4Gamers – Review | Atlas Fallen lets some sand slip through your fingers

With Atlas Fallen, Deck13 Interactive presents another action RPG with its own touch. With, say, The Surge and the first Lords of the Fallen, he’s already shown he can make decent games, but he never manages to deliver stellar ones. Who knows, maybe this time you will work for the brave Atlas Fallen.

Atlas Fallen takes place in a world where humans have been able to collect Essence from the sands that can be found in the world. As a player, you will then be given a special gauntlet that is shoved into your hand, which gives you the option to manipulate these sands in combat and while exploring the world. The story revolves around two gods who each look at humanity in their own way. One is slightly more friendly than the other, and as a player you will naturally find yourself in the middle of it. It’s all a little tacky, but oh well.

The world of Atlas Fallen is very large and there are also a lot of acquaintances for players who love to explore every corner. Thanks to the special sand-gliding technology, you can also cover a lot of distances, especially if you also use some fast rides from time to time.

Deck13 Interactive is also smart enough to break the open world into separate parts here and there. Sometimes you will encounter a loading screen, but this is negligible. These loading screens were surprisingly long on the PS5, even when we died and had to reload the game, for example. We are not used to waiting ten seconds before we can get back to work.

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So there is a lot to experience in the world, because in addition to the main quests you also have a lot of side quests, collectibles and small things that you can do to collect more essence. You then need this essence to make all kinds of upgrades.

Those who’ve already seen some of the visuals of Atlas Fallen might expect the game’s combat to be fast and smooth, but those folks will go home from a bare-bones ride. The fight is slow and somewhat impractical. However, the game wants to encourage you to play offensively, because you build momentum so that you deal more damage and can also use more abilities.

Review |  Atlas Fallen lets some sand slip through your fingers

After all, you can equip various upgrades that become available as you gain more momentum. Your momentum bar is divided into three parts, so you can unleash more attacking or defensive powers step by step. Some operate passively, while others can be activated by the player. As you gain more momentum, your weapons also change in appearance and so you have to attack a little differently.

Enemies usually have weak points that you have to attack to take them down, but this system is also shaky. If you break a weak point like that, it means nothing to the enemies attack power. They just keep doing the same thing. For example, you have some kind of giant scorpion, in which, of course, the tail is a weak point. If you attack it fully and break the weak point, it can still attack with this tail.

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Review |  Atlas Fallen lets some sand slip through your fingers

So vulnerabilities seem like a way to artificially prolong fights. What’s also annoying is that it often only damages those points. If this scorpion’s tail, which hangs high in the air, is the only point it can hit you, you have to perform quick tricks to get to it, while also being vulnerable. And to complete the picture, the big enemies tend to summon flying monsters to make your life even more miserable.

Of course it is always possible to be bad at fighting, but we all have the feeling that a lot of fluidity is missing to make Atlas Fallen a truly fun game in fighting.

Review |  Atlas Fallen lets some sand slip through your fingers

Finally, our biggest frustration with combat. More than once there were times when the game would not respond when we pressed a button. There you are in the middle of an attack doing nothing. Since fighting is also a great punishment, you can usually forget about it.

Visually, Atlas Fallen doesn’t look bad, but the game suffers a lot from pop-ups and textures that load late. That’s a huge shame, because the game has a really nice visual style. The sandy landscape is impressive and the different settlements and towns give just enough atmosphere. But this is all somewhat negated by the game’s performance.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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