August 9, 2023 at 4:01pm
By Jason Stettner
You start off as a nameless individual that’s part of this caravan. The world around you is bleak, sandstorms block out the distance. The wraith monsters are out there in the storms, waiting for someone to be left behind.
There’s also a split within the caravan as the lower group of nameless are tired of those above them. Through this discussion about what’s been going on your customized individual is sent out into the storm. This is where you find the gauntlet, a powerful device that allows you to ascend from what you’ve been living in.
That’s essentially the start of this adventure and that early aspect doesn’t really matter because tonally the rest of the game is vastly different. You’re thrown out into an open world area, the first of a few and then told to go gather shards.
It’s always three shards and you gather these by doing simple puzzles or fighting a monster. Once that’s done you talk to a person, fight a wraith monster and then repeat essentially. There are some slight variations here or there, but that’s basically it. It’s not terribly long to play through, but you may find value in doing side quests or other worldly activities.
It’s not insanely vast in terms of quantity, but I do appreciate a shorter set world at times. At the same time this world did seem ripe for deeper exploration and narrative. It just felt from that story perspective that they could have gone further with what was happening. It tells a full tale, but it did leave me wanting more.
From the third person perspective you essentially slide across the sandy open world and continue to expand your gauntlet power through the shards. This will eventually allow you to soar about in the air for extended periods of time. This comes in handy in regards to combat and some of the parkour exploration.
You will also be able to expand the skill type abilities of your gauntlet. This neat system allows you to form special essence stones to gain extra abilities. You have a set quantity of slots and must use them effectively. There are also armor perks to gain when you upgrade the armor you gather on your journey. Combat within the game was rather interesting, at the same time it could be overwhelming depending on the situation.
You’re fighting large monsters, the same multiple times and needing to destroy every piece of their extra body armor to vanquish them. It would have been neat to see a deeper impact on you taking out a critical piece of the foe. It would have also been nice to have more variations within the monster wraiths as well.
As I did mention, it can be overwhelming as secondary smaller creatures can stack up quickly. You’ll need to manage health, and abilities well to deal with the problems and there are difficulty options if areas should become too difficult for you. I didn’t feel it was too overly challenging with the right gear, but I could see parts where some might find it too much.
The open world did look fairly great, I was impressed and there’s minimal pop-in as well. It feels vast, but at the same time has a tightened scale to it. There are some open world activities and wraiths to deal with out there. It’s got some content, but doesn’t feel endless which was nice to have. Going further on visuals for Xbox Series X you get two dynamic resolution scaling options.
The first being quality with a 4k resolution at 30fps and the second being performance with a 1440p resolution at 60fps. The latter was the default and my preference. You will need to restart the game to switch the choices and you may notice minor performance drops but they were very minimal when I was playing. There’s also HDR support and Spatial Sound support too which are nice to have features wise.
Atlas Fallen is ambitious being tight in scale and offering some limited scope which was refreshing for an open world game. It certainly could have been expanded upon from a narrative stand point so I’d leave that for a follow-up if that were to happen as the concepts here certainly could be expanded upon.
The game in general ran well offering a really great looking world to explore. It’s not super vast in scale and the story was rather short with repetitive elements. The wraiths kept repeating far too close together and that did make things come across as somewhat tedious. I was also at times bored with the choice in design regarding shard collection.
I really liked aspects of this and some portions could have been better. It was a nice refreshingly tight game though and something I appreciated for that aspect as some open world games have gotten too large these days. It was nice to have some freedom, while not feeling as though I had to wander forever to get somewhere.
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Atlas Fallen Review on Xbox Series X
Review Code Provided by Focus Entertainment