Weird and fresh everywhere you look

In this advance play, I played the PC version. The specifications of the PC used are CPU Core i9 10900K, memory 32GB, and GPU RTX3080.

Before I get into my impressions, let’s review Atomic Heart. This work is an FPS (nominal: action RPG) developed by Cyprus game studio Mundfish. The stage is the Soviet Union in a parallel world in 1955 that diverged due to the discovery of polymers and technologies that utilize them.

In this world, the Nazis spread the brown death, not the black death, during World War II, but the Soviet Union used science and technology to repel it. It is The Soviet Union is currently planning to build an information network by implanting the neural network “Collective 2.0” into the residents, and it has a dystopian setting.

The main character is a special forces soldier called P-3, and the story begins in the aerial city “Cherome”. It seems to be influenced by “BioShock”, and is reminiscent of Rapture and Columbia, which are the stages of the same series. It is the day before “Collective 2.0” is introduced to all residents, and Chelome is in a festive mood.

P-3 has been dispatched to Chelome on a mission to investigate the Soviet Union’s top-secret facility “Facility 3826”, which has lost contact. However, at the facility, the robots that had been supporting humans suddenly went out of control. P-3 is implant-enhanced and tougher than normal humans. However, he lost part of his memory due to an accident that happened in the past. Also, in his left hand, the power glove AI “Charles” is embedded. The interaction between P-3 and Charles, who have opposite personalities, is also an element.

The design of enemies, buildings, objects, etc. is all different and dense

The part that many users who play this work expect is still a unique visual. From the conclusion, it seems that you can expect enough in that regard. First, the robots, buildings, and objects all come together in such a diverse and heterogeneous design that you’ve never seen in a video game. In addition to the Stalinist-style buildings that were common in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist regime and Brutalist architecture, which is inorganic and stark with concrete lined up, it also incorporates architectural elements that were popular in the United States, such as Art Deco and mid-century.

In the intro part, the boat automatically advances on the river in the city, but you will want to take a closer look at the surroundings, such as chatting citizens, robots performing arts, and towering buildings, arranged at a high density.

After going up to the shore, you will head to a huge facility modeled after Poland’s Palace of Culture and Science, and then travel in the air by a vehicle-carrying robot called “Bumblebee”. The land of the Soviet Union seen from the air is pleasing to the eye, full of bizarre buildings. A solar power plant with specially shaped solar panels and a cylindrical building with numerous dot-patterned holes through which robots come out were impressive.

In addition, not everything that is built in the land of the Soviet Union in this work is completely fictional. Fictitious statues holding a certain sickle stand next to each other. Even in the history of the parallel world of this work, historical facts such as Yuri Gagarin’s landing on the moon for the first time are mixed.

The interior decoration of the building is elaborately made. It looks like an art deco style, with a pattern of disks and radiation spreading all over the wall, and many round windows. Each location had its own characteristics, and the whole place was like a piece of art.

First of all, the quality of the graphics of this work itself is very high. The details and textures of the models are extremely detailed and beautiful, and add color to the unique world of this work. It seems that ray tracing can also be enabled, and the scenery was beautifully reflected on the floor of the building.

In Chelome, something like Russian popular songs is playing. It is a pleasant melody, partly because the city is in a festive mood. When moving in Bumblebee, there is a floating feeling and a song that makes you feel a little uneasy, giving you a sense of what will happen in the future.

The designs of the robots who are the main enemies of this work are all impressive. Once you see it, you will never forget it, such as a mannequin with a little beard, a chubby belly and a face that looks like it’s sucking a straw, and a silver face with a sexy body. It’s just something like Robots were originally created to serve humans, and each has a different purpose. The settings for each robot can be checked in-game.

A female guide robot called Tereshikova speaks a lot of lines in particular. She doesn’t seem to have much emotion, but there was a scene where she asked for help from her main character, so she may have an impressive scene prepared for her.

In addition, there are safe rooms in various places on the map where you can save. There, for some reason, a refrigerator-like object with an AI that looks like a sexy older sister talks to you. This object allows you to upgrade the player and the gun. With a line that feels a little annoying, this is also likely to be a character that will remain in the player’s impression.

In art and robotics, there is something called the uncanny valley phenomenon, in which a person suddenly feels eerie at a certain point in the process of making a human-like face look like a human. Although it is basically a negative phenomenon, it can be said that it is unique in this work that it works positively as an element that highlights the eeriness of the robot.

Human characters also make an appearance. A woman with short, purple hair treating an injured person (a rarity for women’s hairstyles and hair colors in the 1950s), and an elderly woman who is extremely skilled with guns, are also likely to leave a strong impression. I’m looking forward to seeing how it unfolds, as it will be heavily involved in the story.

In the map, there are also documents that describe the history of the world of this work. There is an item called “art subtitles” in the options, and if you turn it on, it will display the characters and posters written on the wall, so users who want to enjoy the world setting will be satisfied.

In this play, in addition to the first two hours, I was able to experience various scenes such as boss battles, puzzles, open world, etc., but I always felt the charm of unique designs such as enemies, buildings, objects and interiors. If you expect this part, it seems that it will be a finish that you can feel certain goodness.

Battle is lack of balance adjustment, very difficult in the early stages

I will decline in advance that it is an impression only of the preceding play part, but the battle in the early stage that I played was not well balanced and I felt it was very difficult. Combat in this game includes both guns and melee weapons. Although you can get a shotgun in the early stages, there are few bullets available, so you will mainly fight with melee weapons. Left click for melee weapons for light attacks, right click for heavy attacks.

VOVA, a mannequin-like robot with a mustache that you will fight in the early stages, has a very high endurance, and it takes about 2 minutes to defeat one person, and 3 minutes if you are not well. VOVA, which is a mid-boss type in the early stages, is forced to fight for a very long time. VOVA launches a series of acrobatic and quick attacks that imitate real-life martial arts, so you can’t let your guard down. The robot’s expression does not change, so you will fight while feeling eerie.

The basic way of fighting is to attack the gap after the enemy’s attack and inflict damage. If you miss the attack, you have to wait for the next opening, which is a little frustrating. It’s hard to grasp the distance, and it’s hard to instantly know where the attack detection is.

It was a little stressful that there were a lot of unconvincing attacks, such as being attacked while approaching behind, or being attacked by moving out of sight instantly after the player attacked.

In addition, there is a part that performs stealth on the way. You must act so as not to be detected by robots and surveillance cameras. If you are spotted by a surveillance camera, the alert level will rise and the enemy will attack, so you need to throw an object and make a sound to guide the field of vision. The field of vision of the robot is very good, and in addition the range of vision is not visualized. Even when I was squatting behind a shrubbery, my eyesight was so good that I could spot them from afar and attack them. As such, stealth didn’t seem to work very well at this stage.

In the early stages, durability is low, and recovery items are difficult to obtain unless you thoroughly explore. Therefore, it can be said that it is almost essential to explore thoroughly, and since it requires the ability to avoid timing, it feels like it is well-balanced for action game experts.

However, in the second half, abilities, special ammunition, durability, etc. will increase. When I read the data about the middle stage and played it, the damage was considerably less, and I was able to perform freeze attacks that can freeze enemies and electric attacks that are effective against robots. This problem may go away as the game progresses. It seems that multiple types of guns such as handguns and assault rifles will appear.

In the range I played, there was one that could shoot electric shocks from the Charles mounted on the left hand. Electric shocks can be used to paralyze robots or temporarily disable surveillance cameras. The left hand is also useful for searching for items, allowing you to open a large number of shelves at once.

From a mechanics point of view, both melee and shooting weren’t particularly good, and they were mediocre, which left me a little unsatisfied. I would also like to expect new actions and attack methods to appear. The left hand skill seems to be able to unlock various things in the skill tree type, so it seems that it will change depending on the variation of this.

There is one element in combat that I really like. It’s a damage expression. It’s a common expression in shooters that if you shoot a living enemy, you’ll lose your limbs or get your head blown off. However, in this work with many robots, the place where damage is done is scratched. Attacking the face with a melee weapon will inflict a powerful horizontal scar on the face, and striking the body will inflict a powerful horizontal scar on the body. This expression can be said to be unique to this work, where the main enemy is a robot. Apart from that, there was also a gore depiction of limbs coming off when attacking a human corpse. I’m curious to what extent gore and damage expressions in this work will be regulated in the console version.

There’s also gameplay that should be mentioned. I was able to experience a battle with a sphere-like boss released at IGN First. If this boss avoids attacks such as homing missiles and ring-shaped impacts, the core will be exposed at a specific timing, so you can deal great damage by shooting at it. This boss battle was more like playing an action game such as Mario than an FPS. It requires strength to withstand attacks rather than precision shooting.

However, in the data I played, the durability was quite high, so even if I was hit, I received only a little damage. I don’t know how it will be in the game play of the product version, but depending on how it grows, the battle may become much easier.

The button mapping of the controller operation is slightly special, with L trigger for a light attack and R trigger for a strong attack. I found keyboard and mouse to be easier to understand.

It is known that there is an open world part, but it is not an open world from the beginning of the game, but a format that shifts to an open world in the middle. There were no missions in the pre-play, so I could only walk, but there are objects and buildings with a reasonable density, so it’s pleasing to the eye. As I mentioned earlier, the graphics are also beautiful, so just walking around was a lot of fun. Surveillance cameras are scattered around the field, and if you spot them, a large number of enemies will swarm, so be careful.

Finally, let’s touch on the puzzle element. It seems to be a situation like conducting a test at a certain facility. By interacting with the switch, the terrain itself will move, and by using the electrical ability to change the S and N poles of the walls that have the properties of magnets to move the scaffolding, the play feel will be similar to that of The Legend of Zelda. It was reminiscent. I didn’t have much time to play this game, so I can’t say much about it, but I was also asked to perform actions such as dash jumping over holes.

In this advance play, I felt that the finish was very promising in terms of the “unique visuals”, which is the biggest attraction of this work. The Soviet landscape will keep you entertained, with something new and strange to be found everywhere you look. On the other hand, I am a little worried about the combat side. I have to keep in mind that since it is a build in development, there is a possibility that it will be improved in the final version, but the enemies in the early stages were very hard and felt unbalanced. Also, it was noticeable that melee weapons were difficult to use in the first person view, so I hope that it will be improved.

Atomic Heart will be released on February 21st for PC and Xbox, and April 13th for PS4/PS5. It will also be available for Xbox Game Pass from the first day of its release, so please feel the uniqueness of this work.

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