Review: Atlas Fallen


Posted on August 12, 2023 by Michael Merchant

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  • 7/10
    Total Score - 7/10
7/10

Summary

Atlas Fallen is excellent fun in co-op, but its action never matches its stellar movement and ideas.

Developer – Deck 13

Publisher – Focus Entertainment

Platforms – PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series

From the developers of The Surge series, Deck13, comes their newest effort Atlas Fallen. This game is vastly different from The Surge or The Surge 2, which were some of the better Souls-lite game released with unique mechanics and environments that stood out against the rest. Atlas Fallen takes place on a mostly desert world that has been taken over by a corruption which has destroyed most of the plantlife. The most valuable resource, Essence, is harvested by the slave population named The Unnamed. The military that is ruled by The Queen of the Thousand Years who is also ruled by the one God Thelos. This power struggle has lead you, The Gauntlet Bearer, to lead a revolution against the rulers of the planet to try and restore peace through the land.

Accessibility / Co-op

Atlas Fallen passes the accessibility test with its fantastic co-op and big open spaces for exploration and combat. Most games, such as Remnant 2 are great, but they feature narrow areas, where visual cues don’t suffice as warning for hearing disability-minded players. Atlas Fallens broad, open brightly colored sand dunes provided a unique backdrop for some loose and forgiving action co-op. This is an easy recommend for players who have a friend to patrol through the desert with.

You start the game off with a character customization setup which has the basic selections such as gender, hairstyle, facial structure, etc. This is a pretty bare bones customizer, but it is servicable considering you are usually covered head to toe in different styles of armor. After creating your character you are thrust into the vast desert where you were basically left for dead by this military caravan since you are a worthless Unnamed worker.

You and a few other nameless decide that after your poor treatment you need to start a revolt. For your disruption, the leader of the military forces you to gather a relic that was stolen by a thief. Once out in the wilderness, you come across a magical gauntlet who inhabits the spirit of a mysterious character called Nyaal. Nyaal trains you how to use this gauntlet to fight the creatures that hunt people down called Wraiths. As you kill these monsters you gain currency called Essence which is used to upgrade your armor sets and abilities of the gauntlet to tackle bigger and strong Wraiths.

This story is pretty generic at the start but turns a bit better by the end. There are a few different turns in the story which keep it interesting for the 14-hour playthrough of the story. I was able to finish a decent amount of the side quests during my playthrough but they mostly seemed a waste of time in terms of rewards. There were a few, however, especially late game that provided really powerful rewards that I would highly recommend.

The game reminds me of a next-gen Darksiders. That isn’t necessarily a terrible thing as Darksiders and Darksiders 2 were great games, but something about Atlas Fallen seems that is was made in the wrong generation. As you unlock more abilities with the gauntlet, you can lift specific pieces of the environment, crush special chest locks, and reach newer areas that you couldn’t reach at the start of the game. After you finish the game, you can actually go back and finish up quests that you haven’t or find additional items through chests and the like. 

The combat is fun, but the weapon selection is limited. The abilities and attacks you can equip to the gauntlet are pretty exciting but most seemed lacking compared to obviously amazing ones. You can upgrade these abilities that you find throughout the game to keep them relevant the entire playthrough which was a fantastic feature. Sadly, you can’t upgrade your weapons per se throughout the game once you find the three weapons that are it. The armor selection has around ten sets, each with different passive stats and traits which is nice.

You can upgrade each set 2 to 3 times and while you might think it is a waste to spend too much Essence to upgrade the beginning sets, you are given a perk point each time you do upgrade. These perks are selectable and refundable skills that provide additional passives like starting a battle with more momentum (energy) to cast abilities or regain healing items after each match. Of course, the end-game armors are vastly superior to the ones prior, so once you get the main perks you aim for, I would use your Essence to upgrade gauntlet skills and the final armors from the last area of the game.

One of the cooler aspects of the game is the sand sliding. You can use this to quickly go around the areas to find secrets and complete challenges. Additionally, you can also do up to three mid-air dashes by the end of the game which is fun. I do wish that by the end you could just dash an infinite amount of times to avoid conflicts and traverse faster around the areas but it is what it is.

I wish there were more to say that I enjoyed about Atlas Fallen. It seemed like such an excellent concept, but as I said prior, something just felt a bit off. If it had been released against Darksiders, it would have found its audience! If you are looking for gameplay like that, you will probably enjoy Atlas Fallen quite a bit if you can look past some of the lower-budget aspects of the game. Nothing stands out as terrible in terms of gameplay or story but it didn’t reach any new heights or provide anything new to the genre that would make it stand out against games today in the same genre.

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