Deck13 Interactive’s Atlas Fallen is a fast-paced combat RPG set in a fantasy realm.
The game starts with players selecting their own customisable avatar. As an Unnamed, the player’s character is in servitude to a malevolent regime. On discovering and bonding with a mystical gauntlet they are introduced to a peculiar guiding spirit called Nyaal. To be honest the story is pure forgettable hokum and you’ll remember the game more for its mechanics than the tale that surrounds them.
I’ll be honest and admit that at first the game felt easy to dismiss, the opening sequence has the game, regrettably, holding its card to its chest. But as soon as the game opens up the rather gorgeous open-world area (one of a few in the game), my interest was piqued.
It’s a nice-looking game on PC, that even runs at a swift pace on a modest i7-13650HX/RTX4060 laptop. Epic vistas with lush greenery and vast desert are scattered with ruined structures suggesting a once thriving civilisation fell centuries ago. It’s amongst these ruins that the game’s seemingly post-apocalyptic medieval society lives. This design aesthetic immediately reminded me of the surreal ruined landscapes of Dark Souls and Elden Ring.
Atlas Fallen has an epic feel about it. It has little in common with Deck13’s 2014 “Soulslike” Lords of the Fallen but does carry some of the DNA of the studio’s 2017 futuristic RPG, The Surge in the game’s combat system.
Unlocking combat abilities and attacks, via gauntlet upgrades, is the main reward in the game as your character grows in power. The combat is fairly easy to pick up consisting of two types of attack, parry and dodge. Enemies can be targeted, with some enemies having multiple body parts that can be individually targeted a la The Surge. The fast-paced combat builds momentum that can be used to unleash damaging special attacks.
The character’s ability improvements not only create advantages in combat, but also make it easier to traverse the landscape. Higher jumps and longer aerial dashes allow for frantic aerial combat and huge leaps to high ridges and across ravines.
Raising hidden anvils from the ground unlocks the ability to upgrade equipment, replenish health and save the game. You can also fast travel between anvils.
The game features a rather peculiar method of transportation across the landscape by having your character sliding across the sand. It looks very odd. I wonder if the original intent was to have some mountable beast to ride, but they ran out of time or something. Still, it does the job.
Progression is gate-kept by having to continuously find “hidden shards”. There are other side quests, but the main quest line (which will have multiple open quests in your list) often reaches this annoying bottleneck. But you are never left without anything to do. There are always enemies to fight and places to explore.
There are NPCs dotted around with information and side-quests on offer. There are also chests and collectables to advance your character’s abilities. Adding collected components to your gauntlet allows for a customised character build that can be tuned to your play style.
The game also has an online co-op feature allowing friends to join you on your quest. The entire campaign can be played two-player. Unfortunately, there’s no matchmaking instead you need to either invite someone from your friends list, provide a uniquely generated code to your friend, or supply them with your IP address. There’s no playing with randoms, which is a shame, especially when up against some of the trickier enemies.
Despite having an off-brand Final Fantasy feel about it, Atlas Fallen is actually a lot of fun. The combat and interesting environments prop up a forgettable story. Your unnamed character’s increasing abilities keep the game engaging. The slow start unfolds into a competent action RPG let down by a rather flat plot. The combat and interesting environments, however, more than prop up the forgettable story. If you are into fast-paced combat in an interesting open-world environment, Atlas Fallen’s thirty or so hours of campaign gameplay will likely entertain you.