Atlas Fallen Review: Sand Surfing, Monster Slaying Goodness!

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Atlas Fallen Review: A Captivating Open-World RPG with Engaging Gameplay


Deck 13’s Atlas Fallen: A Review of the Captivating Open-World RPG

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**Deck 13’s Atlas Fallen: A Captivating Open-World RPG with Engaging Gameplay**

Deck 13 has gained a reputation as one of my guilty pleasure game developers and publishers. When they announced their next title, Atlas Fallen, my interest was immediately piqued, despite my mixed relationship with their previous game, The Surge. While I have my criticisms of The Surge, I couldn’t help but admire its incredible world and gameplay. Atlas Fallen aims to carry that legacy forward, offering a compelling open and explorable world, fun gameplay, a satisfying combat system, and serviceable voice-acting. The game’s trailers sparked interest, but does it live up to the hype? In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Atlas Fallen, exploring its strengths and weaknesses.

**A Tale of a Fallen Empire: Storyline and Characters**

Atlas Fallen follows the story of a player-created character and an amnesiac spirit named Nyaal, as they navigate through a world that has been reduced to a barren desert under the rule of a merciless Sun God. Players embark on a journey to help Nyaal regain his memories while upgrading the gauntlet, which houses the spirit of Nyaal, in order to reach Bastinger, where their friends were destined to travel.

The game’s storyline follows a typical fantasy RPG setting, where a ruthless ruler oversees the inhabitants, creating a class hierarchy that is briefly touched upon in the early stages of the game. Unfortunately, the story itself fails to generate much interest. Throughout my 15-18 hour gameplay session, the plot left me feeling confused due to the overwhelming amount of information dumped on the player. Furthermore, the lack of a compendium in-game to revisit past stories makes it even more challenging to fully grasp the plot and setting while journeying across deserts and battling monsters. While players do come across lore items that provide backstory on the Knights of Bastengar and the world’s transformation, little else is offered in terms of story development.

To compensate for the lackluster storyline, Atlas Fallen incorporates full voice acting for all in-game characters. While far from perfect, with some lines delivered awkwardly, the majority of the voice actors manage to capture the player’s attention and provide some clarity to the story. However, outside of the main character Nyaal, the remaining cast fails to leave a lasting impression. Memorable characters are sadly lacking, restricting the player’s ability to identify a favorite Atlas Fallen character.

**Exploring the Desert Plains of Atlas Fallen**

Exploration plays a significant role in Atlas Fallen, as players are tasked with aiding their ethereal companion in regaining their memories and strengthening their gauntlet. The game offers a unique mechanic that allows players to surf the sands of the region, traversing a world that strikes a balance between the breadth of exploration and the thrill of discovering ruins and camps for valuable items.

The ability to air-dash across wide chasms adds to the excitement of exploration, while the player’s natural curiosity drives them to search for hidden items scattered throughout the action RPG title. These items can be found in buried chests, as well as material deposits, beacons, shards for gauntlet upgrades, and anvils that serve as checkpoints and upgrade stations. Some players may argue that the game’s world lacks depth, but I appreciate the fact that Deck 13 did not resort to nonsensical item hunts solely for the sake of prolonging gameplay. While players are still required to complete these tasks to create items or momentum stones, they do not overpower the overall experience. As someone who tends to grow weary of tedious checklist item hunting in modern gaming, I find this refreshing.

For players who may find themselves fatigued by endless exploration, engaging in story quests is a recommended alternative. Atlas Fallen offers three types of quests: the main quest (Golden), side quests (blue), and errands (green). Main quests progress the storyline, while side quests and errands contribute to expanding the game’s universe. Although some side quests may involve saving NPCs or collecting specific items, the quality of these quests varies. Nevertheless, the game manages to present intriguing side quests, particularly given its unique world and initially confusing storyline. Errand quests are provided by NPCs, and completing them rewards players with items that enhance their abilities. In addition, players have the freedom to tackle quests in any order they choose, as there is no sense of urgency associated with completing them. Finishing quests not only yields beneficial items but also presents the opportunity to acquire armors with improved stats, valuable items, and essence, which can aid players in defeating formidable foes.

**Fast-Paced Hack-n-Slash Gameplay: Combat System and Mechanics**

To complement the exploration and questing aspects of Atlas Fallen, the game introduces a fast-paced hack-n-slash combat system. Reminiscent of THQ Nordic’s Darksiders series, the combat system may feel slightly rigid at times, but it ultimately stands as the game’s strongest feature and potential saving grace. Players can perform four types of attacks: primary attacks, secondary attacks, stronger alternative attacks triggered by holding down the primary attack button, and mid-air juggles. Mastering the art of combining these attacks enables players to execute impressive combos against enemies. Moreover, the game allows players to acquire different weapons to diversify their combat arsenal, further enhancing the combat experience.

But Deck 13 didn’t stop at just providing a robust combat system. To add variety and depth, Atlas Fallen introduces a Momentum bar located below the player’s health, which empowers standard attacks and enables the use of boons from selected essence stones. This meter gradually depletes when players take damage or remain out of combat. Additionally, the Momentum meter grants players the ability to unleash a powerful attack. The essence stones, obtained through exploration and quest completion, contribute to altering combat performance. Different essence stones offer unique abilities such as summoning sand tornadoes to attack enemies, enhancing defense, or executing specialized attacks. The game allows players to prepare three presets, each equipped with different unlocked weapons, essence stones, and idols. A hassle-free switch between presets outside of combat further expands the combat mechanics of Atlas Fallen, encouraging players to experiment and explore diverse combat styles.


In conclusion, Atlas Fallen presents an enticing open-world RPG experience with engaging gameplay mechanics. While the storyline lacks depth and fails to fully capture the player’s interest, the game compensates with full voice acting that aids in conveying the overall narrative. Exploration in the game strikes a good balance, allowing players to indulge in the thrill of discovering hidden items without overwhelming them with endless checklist quests. The combat system serves as the game’s standout feature, offering a fast-paced hack-n-slash experience that can be further customized through the use of essence stones and varying weapon choices.

Overall, Atlas Fallen manages to capture the essence of what makes an open-world RPG enjoyable, providing players with a captivating journey through a desolate yet intriguing world. Deck 13’s attention to detail, unique mechanics, and engaging gameplay make Atlas Fallen a worthwhile addition to any RPG enthusiast’s collection. Whether you’re searching for an immersive exploration experience, intense combat encounters, or a combination of both, Atlas Fallen delivers on multiple fronts. So, embark on this epic adventure and unravel the mysteries of the fallen empire that awaits you in Atlas Fallen.