Atlas Fallen Review – PS5, PC, Xbox Series X/S
Interested in a game where you take a hero, customise how they look, put them in a big world, add mythological beasts, an evil antagonist, magical abilities, action-rpg elements and co-op multiplayer.
Well, enough about Diablo. Let’s talk about Atlas Fallen.
I mean, to be fair that could describe a lot of big franchises these days, but you get the point.
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So, Atlas Fallen is a mixture of familiar elements. It’s got bits and pieces that you’ll find familiar from many other games, but what separates those other games from the rest is often, although not always, that they are really good at the specific things that they do, or they’re prettier than other games, or maybe they let you build orbital drop ships out of some old artefacts and a bit of magic glue.
Aside from a few ideas, nothing in Atlas Fallen is particularly innovative – so it begs the questions: do all of these elements come together to create a game that is more, or less, than the sum of its parts?
You guys aren’t going to believe this, but there is a magical gauntlet involved, which at this point scores zero on the originality-o-meter.
After meeting the guy from Avatar – who is actually a long forgotten god and rival to the big bad of the game – you find yourself playing as an unnamed one, and the folks that come with names don’t like your kind all that much.
But once things get going, you and the Avatar guy that’s trapped in your gauntlet head out into an open world where you explore areas, talk to people, do missions, visit cities and fight lots of monsters.
Master of None
Combat feels like a sort of mixture between the old school God of War games and a few other games you’ve played before. You grow your list of moves, upgrade things, get better armour and ultimately become a running, jumping, hacking, slashing, magic wielding force of… the Avatar guy.
Your magical powers let you get around by double jumping, air-dashing and most notably, surfing on the sand, which is actually kinda cool, and reminds me a bit of shield surfing in Zelda but without the annoying broken shields.
But I’m not quite sure how I’m supposed to let the commoners know that I’m totally radical without the game letting me do sweet flips and 1080 nose grabs. Missed opportunity.
Speaking of 1080, I was impressed by the totally better than 1080p resolution that Atlas Fallen still puts out in the 60fps performance mode, considering the graphics and the size of the larger areas – even playing on a large 4KTV – it’s smooth and sharp.
Quality mode offers the sharpest image at 30fps, but after testing it myself I can assure you that there’s absolutely no reason to play this game in quality mode at half the frame rate.
Friends with Benefits
One of the most welcome additions is that you can play the whole game alongside an online co-op buddy.
This is definitely one of the better features of Atlas Fallen, and it worked easily and flawlessly with not even the tiniest hiccup. Something I really loved as well, is that in a world where developers seemed to have forgotten how to deal with save systems in co-op games. I’m looking at your Redfall, State of Decay, and countless others. Atlas Fallen lets you choose if you want to save only your character progress, or the character and the world progress. Stuff like this should be the standard in 2023, and yet it isn’t – so bravo for that.
Battles with Boss Battles
So… how does it feel when it all comes together. Well, it’s… not bad, actually – pretty good in places, but also has a few blemishes as well.
My experience was okay until I got to a boss that made me want to put my head through a wall, in a world where games like Dark Souls and Elden Ring exist. There’s nothing worse than a boss that feels easy to beat, save for a few cheap moves that can kill you in nearly an instant, made worse by some problematic camera and targeting issues and a just-too-long loading screen to put up with every time I died.
It’s a small blip in a larger experience, but enough to make you question the creators’ abilities completely.
The truth is that I already know that Atlas Fallen isn’t going to be particularly memorable. Everything about the game is decent. The combat is decent, the graphics and sound are decent, the controls are decent… Everything is fine. I did have a few hiccups and crashes, although I don’t pay too much attention to when playing games in a pre-release state.
There’s a famous saying “a jack of all trades is a master of none”, but what a lot of people don’t know is that it actually continues on to say “but oftentimes better than a master of one.” – which if you don’t realise, flips the meaning over to mean the complete opposite.
Atlas Fallen is a jack of all trades, and indeed a master of none. And while there’s nothing particularly offensive about it, that’s not exactly the highest praise either.
It’s not bad, but it’s nothing special either. I can’t recommend that anyone picks it up for full price in a year that’s offering so many better games, but it might not be a bad outing for you to pick up at a better price when there’s a bit of a dry spell in future.
Verdict: ✪✪✪ (Good)
✪ Poor (0-5) ✪✪ Mediocre (6-7) ✪✪✪ Good (8) ✪✪✪✪ Great (9) ✪✪✪✪✪ Must-play! (10)