I can put this firmly in the category of: games that I thought were dead. Remember that weird Russian game that looked kind of like BioShock? But drunk on 5 litres of vodka and somehow found it’s way into a radioactive wasteland? Yeah… that game. Atomic Heart has seemingly been revived from the dead after a very long gap in information, with a new 45-minute video detailing certain gameplay elements.
Surprisingly it still looks as good as I remember. Take a look for yourself in the video below (Warning: it is all in Russian and the subtitles can be a bit ropey sometimes, so some things might not be explained properly and we might interpret them in a different way than it’s meant to be):
Okay so let’s break down some elements in the video:
First of all the game is apparently less of a shooter and more like an immersive sim. This may not be a shock to most people considering BioShock is in the same vein as an immersive sim. But it’s nice to finally get confirmation. The similarities to BioShock don’t end there either, as shortly into the video we are introduced to a telekinesis ability, reminiscent of BioShock’s plasmids. There’s even weapon levelling, abilities, crafting, looting, puzzles and areas with multiple routes. So you know, standard stuff. There will also be both melee and gun combat.
Enemies seem to take you on mostly 1v1, with only some situations adding a couple more enemies. There’s a certain Dark Souls-like combat (I know, I know, I heard your eye roll, but hear me out): enemies have certain attack patterns with wind ups and signature moves that you will have to learn and retaliate. Stamina management is also something that you have to watch out for.
There’s also a strange mechanic in the game called ‘Polymer’, a sort of gel-like substance that your character can essentially ‘swim’ through. There doesn’t seem to be anything hugely significant about it towards the game other than providing more ways to traverse a level. But it does look cool at least.
The weapon customisation looks interesting, but the developers stated it’s all subject to change still. For one this is where a lot of crafting will come into play. You can craft and even upgrade certain components on your weapons like a suppressor, extended magazine etc. It also seems like you can add decals or ‘stamps’ to your weapon to customise it further. Additionally you can apply certain elemental effects to weapons like burning or freezing.
Much like in Resident Evil territory, ammo seems to be scarce. So you’ll have to pick your battles wisely. Shooting a few guys here, fight some with melee there etc. There’s also many puzzles, some of them are the standard: find the thing to put in the right thing. Others are more exciting instead: with large cyberworms ducking in and out of holes in the walls that you have to maneuver a path around.
Boss fights are also in the game, however not much information has been shared yet as the developers are still working on them. According to the video, there is a boss fight that starts but doesn’t finish. Instead, the character is knocked unconscious and upon waking up finds them self in a dreamy landscape. This is where the game turns into some kind of explorer/platformer section, where the player must collect floating red spheres whilst the landscape is constantly changing around them. Physics apparently do not work here, and that is intentionally designed by the developers. These levels are short and most likely some weird, hallucinogenic dream you have when the player is knocked unconscious in combat.
There’s a certain notoriety mechanic going on as well. Make enough noise in one area and more enemies will come searching for you. Leave the area before they find you and they’ll have to search for you again once you make more noise in another area.
So the game seems to be very reactionary towards the player, meaning every playthrough will be different from the last, even after saving, dying and then loading up a save you might not run into the same situations with enemies as before.
Being another Immersive Sim, there will also be side quests along with the main story. The game is far from finished though, with only certain cutscenes and sequences on show, but it’s nice to know how the game is coming along so far. The main story will be around 20 hours long according to the developer, but only if you want to rush through it, and the game will most certainly reward you for exploring different areas, paths and side quests.
Atomic Heart seems to be shaping up into something brutal, an immersive sim that focuses on it’s difficulty much like Dark Souls or Resident Evil. But it’s so strange and quirky already with the Russian aesthetic and surreal details that I’m genuinely excited for when it is announced. No release date has been revealed yet, but it might not be anytime soon. Cyka Blyat!
Are you excited for Atomic Heart? Let us know what you think!