new environments are nothing special, looking more just like many of the original maps with a sprinkling of snow. While tiered buildings do seem more prevalent than in the base game, I would have liked to have seen something unique with these post-game locales that wasn’t just “cold”.
The story is also nothing too special but still manages to hold the attention. The original story of Mutant Year Zero annoyed me with it’s consistent and self-serious post-apocalyptic clichés and while Seed of Evil definitely ditches many of these tried and test story beats, it still doesn’t manage to really manage to make itself stand out from the dozens of games set after a nuclear event. What kept me going forward was the addictive and deep combat system that just keeps opening up new strategies based on how your progress your characters; that is definitely Mutant Year Zero’s selling point.
After playing through the original build of the game on Switch I thought Mutant Year Zero on Switch would be a hard sell; the numerous performance hang-ups really soured what is at its core a really strong game. I’m pleased to say that after the update MYZ’s best elements now easily outweigh any of its flaws and the Seed of Evil adding even more content to the game makes for an experience all but impossible not to recommend. If you’re looking for a turn-based strategy game with satisfying character progression on the game (that won’t take up over 80 hours of life) look no further than Mutant Year Zero.
Mutant Year Zero’s Day One patch has fixed nearly all the problems the base game suffered from and brought a welcome collection of new content in the form of Seed of Evil resulting a complete experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Last Updated: August 2, 2019