Atomic Heart does not shy away from acknowledging its BioShock Infinite influences. This action-packed adventure begins in a city in the clouds and offers you reality-bending and elemental powers to use against advanced robots
Atomic Heart and Resources in an idyllic city
As you scramble for resources in an idyllic city that’s crumbling around you, an amnesiac protagonist must grapple with questions of free will.
By the time you reach the climactic point of the story and are ask to visit a lighthouse, you already know what’s coming.
Atomic Heart stands out from its inspirations in that it examines concepts of free will through Soviet Russian collectivism instead of U.S.
individualism. Unfortunately, Atomic Heart’s intriguing premise is undermin by an unlikable protagonist and a predictable storyline that fails to do anything exciting with its intriguing ideas.
Atomic Heart follows
Atomic Heart follows an alternate history where scientist Dmitry Sechenov spearheads a robotics revolution in Russia during the 1930s. By the 1950s,
workers have been completely replace by robots control by Kollectiv 1.0, and shortly afterward Kollectiv 2.0 will be unveil allowing all humans equal access to this hive-mind network via Thought devices connected directly to their brain;
as well as connecting and sharing information across great distances – effectively making it like having the Internet plug into your head 24/7!
From a 21st-century perspective, we know the Internet will not be a perfect idea even if Major Sergei Nechaev, an agent serving Sechenov, believes in its utopia of equal access for everyone online and the wealth of data it will unleash.
Assigned to investigate a disturbance at Facility 3826 – Soviet Union’s foremost scientific research hub – Sergei is join by Charles, a sentient glove that grants him polymer-fed techno powers ‘
such as telekinesis and cryokinesis while serving as his sounding board for his often annoying yet borderline abusive collection of remarks and insulting comebacks.
Sergei awakes to discover that their experiment has ended
Sergei awakens to find that experiments into mutation have gone awry in his underground facility, complete with blood-stained hallways and flickering lights.
Worse still, Sergei discovers that once-peaceful robot assistants have turned vicious. But the real horror is yet to come when Charles talks to Sergei about how Kollectiv 2.0 (which has already been installed into Sergei) may not always be beneficial for him.
Hasn’t Sergei noted that all those audio logs and computers he’s logged into provide him with information pertinent to fulfilling the mission assigned him? Wow,
it’s almost as if an algorithm is providing him with information about what they think he should see and hear more of, disguising the manipulation so he doesn’t notice.
While not as overt as a spoken command, Charles suggests humans can be just as easily directed as robots once they’ve all logged onto the same collective mind of data if there is some way to control that input.
Atomic Heart offers an intriguing concept
Atomic Heart offers an intriguing concept, one further enhanced by the fact that we, as players, have been controlling Sergei’s actions throughout the entire experience.
Not only is Sergei being brainwashed into viewing the game’s world in a certain light by an algorithmic simulation, but all of us too.
Though intriguing, Atomic Heart does nothing particularly novel with this concept. In fact, its protagonist actively gets in the way of this exploration, lashing out at Charles that he doesn’t have time for thoughtful reflection on hypotheticals.
He cannot be bothered to offer any sort of introspection because there are robots to be stopped and a bad guy to blame that needs eliminating.
Charles repeatedly brings up the morality of their mission and its wider ramifications, yet Sergei simply doesn’t seem to care, saying he’ll leave any thinking to Sechenov.
occasion feel that Sergei’s character
On occasion, you might feel that Sergei’s character development is taking shape. Yet after 10 hours have passed and he still appears stuck in the same pattern without signs of progress, you begin to question how anyone could be so stubbornly undeveloped and annoyingly nave.
Sergei is also deeply unlikable as a person, with an inexplicable attitude that frustrates everyone around him, including Charles the helpful one.
Playing as Sergei can be like playing as an unpleasant human being–I empathize more with those who must endure his unfunny insults than I do for him personally.
Experience something familiar yet delightfully new with these classic games.
Sergei may look like a jerk, but he knows how to fight. Utilizing polymer abilities with his left hand and an arsenal of firearms and weapons with his right, Sergei is an unstoppable fighter.
While robots and mutants are much faster than him, you can escape their swarms using Sergei’s dash move which allows for frenetic hit-and-run combat experiences.
Though initially simple enough, combat becomes more engaging as more enemy types are introduced with unique attack patterns and weaknesses.
Atomic Heart offers
Atomic Heart offers a wide variety of enemy types. However, you’re likely to run into them before long–from dog-like creatures that try to circle you before charging in, to turret-style adversaries shooting from far and bulky ones who telegraph their attacks but can take a hit.
Weapons and powers used for battle work as expected–the pump-action shotgun hits exactly as expected and cold polymer freezes enemies in place just as expected.
It may feel familiar, but combat works smoothly enough; everything works as expected and remains enjoyable!
Looting is one of the most enjoyable parts of Atomic Heart, as with just the click of a button Charles can use telekinesis to pull money into Sergei’s pocket.
In practice, this causes drawers to open quickly, cabinet doors to almost come crashing open, and enemies to burst with energy as Charles’ magnetic pull draws all of a room’s resources towards him.
Entering an unknown room or clearing out enemies was always a thrill, and watching everything around me explode into a tornado of paper and metal that sucked into my coffers like a voracious tornado was almost enough reward in itself.
Of course, you could use these resources to craft firearms, ammo, weapon attachments, and items; but for me personally, the sheer thrill of it all was almost enough reward in itself!
After completing the initial mission, Sergei takes a monorail to the main area of the game, Atomic Heart expanding into an open-world format.
At this point, the narrative slows to an uncomforting crawl as Sergei visits one of several facilities to complete a mission, return to Earth, visit another facility, and repeat.
Even if you don’t take the time to freely explore the map, complete optional challenges, or search for materials to unlock special attachments for your firearms, the journey between waypoints still slows down the storyline.
Nothing of narrative significance occurs outside the confines of each facility’s linear levels, and combat is well-serve by the well-planned layout of those contained areas.
That moment in the theater may be cool, but it’s rare that something similar occurs within gameplay. Atomic Heart doesn’t follow suit with its stunning soundtrack to create more moments like these–in fact,
there are quite a few instances where the powerful composition feels wasted because it doesn’t match the atmosphere of what’s currently taking place. Why play hard rock during an intense fight in a dimly lit morgue? It just doesn’t fit.
Atomic Heart has some striking disconnects that create an experience that often feels at odds with itself. For instance, the history of the world in Atomic Heart is captivating and raises provocative questions about free will and collectivism; yet its unlikable protagonist prevents these topics from being explore further.
While Atomic Heart may appeal to some people – particularly those looking to relive BioShock Infinite – it’s certainly not recommend.