2022 has been an absolutely rollercoaster year for video games. While the after-effects of the pandemic can still be felt with delays and unfinished products still being commonplace amongst the barrage of AAA and AA releases, we have been treated to some excellent games like Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West among others. Of course, the year is far from over – and we still have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months.
Developer Mundfish’s upcoming Atomic Heart is one such game that has long been in development, and it seems that we will finally be able to get our hands on the game – hopefully sometime between September and December this year. While a basic overview of the game has been available to fans, recent gameplay trailers have shed more light on Atomic Heart – and the game is looking to be an absolutely insane experience.
There are very few games that manage to leave a long-lasting impact within a few seconds, and Atomic Heart is one such game. Thanks to its captivating art style and bright color palette, Atomic Heart instantly stands out from most of the action RPGs and third-person shooters that are currently on the market. You see, the game is set in an alternate universe where the Soviet Union made a lot of technological progress during World War 2, and rapidly developed robots and automation technologies that helped craft a machine-driven society. But everything in this apparently utopian world isn’t hunky dory, and the machines have waged a rebellion against humanity. There are also secret experiments and turned mutants that have been created to overthrow humanity in this war for survival.
You play as a soldier named Agent P-3, who is sent on a high-stakes mission to stop the machines from accomplishing their goals. Additionally, developer Mundfish is also teasing an element of philosophy with this narrative – as you will probably uncover many secrets surrounding the prospect of humanity’s extinction and how technology is simultaneously humanity’s biggest asset and biggest threat.
Mundfish has a great opportunity to craft an engaging narrative with Atomic Heart, one that excellently combines its alternate history setting with a philosophical angle for a memorable narrative, and we really hope that the developer nails this aspect of the experience as well. But of course, the reason that most people would be trying Atomic Heart would be its gameplay. As mentioned previously, Atomic Heart is a first-person shooter with RPG elements sprinkled on top for some good measure. As Agent P-3, you will be exploring the game’s fantastical retro-futurist locales and gunning down a wide variety of enemies in order to progress through the story.
The enemy design in particular is looking really exceptional. There are many different kinds of enemies which range from a simple robot to a teletubby on wheels to turned mutants and so much more. These enemies boast a wide variety of moveset – ranging from a dropkick in the air to a whirlwind attack of blades to shooting down laser beams and whatnot. It’s looking absolutely crazy, and the fun doesn’t stop there. The trailers have showcased heart-pounding boss fights with giant mechs and robots that could very well end up being highlights of the experience.
Fighting these varied robots and creatures would obviously require a lot of firepower, and Atomic Heart seems to be giving its players plenty of opportunities to wreak havoc upon their adversaries. Players will have the option to choose from both melee and ranged weaponry, and each of these categories has a wide variety of options. On the melee front, players will have the option to infuse maces and hammers and other tools of destruction with elemental status effects such as electricity through a crafting system. Over on the ranged side of things, you will have the option to choose from a simple pistol to a deadly rocket launcher and everything and anything in between.
In addition to this, Agent P-3 will have some supernatural powers as well, including a kinesis move that will send enemies flying into the air – allowing you to easily dispatch them. Or you could use the kinesis move to send environmental objects like rocks flying into an enemy’s face, which seems eerily similar to Control. Additionally, we’ve also seen a water sprinkler glove that will spray enemies down with water, allowing you to then send out a shock attack for increased damage output. Players will most likely have plenty of opportunities to use these tactics and strategies on different enemy types and situations – as the developer has said that Atomic Heart will feature over 20 hours of content for an average playthrough in an interview with GamingBolt.
While all-out frontal assault will be the main focus of the experience, players will most likely also have the option to thin the herd using stealth. In the recent trailer, we can actually see that there’s a metric in the top right corner called the Alert Level, which could point to the game having some stealth elements. We suspect that this would work in a similar vein to MachineGames’ Wolfenstein reboots – though it isn’t entirely confirmed at the moment.
Long story short, Atomic Heart seems to have a pretty dynamic combat loop that should be an absolute joy to engage with. On top of the wide variety of guns and strategies at the player’s disposal, the developer has paid a lot of attention to the feedback. Guns and powers carry a sense of weight and impact to them, and enemies will react appropriately to hits and slashes – which would make for a realistic experience through and through.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the visual presentation. Atomic Heart looks absolutely gorgeous on a visual level, and everything from the lighting to the reflections to the textures is top-tier. The project started life as an Unreal Engine 4 project, but showed off support for RTX and DLSS technologies. While it’s entirely possible that the development might have shifted over to Unreal Engine 5, we haven’t spotted any major differences that would suggest such a thing. That said, it still looks absolutely gorgeous nevertheless.
Between a long waiting period and rumors of mass layoffs within the company, Atomic Heart’s development cycle hasn’t been the smoothest but it seems that we are finally inching closer and closer to the game’s imminent release. Mundfish seems to have crafted a potent mix of shooter and action RPG elements with Atomic Heart, and we are really excited to finally experience the alternate history Soviet Union when the game releases on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S. Hopefully, it manages to deliver on its lofty promises – and then some more.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.