Atlas Fallen Review
Atlas Fallen is an action-adventure game set in the fallen world of Atlas, which has been taken over by the evil Sun god, Thelos. Your mission is to navigate this corrupted world, battling against the Wraiths and their tyrannical ruler to reclaim it for the Unnamed.
Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 5, PC
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You begin your journey in a dream-like world wondering what is happening. This is your tutorial and teaches you some of the games mechanics. The story is a bit lacklustre, so no one will blame you for skipping it. You are then brought to the character selection process where we choose who we will be.
After creating your character (which, truthfully, doesn’t offer much customization), you take control of the protagonist. Unfortunately, the storytelling doesn’t become anymore compelling here. The premise of the narrative is quite interesting, with a dictatorial god draining the land and leaving nothing but sand behind. As you progress beyond the tutorial, you encounter a cast of characters who lack depth, making side quests less appealing.
While Atlas Fallen is more focused on gameplay, the unique lore of the world made me wish for a deeper connection to the story. However, the combat mechanics take centre stage. Speaking of combat, it might seem old-fashioned, involving button-mashing reminiscent of older titles like Darksiders. Despite this, the combat style fits surprisingly well in modern gaming. You choose from three weapons and accumulate Momentum with each attack, enhancing both your striking power and the damage you take. This risk-and-reward system encourages a fast-paced playstyle.
The combat itself is exciting, with the Momentum mechanic providing cooler abilities as you build it up. Your defensive options include dodging and last-minute parries, adding to the game’s dynamic nature. Adapting your fighting style to different enemy types keeps the gameplay engaging. Larger foes add a challenge, though their attacks can sometimes be frustrating due to their size.
Despite these issues, the combat is satisfying when it works well. It’s reminiscent of older games that prioritized action over story, and this approach suits Atlas Fallen’s gameplay-focused nature. The combat mechanics and exploration elements are its strengths, though there are areas that could use more polish.
The combat system evolves as you progress, introducing a variety of enemies that demand strategic adaptation. Swiftly transitioning between ground and air combat with flashy moves provides a satisfying way to dismantle foes. Smaller Wraiths are a joy to fight, but the challenge escalates when confronting larger adversaries. These behemoths require more careful planning, as their immense size and super-armored attacks discourage mindless button-mashing. While engaging, these encounters can also be frustrating due to their occasionally wonky hitboxes and attacks that defy your expectations.
One of the main defensive tools at your disposal is the block mechanic, which demands quick reflexes and is especially crucial against smaller enemies. Although the timing for parrying can be unpredictable, enemy patterns are relatively clear. Most enemies possess only one primary attack, allowing you to learn their moves and respond accordingly. This reduces the reliance on visual indicators, giving you a sense of control and mastery.
Conquering enemies rewards you with essence dust, a valuable resource for enhancing armor or crafting Essence Stones – enchanting items bestowing powers and combat effects. Four variants are at your disposal: offense, deception, momentum, and resilience. My playstyle leant more to the side of attack, harnessing abilities like Biting Sandstorm which unleashes annihilating tornadoes, and crushing everything in its path! Other useful abilities let you receive more health regeneration, which works well when you want to be so aggressive in style.
One standout feature of Atlas Fallen is the freedom to explore the world extensively. Gliding or Sand Surfing through the sand is enjoyable, and I found myself avoiding fast travel to engage with the environment. The game offers a plethora of activities, from taking down Elite Bosses to completing time trials and quests. The exploration is rewarding, as you unlock abilities and gather resources to upgrade your gear.
The game does have a co-op mode which does up the fun factor, as long as you are both playing together and not randomly wandering about. Fighting as a team is a big plus, as it makes taking down the enemies a wee bit easier. However, there were some hiccups and performance issues, though it’s forgiven and nothing that I would call game-breaking. Atlas Fallen PC requirements are reasonable, ensuring a smooth experience on various setups.
When it comes to how the game looks, Atlas Fallen doesn’t have incredibly impressive visuals. However, there are some breathtaking moments that will make you take a second. The design of the world shows some nice views of the sandy wasteland where the game takes place. The characters in the game also look fairly decent, although they could have been more polished and detailed. The main issue is that a lot of the characters you happen upon seem to have quite a similar look to one another. There is not much to each of the NPCs uniqueness.
This is probably just to the fact that Atlas Fallen does run quite well in terms of how smooth it plays. While it does have a few pop ups and some tiny visual disparities, it performs really well. The game is powered by Deck13s FLEDGE Engine and not Unreal Engine 5 as some have thought, including me (when it was first announced). On my PC I was able to play Atlas Fallen at over 120fps and at 4K, but this would dip during combat. This is especially evident against the bigger bosses in the world.
The game supports AMD’s FSR, but DLSS and XeSS are not supported, which probably would have been a better option for me (My rig runs a RTX 4090). I feel that Nvidia’s DLSS tech is better at what AMD have to offer right now. I would have also like more freedom in terms of how we could setup our visuals, as there is not feedback in terms of how it affects the performance, but what is on offer does the job.