On the tail-end of 2018, I got the opportunity to review Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, which took the turn-based combat concepts of XCOM and blended it with real-time stealth mechanics in a way that felt uniquely special. As such, it ended up being one of my favorite games of that year — ever since, I've been curious to see what the game's developer, The Bearded Ladies, has been cooking up next.
With the first expansion to Mutant Year Zero, dubbed "Seed of Evil," my curiosity has been answered. And while its tone, like the base game's, can't decide if it wants to be funny or serious, the expansion as a whole offers a plethora of fun new content to enjoy that any fan of Mutant Year Zero will love.
A new threat to face
Mutant Year Zero: Seed of Evil DLC
Bottom line: Mutant Year Zero's Seed of Evil DLC is an awesome expansion to the game that offers a ton of new content to enjoy.
- Cool story idea
- The new team member rocks
- Plenty of new maps and missions
- Tons of new upgrades and weapons
- Tone feels somewhat inconsistent
What you'll love about the Seed of Evil DLC
The core premise of the story in the Seed of Evil DLC is a pretty sweet one that fits right in with Mutant Year Zero's creepy post-apocalyptic atmosphere. A mysterious type of invasive plant species has wormed its way into The Ark and its surrounding areas, claiming the space for itself and gaining control by taking over the creatures that live there. Before the situation gets too out of hand, it's up to the group of stalkers from the base game — Dux, Bormin, Farrow and Selma — to find out the roots of this new enemy threat and rip them out in order to hopefully end the infestation. In addition, they'll also be added by a new character, a moose mutant called Big Khan.
Big Khan is a fantastic new character that's a blast to have on the team, both in combat and during dialogue.
Big Khan is a veteran stalker with a lot of combat experience, and he's good at showing it. In terms of the gameplay, Big Khan is a bit of a middle ground between Bormin's tanky style and Dux's glass-cannon design, making him a strong jack-of-all-trades type that can fit into any team build well. His specialty is dealing with foes clustered up, as his Flame Puke and Ground Pound mutation abilities both are best used when targeting groups. From a story perspective, Big Khan brings a consistent, serious kind of voice to the game that I have always wished it had; for the most part, I think the other characters have always been too comedy-focused.
As for the expansion's gameplay overall, The Bearded Ladies really knocked it out of the park with this one. The new plant-type enemies are really fun to fight and bring a breath of fresh air to Mutant Year Zero, and the fact that you have to adapt to the new challengers with new approaches makes Seed of Evil feel like a true expansion and not just a tacked-on afterthought. As with the base game, though, the core focus of the experience is finding a way to stealthily move about in real-time to take as many foes out as you can out one-by-one, then engage the remaining enemies in a traditional-style, turn-based firefight. The turn mechanics shine brightly here, as you'll be constantly thinking ahead and trying to plan for all the different ways a battle could go. Is Dux's sniping position too close to enemies? Does Big Khan have adequate cover to hide behind between turns? Should you move and shoot this turn, or should you sprint twice as far to a better position and then attack on the next turn? These are the types of tactical questions that Mutant Year Zero forces you to ask yourself, and that strategic focus hasn't changed with Seed to Evil. The only things that are different are the foes you meet in battle.
In some ways, this expansion feels like another game in and of itself.
It's not all just combat, though; The Seed of Evil takes you through a handful of brand new maps to explore as you complete the expansion's missions, each one filled with interesting items to find. On top of this, the old areas from the base game have been overhauled, too, and many of them have been reclaimed by foes, meaning that they need to be cleared again. These new enemies are tougher than the ones that came before, offering the player a new challenge that can reward them with better gear. As you go through these areas and get stronger, you can also upgrade the base game characters with new versions of their abilities that come with the Seed of Evil DLC. For example, Bormin's Hog Rush can now be upgraded to Bear Smash, which significantly increases its effectiveness in destroying cover and knocking foes down. These new upgrades give you the firepower that you're going to need to quell Seed of Evil's threats.
What you'll love less about the Seed of Evil DLC
The only real gripe I have with the Seed of Evil DLC is that, like with the base game, some of the characters have a weird tone that comes off as half-silly, half-serious. I'm not sure if it's just me, but something just doesn't click with me in regards to how the characters are written. I think the developers were going for a dark comedy of sorts with this game and its setting, but it just comes off as inconsistent to me. As I said, I really like Big Khan, but something about Dux and Bormin in particular irks me a bit. The characters themselves are likable, but their writing overall isn't as "smooth" as I would have liked.
Should you buy the Seed of Evil DLC?
While there's something that doesn't sit quite right with me in regards to Mutant Year Zero's characters, that's not even close to being a good reason not to get the Seed of Evil expansion. Offering a plethora of new, enjoyable content to experience for a little under half of the base game's retail price, Mutant Year Zero: Seed of Evil represents incredible value for your money.
If you enjoyed the base game, than you'd be crazy not to buy this expansion. It takes everything that Mutant Year Zero does so well and expands upon it tremendously.
Mutant Year Zero: Seed of Evil is available now for $15 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
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