Now playing: Atomic Heart

Mustachioed robots and crispy critters.

Despite the wide range of critical reactions to Atomic Heart, Game Pass proves it’s value once again with a Day One release.

First impressions

Firstly, the game is gorgeous. It’s certainly on the short list of most impressive Unreal 4 games to date, and – aside from a few hiccups – runs at what feels like a rock solid 60fps on Series X.

The art direction, world design and level design are very strong – in the first few hours at least, so far.

And certain aspect of the game feel very strong. I love the mini-puzzle locks, the wider puzzle areas feel good, and the looting mechanic is a breath of fresh air.

That said, there’s a lot that feels odd, or wobbly too.

The pacing can fluctuate wildly, with a few ultra long elevator rides scattered across the first couple of hours, including a notable example in the first 10 minutes. The UI weapons selection and upgrade system feel confusing to start. Dialogue can come across as quite heavy handed, and the tone of the English dub in combination with the writing oozes with a sort of high-octane aloofness.

But still, I kinda love it, so far?

In my first session I played for nearly 4 hours until 1am, so obviously it’s scratching a particular itch for me right now. Although I’ve only just exited the first “dungeon” area, and discussion online seems to hint that the game’s flaws become more apparent in the back end.

For now tho, I shoot.