‘Atomic Heart’ preview offers futuristic solo adventure

A myriad of hostile robots and ravenous zombies lurk in a sprawling underground complex defending a mystery shrouded in death in “Atomic Heart.”

A new developer with only one unfinished game under its belt, Mundfish, has released a breathtaking gameplay trailer for an original first-person action roleplaying game for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

“Atomic Heart” takes place in an alternate reality in which the Soviet Union never collapsed and scientific progress there seems void of ethics or limits. Evoking the same curiosity and uneasiness in gamers as “Bioshock,” the setting alone tells a story of catastrophe shrouded in a mystery that will keep gamers pressing forward through adversity.

Players take the role of a KGB officer sent to investigate what has gone wrong at Soviet research facility 3826. Facility 3826 features an above-ground area with houses and lush wilderness, while it grips its darkest secrets underground. Gameplay suggests that the facility conducted biological and neurological experiments while also being heavily involved in robotics. A huge variety of robots in all shapes and sizes paired with zombies seen in the underground areas of the facility indicate a need to adapt to different situations.

The gameplay of “Atomic Heart” differs from Mundfish’s previous title in many ways, though details and awareness for their new title are scarce. “Soviet Lunapark VR,” their unfinished project, is comprised of portions of the same setting and seems to be a precursor to “Atomic Heart.” Both games have impressive visuals provided by the Unreal Engine 4 game engine they are made with.

The virtual reality element of the previous game suggests Mundfish may offer virtual reality as an optional way to experience “Atomic Heart.” Even if virtual reality is supported, “Atomic Heart” is guaranteed to still feel different from “Soviet Lunapark VR,” due to pacing and gameplay mechanics. The previous game’s constant barrage of enemies and mass amounts of ammo differ from “Atomic Heart,” as survival is a much more strategic affair. Unfortunately for gamers planning on buying, or who have already bought “Soviet Lunapark VR,” updates and sales have been cancelled, as Mundfish is focusing its whole team on “Atomic Heart.”

Instead of an arcade shooter where conflict is always welcome, the first thing the player does in the gameplay footage is avoid four patrolling robots. Observant gamers will notice the player only has 12 rounds in their pistol, with none in reserve. The player doesn’t often find more ammunition and soon finds a melee weapon, suggesting that avoiding enemies whenever possible and using melee weapons at short distances is essential. The damage output of enemies is very punishing, and robots are durable, but the player is seen to be able to block with a melee weapon, dodge attacks with a side-step, or backpedal while an enemy prepares to attack.

No items the player picks up have been shown to restore health. However, cigarettes and condensed milk are consumable items that likely serve this purpose. Two pistols, a shotgun, and five melee weapons have been confirmed, while “Soviet Lunapark VR” weapons are liable to make an appearance as well.

Weapon customization and upgrading have also been confirmed, but armor and clothing options have not. “Atomic Heart” is much more focused on single-player rather than cooperative play than its predecessor, but Mundfish’s website does mention player-versus-player combat.

The gameplay does not feature the player picking up any documents or finding any human characters that can flesh out the story with dialogue. The player character, based on an insignia on his gloves, is believed to be named P3, and is shown to make remarks during combat and when looking at enemies through binoculars. P3, if that’s his name, speaks in Russian, and with the in-game text being in English, it isn’t yet clear if dialogue plays enough of a role in the game to justify translating his lines, even in the final product.

“Atomic Heart” is currently in full production, and the gameplay is so polished a release date is expected to be announced within the year. Gamers have responded well to release dates close to release date announcements, and it’s likely gamers will have “Atomic Heart” downloaded onto their hard drives early next year.

Those excited for “Atomic Heart” can follow Mundfish on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or periodically check their website.

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