After earning praise with their Souls-like efforts in Lords of the Fallen, The Surge, and The Surge 2, developer Deck13 are now taking a stab at the hack-and-slash genre, with Atlas Fallen sending players on a sci-fi adventure where they can unleash the wrath of a god upon their enemies through the use of a magical gauntlet. It can make for a fun experience too, though it does lack the polish and finesse to stand out as a great in the genre.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Atlas Fallen sees players create their own character that is part of a group of slaves known as Unnamed, whose everyday purpose is to ensure they complete all of the tasks assigned to them by their higher-ups. In your case, this includes being sent out to find a thief that stole from the captain of your group, but doing so sees you uncover a special gauntlet that grants you the powers of a god (who also just so happens to be part of the gauntlet and communicates with you throughout your adventure). With this newfound power, you look to defy and escape from those that rule over you, all whilst looking to bring down the greater evil looming across the world and learning more about the gauntlet that has bound itself to you.
The story of Atlas Fallen is fine, but I’d be lying if I said I felt particularly invested in it. Whilst the game does try to flesh things out with plenty of dialogue trees where you can learn more about the world and the people within it, it was all a little bit too bland for my taste. It doesn’t help that the voice acting can be a little iffy and the cinematic sequences a little stilted, which can leave a bit of a negative impression during the early sequences of the game. Fortunately, enough goes on to ensure players won’t get bored of the narrative, but it definitely isn’t a highlight of the experience.
Thankfully, its other elements are a lot more interesting. Combat is fast and satisfying, with players able to unleash a myriad of combos and abilities with three weapon styles bound to the gauntlet, whilst your character is nimble enough to dash around the environment to avoid incoming damage from foes and also able to hit a parry to stop enemy attacks in their track. As you hit out damage on enemies, you’ll also build up your Momentum meter, which allows you to utilise more powerful abilities with varying effects. On the flip side, the higher your Momentum meter is, the more damage you’ll take, meaning you’ve got to think carefully about when to use it and ensure you don’t leave it fully charged for too long.
“Atlas Fallen isn’t the best hack-and-slasher you’ll play, but the enjoyable combat mechanics and fun co-op ensure it still delivers an entertaining escapade.”
The abilities offered with your Momentum meter are pretty handy too, whether its with a buff that stops your momentum being drained or dealing chain damage to nearby foes, or full-blown attacks that unleash the elements upon enemies or summon additional weapons to cause extra damage, just to name a few. Their use is both exciting and strategic, with Atlas Fallen offering plenty of depth within its combat to keep it as the focal point throughout. I felt like I was continually improving my repertoire of abilities and gear as I progressed, whilst the enemies themselves brought enough ferocity to battle to keep me on my toes. Some of the bigger foes felt especially epic to take on, and whilst Atlas Fallen might not be the most visually impressive game you’ll play, it’s easy to be wowed by these encounters.
There were a few little niggles that I came across in combat though. The camera could feel a little bit clumsy on occasions and not track the action perfectly, whilst switching between enemies could be a little inconsistent too (which is something more noticeable in boss encounters when you might have to target individual body parts). They’re not BIG issues by any means, but they were noticeable and could hurt the fluidity of certain showdowns.
Outside of battling, you’ll spend a lot of time exploring Atlas Fallen’s world, with plenty to see and do across it. Admittedly, a lot of this feels like the same sort of busy-work that you’ve seen in plenty of other open-world titles… you know…. finding treasures and collectibles, completing small puzzles or platforming challenges, and traversing a set course of the world to a time-limit, so don’t expect anything that changes up the formula too much. The rewards for completing them aren’t the best either, so it’s not like there’s much to inspire players to dive into them. They do bring some variety into the experience though and some tasks stand out more than others, so it’s nice to have something extra to do when venturing through the semi-open environments. Also, surfing through the sand feels FANTASTIC, so simply traversing the world is always a treat.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Visually, the game can be pretty inconsistent – some environments you explore can look brilliant and will really catch you off guard with their beauty, whilst others are a bit muggy and lack the visual pizazz seen elsewhere. There were a lot of little issues too, such as the frame rate have a few little hitches here and there, textures not loading in immediately, or animations lacking fluidity, meaning that the game doesn’t always stand out as a visual marvel. There are times where it can look outstanding and easily match some of its high-profile peers in the visual department, but for the most part, everything just looks ok.
It’s not perfect then, but that doesn’t mean players won’t have a good time in Atlas Fallen. The combat makes up for a lot of its problems, whilst issues such as the inconsistent visuals or uninspired open-world elements are hardly deal-breakers when it comes to having fun. I haven’t mentioned the online co-op either, which I spent most of my time playing. It doesn’t only make combat and exploration more enjoyable, but also lets players share experience points and loot equally – there’s no arguing over who gets what here! Co-op is definitely the best way to play through the game and makes some of its more lacking elements easier to look past, especially since the core mechanics do feel really good.
Atlas Fallen Review
Atlas Fallen isn’t the best hack-and-slasher you’ll play, but the enjoyable combat mechanics and fun co-op ensure it still delivers an entertaining escapade. Players will definitely have fun bashing up enemies with their slick and diverse combat capabilities, whilst the world can be intriguing to explore (even if some of its activities can be a little dull in design). And surfing through the sand with my powers? I loved it.
It just lacks the consistency to stand out as a great of the genre. The story is a little bland, the visuals don’t always shine, there are a few little issues with the camera and controls, whilst there’s not much here that you wouldn’t have seen before elsewhere. These problems don’t make Atlas Fallen a bad game by any means, but they are the difference between it being a game that’s fun to play and one that you HAVE to play.
But if you do decide to give Atlas Fallen a go? You’ll have a good time, especially if you have a friend come along for the ride.
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PC