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Atomic Heart Gameplay Review

Greetings, fellow travelers, Originally, I wanted this to be a review of my just talking about the World Design and World Building, but I discovered I have something to say about the gameplay and overall product as well. So, instead of writing one long article, I cut it into several parts.



But first, please support our current Kickstarter for Bound for the Styx. Not only will you support the Association of Ishtar series. You will help this channel create more original art that we can use to grow the community and create an Association of Ishtar video series. Just by donating a single dollar, you are entitled to our KS exclusive Content, such as stories by guests and E-books.






The reviews of Atomic Heart are somewhat lukewarm, describing the gameplay as competent but uninspired. Apart from being another Bioshock-inspired game, I also felt a strong Prey vibe - Another retrofuturistic open-world survival Scifi shooter with puzzle elements.

Atomic Heart (AH) is very heavy on puzzles. From rhythm-based puzzles, connect the dots, and physics-based challenges. And it slows the pacing considerably. Suppose you are not looking for solutions but have to look for the puzzle pieces themselves. Combine that with platforming, and you have a demotivating time sink. You are running around trying to figure out what pixel you missed.

I don't mind puzzles when they are there to stop a player from running past enemies. Or to increase the challenge of sneaking past hostile forces. But Atomic Heart demands you drop everything just to solve another one of their puzzles. It's just a waste of time and space that could be invested in other things.

Like stealth. The game allows you to sneak up on enemies from behind and execute them with a quicktime event. But stealth mechanics it does not have. Either they see you, or they don't. And yet, they include enemies like cameras and punish you for destroying enemies in the open-world areas.


Just as in Bioshock, your glove, which is also your exposition-spouting companion, gives you special powers, ranging from your basic shock ability to a polymeric shield and freeze ray. I myself am just using shock and the polymeric gel. This slows enemies and makes them more vulnerable to elemental damage. Through a skill point system, you can also upgrade them to become elemental traps. But dark messiah, this game system is not. It's not a flawed combat system, but not great, either. Enemies are pretty powerful, with a wide range of special attacks making them somewhat hard to predict. But once you have the right abilities and weapons, the difficulty curve drops significantly. And apart from some special boss encounters, the enemies aren't that varied. There is a lore-related reason for that, but still.


Before we get into the World Building and design, would I recommend buying Atomic Heart? Yes, but not yet. And here comes the elephant in the room. The ending is the most sequal-bating of sequel bate I have ever seen. There are two endings I am aware of, and both of them are bad. In the first one, the main character just walks away without informing us of any relevant consequences. The other is simply a cliffhanger screaming, "To be continued..." And yes, the DLC's are already planned. However, from what I have read, these add new enemies, locations, and weapons to the existing story. Which, if true, could be one of the most moronic moves in video game development I will ever witness. As it is now, I don't see these DLCs enticing players to start the campaign a second time. Not with the current ending.


Based on what Mundfish and publisher Focus Entertainment have revealed, there’ll be “four DLCs, opening up access to new areas and labs as well as new weapons, new enemies, bosses and more!” So, it looks very much as if, instead of the DLC taking place after the game, it will instead slot into the existing story, as new locations within Facility 3826. - Escapist magazine

This is a shame because, graphically and design-wise, the game is beautiful and works wonderfully on my mid-tier system. The robots are wonderfully animated, and the architecture is great. There are also some interesting scifi concepts at play and in writing... Crispy critters, it's a mixed bag. But I'll save that for my next blog, where I will also delve into the story and design choices.


Please support us on Kickstarter, and or share our project. Recently, I have been promoted on the Steampunk Explorer. My friends over at the Boston Metaphysical Society also have their Kickstarter running. So, go check that out.



















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