UPDATE 7/31/19: Mutant Year Zero publisher Funcom has let us know that the review version of the game we received is based on an older build and is not reflective of the final version. A launch day patch was released for Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden yesterday that greatly improved performance and visual fidelity on Switch. The game is still a bit blurry, particularly in handheld mode, but it is by no means unplayable.
Original story follows.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is an excellent strategy game, taking the core gameplay of XCOM and sprinkling in interesting characters, great world-building, and tense stealth. The game was initially released in December of last year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and its expansion, Seeds of Evil, is out today alongside a Switch port of the complete Mutant Year Zero experience. While I do recommend Mutant Year Zero, I don’t recommend Mutant Year Zero on Switch.
It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch isn’t as powerful as its console counterparts, but it can handle relatively recent titles so long as the developers make some drawbacks and optimizations to get the game running. Sometimes, these drawbacks hinder the experience a bit too much, and Mutant Year Zero is unfortunately one of those cases.
In docked mode, the game is so blurry that it hurts to look at. In calmer moments of exploration and scouting, it’s acceptable, but when things get hectic, typically during combat, the game dips in resolution so drastically to the point where I was getting a headache after playing for a while. Handheld mode is just as bad, and it can be really hard to see things when the game is this blurry on such a small screen. The frame rate chugs a bit sometimes too, making it all the more uncomfortable to look at. The UI resolution is fine though, so you can at least read the text if you’re willing to put up with everything else being blurry.
The game itself is wonderful and I highly recommend it if you enjoy strategy games. It’s pretty much a story-driven XCOM with cool mutant characters and a fairly deep progression system, and the Seeds of Evil expansion adds hours of content onto an already lengthy game. If you can play it on any other platform though, you definitely should, because the Switch version is incredibly watered down compared to every other version out there. Check out the graphics comparison video below to see just how big of a downgrade the Switch port actually is.
It’s not unplayable by any means, especially when Mutant Year Zero‘s combat is turn-based, so technical limitations don’t really stop you from performing to the best of your ability. Still, it’s a blurry mess and the action can be really hard to follow. Enemies and allies alike blend into the environments, making it difficult to keep track of what’s going on at times. This is especially frustrating considering that scavenging and environmental awareness are key aspects of the game, and the unrefined visuals make it more difficult to pick out scrap and other items from Mutant Year Zero‘s scenery.
In its current state, I can’t recommend the Nintendo Switch version of Mutant Year Zero, especially at the $40 price point. The Switch version should be considered a last resort for someone who desperately wants to experience Mutant Year Zero but doesn’t have access to any other platforms. Considering the game has been discounted a few times on other platforms and is included in Xbox Game Pass, there’s very little reason to pay a premium price to get a vastly inferior product. This is definitely a game worth playing and one that I intend to go back to, just maybe on my Xbox instead of my Switch.
Preview Disclosure Statement: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden was provided to us by Funcom for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.