Following the long-standing convention of complicated role-playing games, Biomutant makes you customize your character—their stats, class, and so on—before you actually know how the game plays. You’re essentially funneled into a situation in which you make lasting decisions without fully understanding their context or long-term ramifications. The following advice should guide you.
There are six breeds in Biomutant: primal, dumdon, rex, hyla, fip, and murgel. Each one grants a minor bonus to certain stats—dumdon gets a boost to melee damage, while rex has high health. Honestly, you can’t really go wrong with any of them. The real stat differentials come from defining your genetic code.
Biomutant doesn’t follow typical RPG stat allotments, in which you neatly allot a predetermined amount of skill points into various stats. Instead, you customize your “genetic code” by moving a cursor around a circular slider. There are five stats—strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality—surrounding the circle. Moving the cursor toward one will increase your proficiency in that regard at the expense of the others.
This also changes your character’s physical appearance. Focus on strength, for instance, and your mangy sewer rat will develop shoulders and deltoids like Henry Cavill. Push the cursor to vitality, and all that muscle mass will shift directly to their thighs. Agile characters are tall. High-intellect characters are short (and have huge noggins). Those with high charisma just look silly.
Each stat dictates a different aspect of your character:
- Vitality: The higher your vitality, the more health (how much damage you can take) and armor (how much damage you can mitigate) you’ll have. You can boost both of these stats by equipping armor down the line.
- Strength: This stat bumps up your melee damage.
- Intellect: Intellect controls your “power,” which dictates how much damage you deal with special psi-power abilities. It also increases your “ki energy” (think: stamina) and the rate at which it recharges.
- Agility: Makes you move faster.
- Charisma: Sets shop prices, both in terms of buying and selling, and makes it easier to persuade various characters in conversation.
- Luck: This controls your chances of landing critical hits and finding high-rarity loot, but you can’t change this during character creation, so don’t pay it any mind.
Here’s where I’d usually say something trite like, “Decide based on your playstyle!” or “Follow your heart!” But if you’re just starting out, you don’t know how Biomutant plays. And some stats are just fundamentally better or worse than others.
Charisma, for instance, is practically useless. You rarely have to use persuasion (read: bullying) in conversation, and the stuff you can buy from vendors is frankly garbage. Vitality, though helpful, is something you can buff as you go, both by leveling up and equipping better armor.
Being able to take out enemies in a few hits is nice, so putting everything into your strength stat isn’t a bad idea. But few stats are more universally helpful than Intellect. Biomutant puts more of a focus on dodging than blocking, and dodging uses up ki energy. You can’t go wrong by investing in intellect—which, again, increases both how much energy you have and how fast it recharges.
At the end of the day, every time you level up—which happens quite frequently throughout Biomutant—you’ll earn a ten-point bonus to the stat of your choice. Your best bet is to start out with a middle-of-the-road character, maybe leaning a bit toward intellect or strength, which will then give you room to pour points into fields as you level up.
Some areas in Biomutant are overcome with one of four elements—heat, cold, radioactive, and biohazard—that will dish out damage the longer you stay in those zones. In the character creation, you can only tweak your resistances on another circular slider, up to a max of 24 percent. (Through side-quests, you can find outfits that grant you a 100-percent resistance to all of these elements, thereby eliminating any damage you’d take.) If you want to go all in on one from the start, radioactive is probably your best bet, since radioactive zones seem to pop up in the early areas more than anything else.
There are five base classes in Biomutant. (Those who pre-ordered get access to a sixth, the mercenary.) Your class doesn’t just determine what skills you start out with. It also determines what gear you start out with, and a handful of class-specific perks you’ll be able to unlock down the line.
- Dead-Eye: You get a pistol and a two-handed sword. This class also starts with the “perfect reload” ability, which allows you to instantly reload your ranged weapons at the push of a button rather than waiting for a cooldown. Most dead-eye perks focus on improving your gunplay.
- Commando: You get just one single-handed weapon plus a rifle, and start out with a skill that increases your range damage by 10 percent. The perks are mostly focused on melee damage.
- Psi-Freak: You start with a pistol and no melee weapon, but get some magic powers, including the “spark ball” ability, which is more or less exactly what it sounds like. Psi-Freak perks are largely to do with buffing your intellect and power damage.
- Saboteur: You get a pistol and not one but two single-hand blades. It’s also the only class that starts off with the skill allowing for dual-wielding. Saboteur perks increase your speed and dodging abilities.
- Sentinel: You start with a pistol and a two-handed crush weapon, plus a 10-point bonus to armor. (In the grand scheme of things, 10 points to your armor isn’t much.) Sentinel perks aren’t terribly helpful. A 10-percent boost to health regeneration? Extra melee damage but only at full health? Pffft, please.
Over the 20 or so hours I’ve spent as a Saboteur in Biomutant, I’ve yet to find a way to unlock all of the other class-specific perks from the other four classes. Even if there is some late- or end-game item I still need to discover, you will at the very least be limited for a while in what perks you can or cannot access, based on the class you choose from the start. (For the curious, Rock Paper Shotgun has a to-the-letter rundown of what perks you can unlock.)
Nah. You can’t immediately change your appearance. Eventually, you’ll meet Trim, an NPC who fittingly dresses like a senior stylist at the trendiest barber in your city. Hey, even in the post-human bio-radiated apocalypse, you still gotta treat yourself from time to time!