Atomic Heart (Russian FPS with a Protagonist Who Should Have Been Silent)


Atomic Heart is almost the kind of game it wants to be. That being a Bioshock-inspired, Russian-art-directed, cyberpunk-esque, dystopian, thought-provoking murder-simulator, but misses the mark in one key area: it doesn’t let you think for yourself. Instead, the protagonist annoyingly spews opinions at every little thing he could possibly have. Therein lies its biggest flaw, it’s a dumbed down version of Bioshock that ultimately isn’t as intelligent and thought provoking as it could have been. That’s not to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. In fact, I’d say that in both game mechanics and world design, Atomic Heart does something that many games rarely do nowadays: improves the genre. First, the looting mechanic is my favorite in any video game of recent memory, telekinetic looting, interacting with and pulling out drawers and throwing papers everywhere. It feels like you’re actually looting derelict areas like a gun-toting badass rather than daintily searching through them in an organized fashion. Second, the art direction feels unique, especially some of the robots that strike the “uncanny valley” effect perfectly. The focus on ballerinas, in particular, brings to light some unnerving emotions of dread and worry. These little mechanics all flow together that make what seems to be a relatively generic open world feel really lived in, or better yet like it was being tested on.


Unfortunately, the main protagonist is what brings this whole experience to a crumble. Often, your talking compatriot reminiscent of Bioshock’s “Atlas” will deliver question after question on current events in-game. Unlike Bioshock, the main protagonist in Atomic Heart will immediately voice his opinion right after to the point that he’s not passive enough to let the player form their own opinion instead of giving more cryptic messages that help vent their frustration, and don’t force a certain perspective. For example, in Bioshock, the “main” protagonist Andrew Ryan states “A man chooses…a slave obeys.” Are you a man or are you a slave, you’re never explicitly told just given this to think about. In spite of that detail, personally, I loved Atomic Heart, and I think you’re likely to agre. Criticism aside, this game has some unique and excellent gameplay (that I won’t spoil here) worth the price of entry alone. It’s an extremely promising offer from Mundfish, and I can’t wait to see what they can cook up next.


Atomic Heart Official Steam

Written by Steve, Cleaver of Plebian Flesh

Atomic Heart
Mudfish (developer), 4Divinity, Focus Entertainment (publishers)
4.7 / 5