At the time of writing, it has barely been a week since the launch of this highly controversial video game. Developed by Mundfish, Atomic Heart is a third-person shooter game that soon found itself crash land in hot waters. After its launch, it was quick to be bombarded by a large number of contentious reviews.
Owing to its pre-release gameplay footage, Atomic Heart was highly anticipated. It featured big ideas and interesting concepts combined with a beautiful artistic direction. However, little did the players know of the messy story, bugs, and lackluster combat it had. Still, despite its flaws, the game continues to draw players toward it.
But why it has become a topic of hot debate among gamers? Read on to find out!
Atomic Heart was launched on February 21st, 2023. It was released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, as well as Windows.
Atomic Heart Plot and Gameplay
The game plot of Atomic Heart is set in a fictional universe surrounding the events of World War II. Contrary to the reality of where the USSR (Russia) lost, it now has the upper hand in Atomic Heart’s timeline.
Set in 1955, the Soviet Union is at the peak of its scientific power. A revolutionary Polymer module developed by Dmitry Sechenov has further pushed the limits of power, energy, as well as artificial intelligence. When the Brown Plague ravaged the world, USSR deployed Kollektiv 1.0 for post-war reconstruction. However, a further launch of upgraded Kollektiv 2.0 goes terribly wrong and the Facility 3826 descends into darkness and terror. A catastrophic event ensues that escalates the potential dominance of AI, leaving the already devastated world at the mercy of robotic creatures.
In terms of gameplay, Atomic Heart is an FPS (First-Person Shooter). At the same time, it also incorporates elements of ARPG (Action Role-Playing) as well as Stealth. The game revolves around both melee and ranged combat, offering a wide arsenal of weapons as well as its “cassette” upgrades. Moreover, a Polymer Glove equips the game protagonist with a range of elemental powers such as fire and ice. Since Atomic Heart encourages stealth gameplay, players have limited access to ammunition in the game. Speaking of which, ammunition is also upgradeable via the use of canisters.
Watch the Atomic Heart trailer here.
Atomic Heart Reviews
The electrifying world of Atomic Heart has sparked heated debates among both gamers as well as critics. Some are left in awe of its stunning world design and innovative approach to an alternate timeline. At the same time, others feel disappointed as they believe the game did not live up to its expected potential. Let’s explore the pros and cons of Atomic Heart and see whether it is worth your time and money.
In one sentence, Atomic Heart is a game that is absolutely jaw-dropping and one that grips you from the very start. The opening hours are jam-packed with thrilling action. The very idea of the Soviet Union triumphed in the aftermath of World War II by dominating the world with its groundbreaking robotics and astronautics technology is on a whole different level. It’s a fascinating premise that pulls you into an alternate reality that’s both mesmerizing and intimidating.
Moreover, the breathtaking and immersive game world built by the developers begs to be explored. It is easy to get lost in this stunning environment, surrounded by amazing graphics and details that make you feel like you are part of this world.
Atomic Heart is a game with big ambitions, and it delivers on many fronts. The combat system is full of fresh, exciting ideas. The intuitive approach to looting is a welcome change and every encounter with enemies feels unique. The game also features an intriguing use of elemental and energy damage. You can install special elemental cartridges onto your weapons, imbuing them with the power of fire, ice, and electricity.
In Atomic Heart, you can also accumulate energy with melee weapons and discharge it to help hold enemies at bay. It is both a clever and strategic idea that adds depth to the combat system. The expanding set of Polymer powers further adds to the variety of the combat. For instance, Shok chains electric bolts through metal chassis, Mass Telekinesis thrusts rooms of enemies into the air, and Frostbite can freeze foes with jets of ice.
Despite its strengths, Atomic Heart does have a couple of shortcomings. Perhaps the biggest mistake that the developer Mundfish makes is with how it handles its protagonist, Major Sergei Nechaev.
From the very start, it is evident that the game tries to do too much and that, too, all at once. Consequently, this makes it lose nuance in every aspect of its execution. The game’s fetch quests are built around the outrageously complicated lock and key systems that further add an atmosphere of artificiality to the story. Also, at times, the player animation isn’t fluid enough to seamlessly support intricate movements in the game.
Moreover, though the unique idea of new enemy types emerging as a result of a symbiosis between bioengineered plants and human corpses sounds intriguing, it doesn’t live up to its potential due to a lack of depth and detail in the game’s world-building. In addition, the world of Atomic Heart lacks a sense of time and place that makes it feel lived-in. The game’s environments, from empty laboratories to pristine museums and crumbling underground facilities, feel somewhat hollow.
Furthermore, Atomic Heart is plagued with frustrating bugs throughout, from collected resources sticking to the side of the UI to loud audio that refuses to subside after combat concludes. Also, when enemies get caught in the environment, it adds to the game’s frustrating experience. Besides this, Atomic Heart also does a poor job of explaining the intricacies of its combat systems.
Reception and Controversy
All in all, Atomic Heart received mixed reviews globally.
However, on the PC platform, it did manage to garner favorable reviews. Metacritic gave it a 77/100 score while PC Gamer awarded it 78/100. Moreover, both IGN and PCGamesN assigned 8/10 points to the game. Besides this, the highest review came from Shacknews which gave a 9/10 score.
Also, the launch of Atomic Heart has not been without a thought-provoking controversy. Since the game features a pro-Russian/Soviet theme, critics have questioned the release date of the game for coinciding with the start of the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Though the Mundfish denied such claims, Ukraine did criticize their statement for being vague.
In conclusion, Atomic Heart is an ambitious game that is overfilled with creative ideas and an interesting plot. However, it feels half-complete in its storytelling, combat mechanics, and protagonist character development. It is a remarkable game for those who have got a taste in visual aesthetics and are willing to overlook its flaws.
What do you think? Have you played this game yet? Share your thoughts with us and let us know in the comments below!