Atlas Fallen Impressions – Deck 13 are Branching Out

Atlas Fallen

Deck 13 are an interesting studio. A decade ago, it was highly likely that the average gamer wouldn't have heard of them, nor would they have heard of many - if any - of their titles. Venetica was the first of their titles I tried, though they became more visible through titles like Blood Knights before releasing the Lord of the Fallen, then moving onto The Surge and The Surge 2. They are moving away from soulslikes with Atlas Fallen in their most extended break between releases.

Revealed during opening night live, the trailer for Atlas Fallen was undoubtedly eye-catching. Much like we've already covered, this is looking to move away from their previous three titles, venturing into new territory. We have a fast-paced action RPG here, but one that has undoubtedly benefitted from Deck 13's recent history while also taking inspiration from several other games.

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I should clarify that my impressions of Atlas Fallen are based on a twenty-or-so minute hands-off presentation. I haven't had hands-on with the game. What I have seen, however, is fascinating. There appears to be far more than what the trailer lets on. In a world in ruin, you find a magical gauntlet that allows you to control the sands of Atlas, and you're going to use this to help you defeat the sun god ruling the world.

The game will feature a linear adventure, with you visiting several semi-open areas. While the world is covered in sand, with an interesting sand-glide mechanic that looks fun, it's not the only thing you'll find yourself traversing; this isn't Sahara: The Game. You'll find yourself in a few different biomes - though most on the dry side - and uncover the vast ruins of Atlas while facing off against various enemies.

You'll do everything through the magical power of your gauntlet. As you traverse the world, you'll want to find the essence stones spread throughout the maps. Finding these will allow you to slot them into your gauntlet, giving you various powers and upgrades. In exploration, these will enable you to raise long-buried ruins from the sand, giving you more to explore, while in combat, you'll find yourself with a host of new abilities to take out the enemy in front of you.

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Fighting is where Atlas Fallen (I keep fighting myself, wanting to call it Atlas Shrugged) appears to stand out. Inspired by such as Monster Hunter, these can be giant monsters with multiple sections to take out. The example in the presentation was a massive crab monster with numerous areas to take out, destroying it in stages before you can finally finish it. The exciting thing is that it never looks like it loses the speed and fluidity that Deck 13 appear to be aiming for within the game.

Fighting is performed through multiple weapons linked to a few different attack types. I saw whips, swords, hammers, fists, and more in the short presentation. As your momentum increases, represented by a bar above your health, these weapons will become more deadly but leave you more vulnerable to damage from those you're fighting. Gain enough momentum, and you'll be able to use even more powerful and unique abilities.

As I've said, it looks like a fast-paced, engaging, exciting combat system. Also interesting is that Atlas Fallen features co-op, giving you a companion for the more challenging moments or just for the fun of exploration. In addition, it makes itself accessible through multiple difficulty options - including what is essentially a story mode, letting people explore as they please.

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I can't say that Atlas Fallen will be as described above. These are my impressions from a hands-off presentation, but it has caught my attention. I like Deck 13 as a developer, and it looks like they have taken their craft to a new level and direction. Releasing in 2023, it's one I'll certainly be keeping my eye on.

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