Atlas Fallen video game releases

Review: Atlas Fallen

After several delays, Atlas Fallen from Deck13 is finally here, and while it does several fascinating things, it also feels like a relic of the past. That isn’t a jab, the literal weapon you’ll be using is precisely that, and it comes with some fantastical powers that’ll make you feel like you can make change happen. In a year with some of the biggest triple-A titles, Atlas Fallen sits comfortably at the top of the AA market thanks to the studio’s output, including The Surge titles and Lords of the Fallen.

Unlike anything we’ve seen until now, Atlas Fallen is an outlier title thanks to its sandy dune-inspired world. And surprisingly, the setting works well as the developers figured out a way to make the desert feel alive. However, the same can’t be said for the middling characters.

Like Sand, Atlas Fallen Is Coarse And Rough


You start out creating your character, aptly known as the Unnamed. Your character is treated like dirt and left to serve an oppressive general who works for the benevolent sun god Thelos and his supernatural lackeys, the Wraiths, who fill the sky with their presence.

The primary campaign guides you to find and gather allies and resources to confront Thelos to stop his plans for the world of Atlas. Meanwhile, you also try to free Nyaal from prison and restore his powers. Thelos, the sole remaining powerful god, demands all essence in Atlas as a tribute for his evolution. Nyaal, before his imprisonment, allocated the spirit to humans so that there would be greater equality among all. With this, the campaign and the game’s structure are based on using this resource to evolve the story and the player.

Despite an exciting plot when we go deeper into the creation of Atlas, and here is the warning of being one of the most exciting parts of the game, the narrative is straightforward and uninspired. The evolution of the story is stuck, at least five times, in a process already beaten of always needing something that is not available at the moment. Apart from Nyaal, other secondary characters come up with their own stories, and it’s revealed how shallow each character is, without proper development or each character being stuck only to a handful of side missions without payoff.


The world of Atlas is the biggest attraction, filled with sometimes stunning vistas and landscapes. The ruins you’ll encounter are veiled by sand. Activities in Fallen Atlas are limited to gathering resources, eliminating monsters, searching for chests, and going after landmarks marked on the map for additional items.

With four significant zones you’ll explore, each one filled with things to do and to see, you’ll likely always have something to do. However, not many of these events are worth doing, and as I mentioned previously, don’t allow the characters you’ll meet to flourish. Instead, you’re simply moving through the narrative to gain access to new mechanics. The four zones, like the Wildlands and the Bastengar Stronghold, are some of the more memorable places you’ll go, but thankfully, many areas in the world offer beautiful visuals.


As such, the world is beautiful but filled with many fetch quests games can’t seem to figure out, filling me with a sense of dread. I hate fetch quests as much as tailing missions, and somehow, this is just the default mission type that many developers seem to think will work. Instead, I’m the first to admit that after the first couple, I refuse to do the rest of them. Many rewards you’ll gain help restore the Gauntlet to its former glory, but following the main story unlocks enough to get by. It’s almost like the first half of Atlas Fallen is a slog, and it takes some time to finally build up plot points I actively wanted to engage with. Once you connect the dots between the main characters, the plot makes sense and explains it well.


It’s A Gauntlet

You’ll be able to wield three weapons, use speed and agility to face off against the most unwieldy enemies and unleash combos that flow together thanks to the Gauntlet. As you fight, your weapons grow and build Momentum for devastating results. You’ll have access to weapons, including the Dunecleaver, the Sandwhip, and the Knuckledust. Each armament has combos and upgrades you can work with, but you can only select two weapons at a time. The Dunecleaver hits hard and handles crowds, the Sandwhip strikes fast, and the Knuckledust is an all arounder that does a bit of everything. You’ll also need to gather Shards and Catalyzer Pieces to reforge the Gauntlet found worldwide.


With 151 Essence Stones found around Atlas with varying abilities and effects, you can play aggressively or defensively with shields, debuffs and healing abilities. You’ll use various skills to face the Wraiths and adapt to fight across different environments. These stones are effectively tied into cooldowns and the passive skills you’ll gain through the 25-hour campaign. Some might allow you to earn bonus strength or damage, while others add additional Momentum or special attack that slow time down or add AoE attacks. The more Momentum you build, the more of your Essence Stones you can tap into, so learning how properly balance your build is one of the earlier suggestions I have to keep going. Later, you can experiment with trading off higher damage for less defensive capabilities.

The more Essence Stones you gain, the more you can dive into the meat of combat. There are so many combinations to choose from, and eventually fuse to grant even stronger Essence Stones, effectively changing the flow of action.


My biggest issue with the combat was having to unlearn everything I picked up playing Final Fantasy 16. I struggled because I approached battle the way I did while working through Square Enix’s latest entry. However, once I flipped the switch and learned the mechanics, I had a far better time against enemies. At first, there’s not much you can do against them, and it takes some time even to unlock the meat of the battle system. Once you do, though, it comes together despite being a bit messy. Learning when to parry and dodge is critical to surviving the dunes, and if you time them right, your opponents can be in place thanks to the power of the Gauntlet. Eventually, you’ll learn to tie the Essence Stones together and unleash hell upon your enemies.



Atlas Fallen has a lot going for it, with a beautiful world filled with things to do. Its narrative and characters have some issues, but the combat and freedom offered within its world are excellent. Deck13’s decision to try something outside of its same song and dance is a step in the right direction despite having the familiar Eurojank a game of this calibre usually has. Despite everything, there’s a worthwhile game here, but it certainly feels like a game from an older generation.


[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Atlas Fallen has a lot going for it, with a beautiful world filled with things to do. Its narrative and characters have some issues, but the combat and freedom offered within its world are excellent.
The world is beautiful
Combat has a lot of potential
Didn't Like
The writing and characters are forgettable
Combat can be messy