Why you should have Atomic Heart on your list of the most anticipated games of 2023

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After almost five years since its stunning introduction trailer, we are one month away from the release of Atomic Heart, the single player first-person shooter that immerses you in an alternate Soviet setting and tasks you with facing off against a army of angry androids. The good news is that after playing through the first two hours of a near-final build of the game, it looks like this Bolshevik BioShock might well be worth the wait: its powerful combat, its fascinating story and its spectacular setting they seem to fit seamlessly into a cohesive whole, coming to vibrant life as one of his many deadly creations.

The first moments of Atomic Heart’s 25 hour campaign they take you from the sunny streets of Chelomey City, floating among the clouds, to the dark subterranean depths of Vavilov’s dilapidated facility, where a violent robot uprising has wiped out nearly all of the human workers. Weapons and abilities spread out rather slowly in this early installment, and with only a fire ax and a limited number of shells for my shotgun, I found myself favoring stealth whenever possible, so it’s lucky that the first few upgrades you unlock are the abilities to track enemies through walls and surprise Dandelion surveillance cameras to avoid detection.

On the occasions when I alerted a guard to my presence, the tough challenge posed by the first types of enemies of Atomic Heart it was a bit of a shock to my system (or a system shock, if you prefer). These tough terminator dudes ignore cover in favor of making a beeline to beat you up, and even if you manage to circle and run to create some distance, they’ll likely open their animatronic jaws and fire deadly laser beams at you. in your direction. I have to admit that I did fall down a few times at first while familiarizing myself with the rhythms of the heavy hand-to-hand combat system, but that fight turned into a satisfying feeling as I unlocked alternate attacks and gradually became more capable of turning these Russian robots into pieces of Soviet junk.

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Little by little I became more capable of turning these Russian robots into pieces of Soviet junk.

As I delved into the dark corners of Atomic Heart’s first installation, I was pleasantly surprised numerous examples of intelligent design. Scavenging corpses and cabinets for ammo and materials is a cumbersome but necessary evil in most first-person shooters, so being able to quickly vacuum up objects in a room with a flick of your AI-enhanced glove as if you were Hoovering up gold coins from a Luigi’s Mansion level is a welcome time saver. That’s not to say you won’t be rewarded for taking your time to analyze every inch of your surroundings, and I did enjoy the occasional optional distractions, like pausing to watch Soviet twists on Looney Tunes cartoons on the in-game TVs or making prank calls in a public booth.

Robotic Rock

Of course, if you’re going to fill your game with mechanical maniacs, You’re going to need a soundtrack just as metallic, and as a huge Doom fan, I loved it when composer Mick Gordon’s tuneless guitars and signature drums blared through the speakers to accompany a fight against a massive wrecking ball robot that was pacing the stage like an over-charged Chain Chomp. caffeine. Atomic Heart’s most intense action sequences are made even more invigorating by her participation.

Although I never got tired of listening to the heavy metal that accompanied the fights, I still I was not completely convinced by the big-mouthed protagonist of Atomic Heart. Agent P-3’s quips aim for the swagger of an action hero, but come across more akin to the repetitive swear words of a fourteen-year-old Fortnite fan, and since Atomic Heart hijacks games as much as Half-Life 2, BioShock and Doom, I have sometimes come to wish that it had taken one of its silent protagonists.

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I was at least entertained by some of the friendlier robots I encountered, though the constant foul language and double entendres of NORA, the surprisingly horny arms dealer who is often found near Atomic Heart save points, It made me wonder if it was really possible to report an AI to HR. She seems like a particularly sleazy Siri type, and she signs off every transaction with a flirtatious comment like “I can’t wait for your strong hands to grip my interface with lustful abandon!”

It’s also a bit worrying that the wide open spaces between Atomic Heart’s five main facilities lack of interesting things to discover. Although I enjoyed testing my electroshock and force blow skills on groups of patrolling sentinels, and then battling frantically to take down the repair bots before they could resurrect their tin comrades, I couldn’t help but notice that my surroundings seemed being populated by the same handful of farms and drivable vehicles in the short time I spent exploring one corner of the world. This is in contrast to the game’s opening in the city of Chelomey, which seems packed with unique details, but can only be experienced in a very linear fashion.

That said, while the open-world zone primarily serves as a place to tear apart the robotic hordes for spare parts to craft weapon upgrades, it looks like there will be enough creativity in Atomic Heart’s main facilities to keep the adventure going. , from underground labs with bodies of airborne water you can swim through to quickly dodge attackers, to various puzzle rooms to harness your growing set of glove-based powers. The little time I spent with Atomic Heart It definitely left me with my curiosity piqued and my pulse racingand if you can keep your intrigue and wit going throughout your run it could be something very special.

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