An Action Adventure Game of Yesteryear

You could know German developer Deck13 greatest for its 2014 Soulslike Lords of the Fallen and its non secular successors The Surge and The Surge 2. Its video games have, over the past decade or so, steadily improved and put their very own spin on the inspiration that Darkish Souls laid for thus many video games that we play right this moment. It’s shocking then that its newest effort, Atlas Fallen, does away with Soulslike staples to make for a way more typical — and sand-filled — motion expertise. In preview, it jogged my memory of video games I performed a decade and a half in the past, and it left me questioning if Atlas Fallen is a continued enchancment or a step again.

The demo construct began somewhat methods into the sport with a useful tutorial video to get me in control with fight. The protagonist wielded a robust gauntlet with two weapons saved inside it: a hammer and a whip-like sword. Every had a easy combo, and holding down the assigned button produced a smash assault or a maneuver to rapidly shut the space on an enemy. With a dodge and a parry transfer known as Sandskin that may freeze enemies if timed proper, all of it appeared typical, but a mechanic known as Ascending combined issues up a bit by powering up both weapon, marked by a gauge on the backside of the display screen. Because the gauge reached a brand new threshold, the essential combos modified and have become extra highly effective; nonetheless, the gauntlet-clad hero took extra injury as properly.

With the crash course on fight out of the best way, I took management of this hero (who seems to be customizable within the full recreation) after he had somewhat discuss with a spirit known as Nyaal that lives inside his gauntlet. Nyaal taught me the best way to use it to boost buildings out of the bottom — a mechanic that later aided in leaping puzzles — after which I used to be off battling sandy monsters known as wraiths inside an arid cave.

Atlas Fallen preview hands-on: The Surge developer Deck13 has created an action adventure game with promise, but its demo feels a bit dated.

My time enjoying motion journey video games like Darksiders and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning ready me for this primary check struggle. Smashing with the hammer and holding down buttons to latch onto enemies got here naturally; the Sandskin parry timing was forgiving, and though one of many sandy-dog monsters obtained caught within the cave’s geometry, I discovered this preliminary style of fight promising.

Out of fight, wherever that there was sand I may glide, as if my protagonist had hopped on an invisible snowboard. Though, if I hit rock or grass or what have you ever, I may solely run like a non-magical-gauntlet-owning peasant. Traversal was by far my favourite a part of Atlas Fallen in preview. From right here, I started to have issues.

After the introductory cave, the sport opened as much as an enormous space. Interspersed among the many swathes of sand have been ruined retains and patches of forest that begged to be explored. Large ravines impeded progress, and bridges had been blown out by one thing known as “The Watcher.” Nonetheless, that was okay as a result of Nyaal taught me the best way to air-dash (and subsequently about aerial fight), permitting me to achieve somewhat village stuffed with problem-ridden individuals with some atrocious voice appearing. Critically, it’s so dangerous it’s good. These villagers requested me to go to a spot and kill these wraiths, or rescue different townsfolk over there. Elsewhere, I used to be requested to interrupt down a statue of a god they don’t like. I additionally may observe a large elk to disclose some hidden treasure — none of those diversions stood out, however none have been egregious fetch quests, both.

Atlas Fallen preview hands-on: The Surge developer Deck13 has created an action adventure game with promise, but its demo feels a bit dated.

An issue arose from the primary mission to seek out shards to energy up my gauntlet additional, leading to sand-sliding to at least one location or one other for a struggle with some wraiths earlier than rinsing and repeating. Aside from some easy platforming, there have been no sprawling dungeons to discover or puzzles to unravel, solely extra granular foes. Tougher wraiths required me to interrupt off elements of their physique to defeat them, however by the point I discovered the three shards required to improve my gauntlet, I started to recollect why the style shifted away from this type of play to both extra methodical Soulslike fight or adrenaline-fueled hacking and slashing.

Even with Essence Stones to uncover — upgrades that give passive bonuses and new assaults with cooldowns based mostly on the Ascension gauge degree — Atlas Fallen felt dated and clunky. I’ve spent the final week having fun with the fine-tuned fight of Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty, so perhaps that had one thing to do with Atlas Fallen coming off as nearly archaic in preview. Granted, the demo lasted solely about 80 minutes, so the fight would possibly blossom into one thing way more cathartic a number of extra hours in. I hope it does. Nonetheless, after I cleared the demo’s boss, for a second I feared I must go choose up extra gauntlet items by slaying much more sandy enemies. I skilled aid when the display screen pale to black as a substitute.

A sizzle reel of large foes to greatest, co-op gameplay, and extra leaping puzzles concluded my quick time with Atlas Fallen, and what I didn’t expertise regarded nice. If the core fight can increase into one thing satisfying and enjoying with a good friend works seamlessly, Atlas Fallen would possibly make for an additional notch on Deck13’s steadily bettering belt — regardless of dumping Soulslike mechanics as one pours sand out of a boot. Or it would make for an additional effort that neglects to carve a distinct segment for itself outdoors of feeling considerably dated. Regardless, we’ll discover out when Atlas Fallen releases on Might 16 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Collection X | S, and PC.

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