Home » Tech » ‘Atlas Fallen’ offers a vibrant action world with heavy fantasy clichés and tough combat, but struggles a bit with its own ambitions.

‘Atlas Fallen’ offers a vibrant action world with heavy fantasy clichés and tough combat, but struggles a bit with its own ambitions.

You only have one chance to make a positive first impression, people say. Here with us, maybe this statement is not used in Germany. Because the latest offspring of the German developer Deck 13 has suffered from a bit of an identity crisis since its announcement, and the final release does not immediately improve it.

When Atlas Fallen was first introduced a year ago, everyone assumed that the makers of ‘The Surge’ and ‘Lords of the Fallen’, among others, would tap the same Soulslike barrel again. nonetheless, the marketing team assures, that would not be the case. ‘Atlas Fallen’ would have more in common with faster action games genre ‘God of War’, ‘Horizon’ and related. But at the same time, the game should not be completely free of the familiar gameplay elements of the games ‘Souls’. So not immediately enlightened.


Even when you first start the game, you get a less than fantastic first impression. In a mandatory tutorial mission you learn a (small part of) your character’s movements, but what is especially striking is how brown and soulful everything looks. After some basic battles that are really reminiscent of ‘God of War’ than ‘Darkness’ or other ‘souls’, you choose the appearance of your protagonist from a limited number of options and you are thrown into the actual game. Or almost, because first you have to learn something in positive RPG tradition about your miserable fate in the fantasy world where ‘Atlas Fallen’ takes place.

© Deck13 Interactive

There is not much originality to be found: the world, Atlas, is a wasteland where the followers of the god Thelos rule under the leadership of their tyrannical queen who keeps everyone under a knot and so on and so forth. Again, the first impression is not immediately overwhelming. The color palette consists of fifty shades of brown, the characters look like your PlayStation secretly went back two generations and the dialogue is a huge expository dump full of nonsensical jargon.

© Deck13 Interactive

Magic glove game

That’s how it is. poor game? Oddly enough, not really. Because once you’ve slogged through that tedious introduction, an open game world is suddenly more dynamic and vast than the first half hour suggests. Soon you come into possession of a magic glove (video games, we know) that allows you to swing yourself in a wide (semi-) open world with acrobatic movements. It soon turns out that the glove is owned by Nyaal, the god of chaos, the counterpart of Thelos and says the emo version of Navi from ‘Ocarina of Time’. Nyaal helps you navigate your next quest, gives game tips (if they’re helpful or requested) and lets you know when treasure chests to dig are nearby.

© Deck13 Interactive

This excavation is an important part of ‘Atlas Fallen’, because everything in this world revolves around sand. Sand is not only an important element of the story, sand is also important in the gameplay. One of your most important skills is that you can use the power of Nyaal to raise not only treasure chests, but also save points and all decorative elements from the sand. You need the letter in particular so that it goes to places that are inaccessible. This mechanism, which is quite simple in itself, immediately invites you to fully discover the world, because behind, on or under each obstacle, a valuable item can be waiting for you. Unfortunately, not all the places you can see can be reached, and therefore it is a pity that the game occasionally decides to let you crash into an invisible wall.

© Deck13 Interactive


In addition, the sand also ensures that you can move your float from point A to B. After all, your character can ‘navigate’ on sand, which gives you a nice speed boost, for example, achieve greater jumps or avoid enemies. The game also offers the ability to quickly jump from one save point to another, which is certainly useful for some quests, but the sandsurfing is a relaxed way to explore the game world and always go to your destination quickly.

© Deck13 Interactive

Although this advantage also has its disadvantages, because sometimes it is not always clear in the game what actually is and what is not sand. For example, one moment you can smoothly whiz along what is clearly a rocky road, while the next brings you to an abrupt stop because you touch a blade of grass.

© Deck13 Interactive

Fast fight

Enemies also like to dive on the sand, which brings us to the combat system of ‘Atlas Fallen’. A mix of ‘Souls’ and ‘God of War’ games according to the makers. This is largely true, although you immediately notice that these sources of inspiration have done better than what you find served here. Battles are fast-paced affairs, where in theory you should be able to flash smoothly from one enemy to another. In practice, things often run a little less smoothly, because your character sometimes seems to decide on his own which monsters he would or would rather not attack.

© Deck13 Interactive

What works well are the special attacks of which you have a lot at your disposal. After all, you collect so-called ‘essence stones’ on your quest, with which you can unlock new attacks. Some stones give you a new move, others temporarily strengthen your defense, … there are dozens of them that you can combine to your heart’s content to put together your favorite play style. You need everything, because even on the lowest difficulty level, the biggest enemy is absolutely not the cat.

© Deck13 Interactive

Too much grass

‘Atlas Fallen’ struggles somewhat with its own ambitions. The makers clearly had big plans with this game, but there is only so much grass on a fork and for every positive there is also a negative aspect. The world is well developed and feels alive, but the story is nothing more than a cocktail of heavy fantasy clichés. Exploring the different areas is fun, but at the same time you occasionally stop for no apparent reason.

© Deck13 Interactive

The combat is fast and there are many special attacks, but the camera and controls often do not work with them. With the necessary patches and updates, some of these problems can be solved, but until then: a mediocre game that is not immediately worth the full price, but can become a big budget title in the long term.

The game will be released on August 10

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