Atomic Heart is set to bring its bonkers brand of open world shooting to Xbox Game Pass in February 2023, and ahead of the game's nearby launch, a bunch of outlets have gone hands on with a slice of the upcoming title.
Impressions seem a little mixed across the board here, but the game's world still sounds like it'll pack in some interesting scenarios throughout. Here's what some of the previews are saying so far:
"Even if the open world area does primarily serve as a place to blast robotic hordes to bits in order to farm for spare parts to craft weapon upgrades with, it seems like there will be enough creativity contained within Atomic Heart’s main facilities to sustain the adventure, from underground labs with bodies of water suspended in air that you can swim through in order to quickly evade attackers, and various puzzle rooms to neatly take advantage of your growing suite of glove-based powers.
My short time with Atomic Heart definitely left me with my curiosity piqued and my pulse racing, and if it can sustain its intrigue and ingenuity for the full length of its journey it could be something very special indeed."
"The open world didn't let me get quite as creative as I would have liked, however, and is missing the magic of Prey or Dishonored—games that let me dream up schemes using their systems that the devs never intended.
There's still fun to be had with goo, though. You can coat enemies with the stuff, which can then be afflicted or altered with elemental damage—fire turns to napalm, cryokinesis freezes enemies solid, and so on—from either upgraded weapons or the BioShock 2-style powers you can fling with your left hand."
Atomic Heart wasn't what I was expecting it to be, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It may have the look of a video game infused with immersive sim DNA, but it's more of a traditional first-person shooter – something which could have emerged from MachineGames or id Software, albeit without the polish those studios are known for delivering.
The first four hours of Atomic Heart definitely have my attention, and I'm keen to see how the final game will come together.
"During the opening hours of the game, you’ll spend a lot of time confined to a claustrophobic underground warren of corridors, labs, and offices, occasionally punctured by giant robotic drilling worms on the rampage. In my preview I got to skip forward to a limited open-world section that could be explored by car, which mostly consisted of wandering enemies and entrances to more underground complexes.
A sports arena served as the stage for a boss battle with a whirling, spherical, tentacled robot reminiscent of the Omnidroid 1000 from The Incredibles, whose frenetic attack patterns were punctuated by periods when it just exposed its weak spots and sat still."
"The art style is distinctive within video games, owing a debt to those classic Soviet propaganda posters. Atomic Heart has exceeded its quota of both hammers and sickles, embedding them everywhere in both the marbled halls in the first part of the preview and the darkened bunkers I was later forced to explore.
This bleeds over into the characters, too. Everyday robots look slightly misshapen and inhuman, while the fancy metal assistants are all chrome and polish. If this is the utopian capitalist society, it doesn’t seem like it."
This final round of previews seems to have thrown up as many questions as it has provided answers, so we'll just have to wait and see how things shake out at launch. At least Atomic Heart is on Xbox Game Pass day one on February 21st, so we can all try out Mundfish's open world shooter risk-free!