Title – Atlas Fallen
Platforms – PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Release Date – August 10th, 2023
Developer – Deck13
Publisher – Focus Home Interactive
MSRP – $59.99
ESRB – M for Mature
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Disclaimer – This product is being reviewed on the PC. A review copy was provided by Focus Home Interactive for the purpose of this review. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon Affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page. This game was also reviewed under Normal Story difficulty.
Welcome to Atlas Fallen, a brand new IP from the creators of cult-following franchises such as The Surge series and Lords of the Fallen. This time around, Deck13 decided to venture into the open-world action RPG genre while creating a brand new universe with its own unique ideas and combat systems. It’s always nice to see developers creating new IPs because it’s a very bold move that may or may not pay off in the long run. Just how well did Deck13 manage to execute their new universe with Atlas Fallen? Well, we are here to find out. Welcome to our review of Atlas Fallen.
Welcome to Atlas
Some may argue that Atlas is a boring world, others may say that it’s quite interesting and fresh, but I would like to say that it’s about 50/50. You see, creating new worlds is not an easy task, especially when you do not have as large a budget as someone like Blizzard or any other triple-A studio. Deck13 these days is usually considered as a AA developer who likes to experiment with their IPs and Atlas Fallen is no exception. If I am being quite frank, I think there is a ton of potential for interesting lore and characters in this brand-new universe. However, the inconsistent voice acting may throw some of the players off. It also doesn’t help that the first 10 minutes of the game’s narrative are rather awkwardly paced. I really wanted to dive deep into the worldbuilding of Atlas Fallen, but it was a bit difficult due to the things I’ve just mentioned earlier.
Let’s just say this, I’ve experienced way worse narratives, but I’ve also been absolutely hooked almost intently in others. Atlas Fallen is stuck somewhere in the middle, you may be okay with it or you won’t care about anything and skip all the possible cut-scenes and try to get into the action as fast as possible. Thankfully, the action is where Atlas Fallen shines the most, and for good reason. The beginning of the game is closed off, but after about 20 to 30 minutes of gameplay, it will open up and your open-world instincts will kick in. Just like in several games of the same ilk, you’ll open up the map, look at your checkmarks, and make sure you are 100 percent done in whatever open-world region you are currently in. The one thing that I like about exploring the world is the sand gliding mechanic. In most games, you can either sprint or use some sort of vehicle. In Atlas Fallen, players will glide on the sand. The mechanic feels good and, most importantly, it’s fun.
Overall, the universe of Atlas Fallen is not terrible by any means and it has cool and exciting exploration moments. There are collectibles to find, artifacts to sell to vendors, combat encounters to participate in, side quest activities to complete, and more. If you are looking for something groundbreaking or super next-gen when it comes to these types of gameplay aspects then I suggest you look elsewhere, but otherwise, you’ve already done this many times before.
The Combat, RPG Mechanics and Enemies
Atlas Fallen’s biggest strength is its combat and RPG systems. To my surprise, the game shies away from your standard leveling. Instead, the player is forced to explore the world for the shards of the gauntlet to unlock new traversal abilities and powers for your weapon. You can also create custom builds for your gauntlet by finding a variety of Essences Stones that give you different strengths for your builds. They can either be a buff toward your attacks, defense, or momentum. Momentum is another mechanic that plays a crucial part during combat scenarios. As you fight and hit things, you gain momentum that can be consumed to cast certain attacks that you’ve chosen for your custom build. Also, you can do multiple load-outs so it’s easy for you to switch playstyles.
The combat itself is quite fluid, flashy, and well-animated. You can have a total of two weapons equipped at a time, a main weapon and a secondary. For example, one weapon can be focused as a way to deal as much damage as possible to a single target, while your other weapon could be used as an area-of-effect against multiple mobs. Players may also destroy parts of enemies, like their tails or limbs, to weaken them. Once they are weak enough, they can get shattered, which will destroy them completely. You may also fight the wraiths in midair, the midair combat looks cool, but it can be a bit awkward and inconsistent. However, for the most part, it works without causing too many issues.
Armor can also be upgraded by gathering certain materials out in the world and the wraiths also drop resources that you may use. Upgrading armor is the closest thing that you have to “leveling” in Atlas Fallen. Believe it or not, it’s quite important to upgrade your armor because the stat difference between each armor level is quite large and essential for survival later down the line. Then there are also idols that you can find. Idols act as charms that you can equip on your character and behave as passive buffs. The player can only equip one idol on their gauntlet, which means only a single passive can be active. Players may find more idols by exploring the world, completing quests, finding secret areas, and so on.
Overall, there is quite a bit to experiment with in Atlas Fallen as far as the builds go. Deck13 has done quite a good job with combat. My only gripe is that you cannot really utilize sand-gliding in any shape or form during attacks which is a bit unfortunate. It would have been cool to see some badass moves while gliding on the sand, but sadly that is not the case here. Thankfully though, you can at least dash in mid-air during combat and reposition yourself accordingly. At the start of the game, you only have one dash, but later down the line, you can get up to a total of three dashes back to back before you have to get back on the ground. The dashing really adds quite a bit to both the combat and traversal.
The enemy variety is not bad. The game divides the Wraiths into three different categories, Lesser, Greater, and Colossal. These categories don’t really need an explanation as they are self-explanatory. As you explore the world, you will start to encounter elite boss enemies that grant greater rewards
Every other system in Atlas Fallen doesn’t really need an explanation. You have your standard optional activities such as errands that are super basic quests and then there are side quests that are a bit more involved. I am not sure why they decided to have errands and side quests as separate categories when in reality, it’s really just the same thing. As previously mentioned, you can find elite boss encounters out in the world, vantage points that show you where the hidden treasure is, lore collectibles, totems that act as traversal puzzles, and other similar open-world activities.
Visuals and Tech
The visuals in Atlas Fallen won’t blow you away. Some of the open-world environments look nice and others rather inconsistent. Even if you look at everything from up high, it just looks kind of boring and bland. While, I don’t think the issue is the world design itself, but rather it’s a problem with the shading and the engine that is being used. Atlas Fallen is not utilizing Unreal Engine 5 despite it being a current-gen game only, instead, it uses an in-house engine called Fledge. I am afraid that this engine is a tad outdated and it was previously used in The Surge games. The Surge is a very old game at this point and no matter how many times you update the engine, eventually, it won’t look good anymore. It doesn’t hold up to rapid technology advances by other engines such as Unreal Engine 5.
It’s worth noting that many of the rock textures look absolutely hideous, especially when you are up close. Not sure why they decided on low-resolution textures for the rocks considering they are always up close to the camera when your character is climbing. I guess they wanted to save on the hardware resources. The characters however look okay, the armor looks nice and the weapons look cool along with the enemies. I also wanted to mention this game was reviewed on a very powerful machine that was equipped with a Ryzen 9 7950X Processor and a Nvidia 4090 RTX which boasts 24 GB of video ram. The PC also had 64 GB of DDR5 ram. The game ran at full 4K at over 100 frame rates and never had any stutters or crashes. The only thing that was quite noticeable was the pop-in. When you are traversing the world by sand-gliding the level of detail pop in is quite jarring. Highly doubt it’s an issue with the PC, but most likely the way the game loads levels of detail with an ancient engine.
In a nutshell, the game visually is serviceable, but it’s far from a looker and can seem a tad inconsistent from time to time depending on which open-world region you are in. If you are looking to impress your friends on your PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X|S then you need to look elsewhere as far as the graphic and technological fidelity goes.
In conclusion, I don’t believe that Atlas Fallen is a terrible game, but it’s not a great game either. It’s just a decent generic open-world RPG that does hold some value. My biggest grip is its $59.99 price tag. It doesn’t really offer a brand new current-gen experience that you’d be hoping for from the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X|S. While I know this was reviewed on PC, most people will be wondering if it’s really worth buying for their consoles since those are the shiny new toys that have yet to hit their full potential. Cross-gen titles are slowly starting to fade away and Atlas Fallen is one of the newest offerings for the current-gen market only. But despite all that, it looks visually worse and doesn’t play that much differently than other open-world RPG titles that have been in the market for a while now.
I commend Deck13 for taking the risk of creating a new IP and wanting to make something new and unique. They have definitely achieved some of it with the combat system and the sand traversal mechanics. But that’s about it. The lore and narrative are a bit all over the place, the engine and the tech is outdated and the inconsistent voice acting doesn’t help either. That’s not to say that I hated the game or did not enjoy any of it, I just simply believe it’s a tad overpriced for what it is and what it’s offering. With that being said, Atlas Fallen will be receiving a final verdict of 7 out of 10.
It’s a brand new IP and that’s not something you see a lot of these days. The game is worthy of at least one playthrough and it even has co-op, so you can play with a friend. The combat system is unique and interesting enough to experiment with. The worldbuilding can be cool if you can forgive the inconsistent voice acting and the awkward pacing at the beginning of the game. It doesn’t have any weird bugs and neither did I experience any crashes during my entire playtime. However, I would advise that you either wait for a price drop to $39.99, but if you want to play it now, spend the money at your own risk. You’ll get roughly 20-30 hours of playtime if you are going for a 100 percent.
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