Atlas Fallen is a sprawling, open-world RPG set against a stunning desert backdrop. It promises an exciting adventure filled with equal parts action and exploration.
The breathtaking visuals, combined with a truly gorgeous musical score, make it a really aesthetically pleasing game, so we're going to look through some of the highs and lows of our playthrough.
Varied and strategic combat
The combat system in Atlas Fallen is definitely a strong point. The need to discover enemy weak points means you have to fight strategically, which in turn adds a mountain of satisfaction to each encounter you take on (and win!).
There's also a strong element of mixing and matching when it comes to combat, and you can pair different weapons together to make for some unique offensive plays. It also means it's accessible for any player because you can tailor your combat style to exactly how you want it. It's not like every other hack-and-slash game out there because it actively rewards blocking, countering, and playing with strategy in mind.
There's also no optimal load-out in Atlas Fallen. It's more a case of trial and error and experimentation to see what works for you. That in itself is quite unique because there's no god-tier overpowered weapon that you're constantly hunting for, which is something we see quite a bit of in action games nowadays.
The different weapons in Atlas Fallen
Atlas Fallen's main offensive item is the Gauntlet, a powerful and magical item that provides three weapons at your disposal.
There's the Dunecleaver, a heavy weapon in the form of a battle axe, capable of devastating damage, AoE attacks, and the ability to shatter crystallised enemies. There is also the Sandwhip, a close to mid-range whip that's perfect for a frenzy of quick attacks. It's great for crowd control and works as a dagger when the whip itself is not extended. Finally, there's the Knuckledust, which is ideal in one-on-one encounters and packs a nasty punch.
The flexibility you're afforded in combat allows for interesting combos and different styles of brawling, meaning you can tailor fights to how you prefer to play.
One of the most interesting elements of Atlas Fallen's combat is its momentum system. The momentum metre will charge upon each successful hit, eventually unlocking a passive boost and devastating active skills. It adds a lot of meat to the combat, making it feel really fresh and enjoyable to play.
Exploration in Atlas Fallen
With a backdrop of stunning sandy deserts and rolling hills, it comes as no surprise that exploration is a huge part of Atlas Fallen. One of the most enjoyable parts of traversing the desert hills is the sand-boarding movement mechanic. Think Tony Hawk meets Dune with a touch of Journey.
There's also the raise ability that allows you to drag stony platforms out of the ground, and you can also air-dash to give yourself an added horizontal boost. All of this allows you to explore the seamless open world in as much depth as you please.
The world of Atlas Fallen is also packed with loose resources and wildlife, and the game is so huge that it almost begs to be explored. It's very easy to lose hours surfing the sand and finding as many trinkets as you can fit in your pockets, and isn't that what an open-world game is made for?
Atlas Fallen has a really cool premise. You're a nameless hero who becomes the owner of a magical gauntlet that can transform into several different weapons: a huge axe, a whip with blades, and a massive armoured fist with sharp claws.
The world you call home is under the glowing thumb of the sun god, Thelos, who's forced the people to spend their lives mining for a supernatural substance called essence. You must traverse the sandy desert, gathering essence stones that can be used to upgrade your builds and customise your weapons.
There are over 100 of these essence stones scattered across the desert plains, which means there's certainly plenty to discover along your journey. It's heavily focused on the story, and Atlas Fallen doesn't fail when it comes to the narrative.
The treasure hunts for various map fragments also feel heavily borrowed from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's almost nostalgic, and the hunts themselves are a lot of fun. The side missions don't feel like a slog to get through, and as for the answers to the treasure hunts themselves, you have to actually use your brain as the game doesn't just hand the answer to you. This alone is incredibly refreshing.
Atlas Fallen's scenery, music, and mobility techniques make for a really enjoyable open-world experience, but with a market so heavily saturated by games like this, you can't help but feel as though it's pulled heavily from various other already well-established franchises. However, that doesn't take away from how enjoyable it is to go surfing along a desert.
For more reviews on upcoming and exciting releases, be sure to check out our Baldur's Gate 3 review! We also have an article discussing whether Armored Core 6 is open-world that you should check out while you're here!
Atlas Fallen was reviewed on PC with code provided by the publisher.