A powerful, captivating intro can make or break a game. The opening of the new FPS RPG Atomic Heart is one of the best in recent memory, introducing you to an unforgettable world while punching you in the gut with unrelenting action and tension. It feels equally refreshing and familiar, with a looming sense of dread throughout that pushes you to keep playing. Having a strong opening is often hard to pull off, but the first hour of Atomic Heart makes us optimistic about the remainder of the game.
It’s a Vibe
These opening segments immediately introduce you to wild, believable worlds that grab your attention in smart ways. The same rings true for Atomic Heart, which takes place in a dystopian alternate 1955 Soviet city.
Atomic Heart does an incredible job roping you in right away, thanks to its captivating setting that pulls from familiar FPS games like Half-Life and Fallout while standing on its own as well.
Almost immediately, you can tell Atomic Heart developer Mundfish did its homework when researching and designing Facility 3826. It nails the alternate dystopian vibe while adding futuristic elements that give it a distinct look and feel.
The city of Facility 3826 is bright and vibrant, full of eye-catching colors, making it feel suspiciously cheerful. Sure, it looks gorgeous, but the tone and vibrance are almost too inviting. What’s the catch?
All around are balloons and oddly friendly robots who seem to serve the humans. The game immediately begins with protagonist Major P-3 aboard a tiny boat in a canal, allowing the player to take in the sights and sounds at a slow pace. This allows you to get gradually acquainted with the world while also dropping your guard.
And then, of course, it all hits the fan. Things quickly get out of hand after P-3’s short-lived city tour aboard a flying car (yes, you read that correctly). This segment is absurd, serving as the last moment of peace before things go awry. Seeing the city in all its vastness from the sky is awe-inspiring, but then … the game pulls the rug from under you.
Without spoiling too much, suffice to say the events that transpire are explosive and action-packed. This is when the game introduces you to its combat, pitting you against creepy robots before you come across another human character (finally) who ends up saving your life.
This character is an old lady who wields an assault rifle, which is just as ridiculous as it sounds. The game does an impressive job with scale during this segment, while throwing in some humor to lighten the mood — all as you’re fighting for your life. As the old lady defends you from an absolutely horrifying enemy, you take refuge in an underground complex — leading into the first main portion of the game.
Everything leading up to this point is shrouded with mystery and intrigue, and is just flat-out fun, thanks to the bombardment of ridiculous things the game throws at you.
While it’s unknown if the rest of the game will hold up compared to the intro, the first hour or so sets the bar high, leaving us excited for what’s to come.