Atlas Traps: Like a grain of sand in the desert
Nowadays, action role-playing games are no longer exclusively concerned with a fast and fun combat system, but often have Soulslike elements in their luggage. Since these are now a dime a dozen,
many players will be happy that Atlas Fallen does without it and goes its own, albeit bumpy, way. You start the adventure as a so-called nameless person who has to toil like a slave and is treated with little respect by the soldiers watching over them.
Basically, this circumstance doesn’t play any further role for the course of the game, since at the beginning you’ll find a gauntlet that contains the spirit of the god Nyaal. Thanks to its power, you’ll soon have useful combat techniques at your disposal and you’ll no longer have to obey the soldiers’ orders. In a rather meaningless and partly contextless story, you gradually strengthen the Gauntlet and get to the bottom of the question of what exactly happened to Nyaal.
He can only partially remember his past, but has a lot to tell, which reminded us of the bracelet from Forspoken – and not in a positive way, but more about that later. We can’t tell you much more about the plot, because the game isn’t too long and only has a few interesting parts in terms of content, with a good 10 hours for the story in our case.
The core problem: A second god named Thelos, who rules over the land and is worshipped by people
does not seem to be what everyone thinks it is. What exactly the main character’s motivation is to help Nyaal and get to the bottom of the matter isn’t made very clear; moreover, the individual segments seem to be connected in a forced way. So, if you’re looking for a game with an exciting and well-presented story, Atlas Fallen isn’t the right candidate for it. However, this is not necessarily tragic in an action role-playing game. Representatives of the genre don’t necessarily have to be carried by a complex storyline, as is the case with Final Fantasy 16, for example, as long as the gameplay can convince. The heart of such games is ultimately a sophisticated battle system that brings both speed and variety, and in the best case, an interesting game world.
Play the same quest again!
The latter is a vast desert landscape divided into a handful of open areas, each with its own map. Even though you can’t directly explore every nook and cranny, you are only slightly restricted in your freedom of movement right from the start. The areas are limited on the one hand by the progress in the story and on the other hand by the current abilities of the Gauntlet. You’ll have to improve them in the course of the story in order to advance. With the divine powers in glove form, you can raise constructions out of the sand at correspondingly marked points, which open the way to higher levels. However, it is sometimes unclear how exactly you are supposed to get up there. It doesn’t help that the entire game world with its desert looks monotonous and somehow desolate, only occasionally it is replaced by greener corners or mountains.
To at least make getting around easier, you have the option to surf across the sand. This not only saves time, but is also fun, especially since it is also possible in most of the fights and they gain speed that way. A little tip for those of you who suffer from motion sickness: It’s best to turn off the motion blur completely.
We could live with a repetitively designed world and initially confusing ruins, but as soon as this repetitive strategy extends to the gameplay, it becomes difficult. The already unspectacular
Reinforcing the Gauntlet seems to be the most important and, above all, a repetitive task.
Action segments are interrupted several times by having you search for new shards to upgrade the Gauntlet. These missions are then structured exactly the same each timeexcept that you have to search for the pieces in other corners, and feel a lot like filler. This is mainly because collecting the appropriate materials doesn’t happen organically – unless you go out on your own beforehand and gather all the shards available at the time in advance – but feels forced, especially since it happens several times. The development team could have implemented this more skillfully.
Overall, the game world itself is designed to be rather uneventful and doesn’t offer much incentive to take a left or right turn. There are a few puzzles, optional boss fights, as well as watchtowers and zones guarded by particularly strong enemies, but these didn’t give us the feeling that exploring the rather empty areas was worthwhile.