Surreal Soviet-era shooter Atomic Heart shows off ten minutes of gameplay •


Developer Mundfish has shared ten minutes of its upcoming, wonderfully atmospheric Soviet-era shooter Atomic Heart, which is due to release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC at some currently unspecified future point.

Atomic Heart first unfurled early last year, making its debut in one hell of an arresting trailer. It offered just under two-minutes of concentrated weirdness, awash in Soviet-era ambience.

Since then, a few additional glimpses of Atomic Heart have been seen here and there, with Mundfish most recently showing off a small slice of its alternate-history action RPG during an nVidia RTX showcase. Now, however, the developer has offered the most significant look at the game yet, with ten-minutes of gameplay footage.

The first few minutes see our protagonist, a Soviet KGB officer sent to investigate the mysterious underground facility 3826, wandering around the picturesque countryside – which forms but a small part of Atomic Heart’s multi-region, multi-biome map. There’s rich foliage, winding waterways, and the occasional pocket of rural civilisation, but it’s quivering geometry and wonderfully distinct automaton patrols that standout in the otherwise familiar world.

Things get notably weirder once the player recovers from a scripted sequence, waking up in the bowels of facility 3826. Here, in amongst the striking art deco surroundings, corpses float across ceilings, gore and gristle smear the floors, and discordant music blares out from a nearby gramophone. “What if,” you might well ask yourself, “Andrew Ryan, but communism?”.

Soon, a skirmish breaks out as the player is forced into some hefty melee combat with an extremely acrobatic robot. According to Mundfish’s website, this is just one part of Atomic Heart’s combat focus, and the game will feature opportunities for both PvE and PvP play. “Combat in ordinary (non-PVP) regions encourages the use of melee weaponry,” it says, “while in PVP areas we give players more freedom and don’t limit the use of the firearms”.

The real star of the new video, however, as you’d probably expect given last year’s striking trailer, is the world design, which maintains its whole ‘Soviet-era theme park gone terrible awry’ ambience admirably. It really is quite something.

There’s no set date for Atomic Heart’s PC, Xbox One, and PS4 release just yet, but some sort of beta access is planned for “Q4 2019”. I’m crossing as many appendages as possible in the hope that this one lives up to its promise.

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