Atlas Fallen Review

Richard Walker

Atlas Fallen is an increasingly rare thing – a mid-tier game with grand ambitions; slightly janky, a little short on polish, but not entirely lacking in the gameplay stakes. The setup is simple. You play as a member of the 'Unnamed' – a slave destined to serve well-to-do masters – whose fortunes shift dramatically upon discovering a mysterious gauntlet. Hence forth, you come to be known as the Gauntlet Bearer, wielding powers that enable you to vanquish creatures known as 'wraiths' roaming the land of Atlas.

It's behind you!

Developer Deck13 (of Lords of the Fallen and The Surge fame) throw an awful lot of lore at the wall to see what sticks, with ancient warring gods, a colossal stone head looming in the sky, called 'The Watcher', and feuding factions seeking to prove their fealty to either Thelos or Nyaal, the latter of whom's spirit follows you throughout the game. There are numerous systems at work, too, with your custom character wielding a shapeshifting weapon that grows larger and more powerful as the blue momentum bar builds during battle, and able to slot several Essence Stones into the gauntlet to grant various buffs, perks, and additional abilities.

It can feel like rather a lot to take in initially, but eventually, every element comes into its own, making for a nice, cohesive experience. Nothing here is really surplus to requirements, and there's a certain degree of gratification to be had from creating an ideal build as your pool of Essence Stones (there are 151 of them in total) gradually increases. You can also save three character build presets, if you like, so you can chop and change as you see fit, and with various armour to don and level up, and all those Essence Stones to experiment with, there’s no shortage of options.

Combat and traversal in Atlas Fallen prove to be a joy, too, the former offering a nice rhythm as you take on monstrous wraiths, with the ability to dodge roll and parry helping to keep things interesting. Successful parries using your 'sandskin' ability can also freeze enemies, allowing you to then 'shatter' them, dealing significant damage. This is one of many neat wrinkles to Atlas Fallen's combat mechanics, with the gauntlet's axe, whip, and punching fist weapons also enabling you to mix things up a bit. You can dash into the air and slam the ground, use your whip to tether to enemies and reel yourself in, and unleash various Essence Stone skills on a cooldown timer to help turn the tide.


While it's fun to zip around the sand-covered expanses of Atlas, carving through the dunes with a satisfyingly sandy swish, Deck13 has seemingly put little thought into the game's quests, which invariably involve fetching and delivering some doodad, or talking to one NPC, then to another, and perhaps another, then going off somewhere. As far as quest design goes, you can file Atlas Fallen under 'uninspired', although a touch of metroidvania makes for slightly more interesting exploration, as you find more pieces and shards to enhance the gauntlet. This can be done at an anvil (Atlas Fallen's rest points where you can upgrade your armour, unlock perks, enhance the gauntlet, or use fast travel).

As you add bits to the gauntlet at an anvil, you'll be able to raise large buried objects, 'crush' specific doors and treasure chests to open them, and conjure glowing platforms at certain points. There's a lot to Atlas Fallen, then, but it's all a little hit and miss. Combat is, for the most part, enjoyable, yet it has the capacity to frustrate at times, with bosses surrounded by irritating minions, or compounded by the occasional difficulty spike. Thankfully, you can always knock the difficulty level down to the Easy 'Story' level if things prove too overwhelming. Conversely, if you're finding it all a breeze, there's a Normal or Hard mode you can opt for.

My, what big teeth you have.

Atlas Fallen might be a little rough around the edges, but its non-seamless open world – divided into several self-contained maps – is fairly interesting, steeped in gobbledegook fantasy lore and dotted with myriad points of interest and secrets to unearth. Its combat, too, is quite accomplished, if a mite flawed (an errant camera can sometimes make encounters a chore), and traversal becomes increasingly fun as you earn new upgrades, like the ability to double jump and dash through the air three times. There's a lot to like about Atlas Fallen, although pop-in, flickering, and shabby character models let the side down somewhat from a visual standpoint, and the lacklustre quest design is sorely lacking in variety. Yet, if it's straight-up mid-tier fantasy action you seek, you could do a lot worse than Atlas Fallen.

Atlas Fallen

A little short on polish it might be, but there's no doubting Atlas Fallen's credentials as a decent slice of good (but not great) open-world fantasy action.

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Perfectly serviceable. The soundtrack is somewhat unremarkable, but frames the action nicely, and the voice work is fine. The swishing sound as you surf through the sand is nice, too.


As a new-gen only game, Atlas Fallen doesn't look all that impressive. Its expansive maps have some lovely vistas to admire, but character models are inconsistent. Some look good, others look thrown together. A bit patchy overall.


Deck13 has done a fine job in creating a compelling and intuitive combat system, while the gauntlet, Essence Stones and your shapeshifting weapons help mix things up. Traversal is also good fun, making exploration a little more engaging.


Quite literally a sprawling sandbox filled to the brim with side quests and secrets, there's plenty of content here. However, the presentation is rather shoddy, exemplified in the array of spelling errors in the game's subtitles. Quest variety is also lacking, but two-player co-op is a neat addition.


A solid list with a good spread. Not exactly the most inspired set of tasks, this is nonetheless a nicely thought out bunch of trophies that doesn't lean too heavily on grinding.

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