Games with stories that take place in alternate universes with a different history from our own can be interesting. However, that also requires other aspects to be unique enough to stand out, or at least fun enough to play. This is the dilemma that Atomic Heart finds itself in. A universe where the events of World War 2 had a very different outcome can be a good setup for a story, but everything else within the game is not as good as it should be. What we end up with is an experience that feels half-baked.
Atomic Heart (developed for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC by Mundfish) follows Soviet Agent P-3 in an alternate universe 1955, where the Soviet Union has become a major superpower due to advancements in robotics. While investigating a facility and searching for a scientist named Viktor Petrov, he crashes into the surrounding area after being attacked by robots that have gone haywire. Not only does P-3 need to finish the mission while facing tons of hostile robots and machines, but also has to face earth-shattering revelations about the government and society at large. If you enjoy plotlines that have somewhat obvious circumstances, but interesting premises, you might enjoy following the story to its conclusion. But doing so requires getting around some of the game’s tougher shortcomings that are much harder to overlook. The dialogue might be cheesy or shallow for some, but it’s the other parts of the game that will be more of a downer for most.
The biggest issues with Atomic Heart lie in its gameplay, specifically the first-person view and the various bugs that populated the whole experience. While Atomic Heart is a first-person shooter that is competent in most ways, things can look very messy when you get into the game’s combat and platforming. Fighting robots with your axe or various weapons can be good at times, but when you get hit by enemies or swing around your weapons it can be difficult to see.
Most of the time you might not even see where an enemy is positioned or hitting you from because of the janky camera that moves around erratically, making it hard to see what is happening and how to react. Some robots will run up close to you and knock you backward to the ground, forcing your view to be jerked around and requiring you to reorient the camera before you can continue fighting. This makes every encounter a struggle to the point of not being fun.
This isn’t limited to combat, however, as platforming and some minor puzzles can also be difficult to see where you’re going. Climbing poles or moving along ledges has a very awkward view when you’re trying to be precise with your jumps, especially when it doesn’t always seem like you’ll land where you need to. Things can get worse if there are vibrations in the area that cause the camera to move, or if enemies appear and start attacking you. Often you’ll feel like you’re struggling against the perspective you have more than the enemies you end up facing, which can lead to very difficult times that may force you to restart from a previous checkpoint.
If you’re able to deal with a lot of this already, the game does have a number of weapons and upgrades to use to your advantage. Locations will have a robot vendor where you can spend resources to create new weapons or boost up the ones you have, often for more damage and other helpful perks. But You also have access to Polymer Glove abilities, which act like special powers that can be used in a variety of ways.
Whether you are able to damage enemies, open up doors, or freeze robots; you can use these powers in combination with your weapons for added firepower. They can definitely be helpful in most situations, especially when you’re not always equipped with enough ammo. Upgrading everything can take a while, however, mostly because you’re not always finding the necessary resources you need all the time. You can loot enemies or search nearby crates and drawers for extra loot, but only if you take the time to stop and look around.
A bug hurdle everyone will struggle with is the various bugs that can affect enemies you find and other gameplay instances. Sometimes enemy robots will stand idly by as you easily attack them, while others will never stop attacking continuously without letting up whatsoever. A lot of the time this makes the difficulty of various sections feel inconsistent, especially when you reload a checkpoint and the enemies there behave very differently from before. Luckily the bigger encounters you find yourself facing don’t have many issues with this, but many of the groups you battle leading up to them will have one problem or another.
Much of this also gets combined with glitches for some areas that will have you struggling to collect resources or search through objects. While you think you’ve cleared an area, your scanner will show you differently with no hint or explanation as to how that is. This is only made worse with the scanning ability and gathering resources being mapped to the same button on the controller. It can feel awkward most of the time and be annoying to deal with when you’re trying to scan and search for items at the same time.
Atomic Heart ends up being an average experience with issues that could’ve been ironed out before release. The story has some good parts to it that may or may not click with everyone, but the problems you run into while playing can dampen everything else. Patches and updates might solve this after some time, but it may not be enough to warrant everyone diving into this parallel universe any time soon. It might’ve been smarter for this tale of robotics to stay with the R&D team for a little while longer.
Have you gotten a chance to play Atomic Heart? What did you think about the release of it and everything else? Post your thoughts about the game in the comment section down below!
While the plot of the game sounds interesting and can make for a good premise, the gameplay suffers from a lot of issues. Annoying bugs and glitches can really impact what you play, as well as rough camera problems that can be hard to get around. Some may be able to look pass these shortcomings, while others may find it difficult to enjoy playing because of them.
ClownfishTV.com strives to be an apolitical, balanced and based pop culture news outlet. However, our contributors are entitled to their individual opinions. Author opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of our video hosts, other site contributors, site editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. This website contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. We disclaim products or services we have received for review purposes, as well as sponsored posts.