For the first time in its career, Deck 13 decided to move away from the formula of unique Dark Souls clones ( Lords of the Fallen, Surge ) and dabbled in action-adventure genres like God of War and Darksiders. The sandy world of Atlas is Fallen with giant monsters and islands of surviving settlements beckons with the magic of exploration and large-scale battles.
The demo version of Atlas Fallen presented to journalists begins immediately from the second chapter of the story in the depths of underground caves, where an already-created character is trying to figure out his new abilities. By the will of fate, he gains control over the magic glove, which contains a powerful spirit. As in the recent Forspoken, this unseen voice drops clues and signals points of interest and nearby treasures.
Along with showing off the essential helper, the game throws its key features at the player. Firstly, it is the ability to raise platforms and useful items from the abyss of sand. It looks incredibly beautiful and spectacular – with subtle Star Wars vibes. Secondly, to speed up the movement through the desert, the hero acquires the ability to slide on the sand. In Forspoken, Frey also glided, but only on water. This is where all the similarities with the brainchild of Square Enix end.
Atlas Fallen is inspired by the classic western RPG formula, where the character must collect the pieces of the gauntlet’s lost power and gain new abilities to overcome an improbable obstacle at first glance. In this case, we are talking about metal gates, which you do not have the strength to lift. To return the skill, you need to find three fragments in the open world and defeat the monsters and giant sandworms that guard them. The role-playing matryoshka of quests from the task “find three fragments to jump over a cliff and return strength there in a cave” works perfectly.
Combat in Atlas Fallen is reminiscent of God of War with parries. You can inflict normal and special hits on enemies, charging the level of rage for a super move. All abilities, including healing, require a cooldown. Special attacks are hidden in chests and require a separate setting in the character upgrade menu. Some of the tricks in the same section can be combined, getting new skills and super combinations. In addition, Atlas Fallen uses a trendy parry system. As soon as the enemy starts to burn red, it becomes possible to carry out a counterattack and turn it into a block of ice for a while, and at the same time inflict a series of fatal blows. This counterattack system works on both normal enemies and bosses.
There was only one boss in the demo, and he differed from ordinary opponents not only in the presence of unique super moves and more vitality but also in the chimera body structure. Such monsters may have a powerful tail laser, spikes on their paws, and other dangerous toys. The idea is interesting, but the battle turned out to be quite simple, and the technique of driving in the corner was the most effective.
There are also side activities in the world of Atlas Fallen, such as the need to temporarily activate sand crystals or clear certain areas, but due to the limitations of the demo, it is difficult to talk about their variety and quantity. Side quests other than give-and-fetch quests include rescuing characters or building bridges over gorges, which gives hope for a ton of interesting content. In one of the episodes, the NPC began to tell important information for the plot, and he was kidnapped by a giant bird. The hunt for the feathered enemy has become a side task.
Two months before the release of Atlas Fallen looks rough with small artifacts and unfinished environments. It is possible that the version offered to the press was even older. Of the notable drawbacks, one can note the graphics, which seem a little outdated, as well as typical battles with desert worms. There is hope that the second one will be fixed for release. Otherwise, Atlas Fallen exudes the aura of Spiders games, where an unsightly picture and minor roughness overlapped with interesting mechanics and a fascinating plot. There is already sand gliding and Jedi strength, which is not so little.
The author got acquainted with the game on a PC with 3080 RTX and maximum detail. It was not possible to take screenshots in the demo, so we use the frames provided by the developers to illustrate the material. Atlas Fallen will release on current-gen consoles and PC on May 16, 2023.