At first glance, the world of Atomic Heart seems like a peaceful place. Utopian Soviet society, high-tech robots and a colorful sky filled with clouds that promise safety and solace. But, as soon as players enter the game, the truth of Atomic Heart is revealed: it is a harsh, dangerous and unstable place, full of surprises and dangers.
Players take control of P-3, a special agent sent by Stalin himself to investigate a mysterious facility in the heart of the country. Along the course of their mission, players will explore the dangerous terrain of Atomic Heart, fight against numerous robotic enemies, solve complex puzzles and progress the story through cinematic cutscenes.
Atomic Heart’s storyline has a few twists that are sure to surprise players, but its world is its main asset. Environments go from lush green forests to destroyed cities and high-tech facilities, full of dangers and secrets. You can explore the world of Atomic Heart with relative speed thanks to the high-speed monorails that take you through areas with spectacular views.
The range of enemies in Atomic Heart is also quite varied, with some being quite aggressive while others are easier to take down. Almost all of them are robotic in nature and they can come in many shapes and sizes. You can take them out using either your own weapons or with the help of special abilities like freezing your enemies or using telekinesis to throw them off their feet.
Atomic Heart also features a number of puzzles and riddles that you’ll have to solve in order to progress the game, mostly revolving around activating and disabling specific controls and machines. They feature a good variety in terms of difficulty, but the bigger challenge usually comes from dodging the robotic enemies while trying to solve the puzzle.
On the technical side, Atomic Heart looks and runs great on the Xbox Series X, with smooth frame rates and stunning visuals. Unfortunately, the input complexity of some controls makes it difficult to effectively aim down sights and the weapon mod cartridge system only adds to the confusion. We also encountered some rare cases of stuttering and occasional bugs, but they weren’t major.
In conclusion, Atomic Heart is a unique and highly ambitious game, with a uniquely Soviet-inspired setting and engaging mechanics that successfully blend RPG-like upgrades, intense combat and puzzle solving. It has some issues, but thanks to its bold vision and great art design, Atomic Heart stands out among its peers and is worth playing if you’re looking for an experience different from the usual post-apocalyptic or cyberpunk settings. So, forget BioShock and DOOM comparisons, Atomic Heart offers a unique blending of genres and beautiful environments, ready to be explored by brave players.