Bad movement ruins this violent, bloody action game.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Atomic Heart is a first-person sci-fi adventure game for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Using guns, axes, and electricity, players destroy a lot of robots as well as mutant plants and humans -- and when the latter are the target, there's a lot of blood, gore, decapitations, and dismemberment. Numerous human bodies are left lying around and strung up, as are body parts, while the floor and walls are sometimes smeared with blood. Some women are shown wearing really small, bikini-like underwear. A machine designed to dispense weapons, ammo, and upgrades makes a lot of inappropriate comments that would constitute sexual harassment in a workplace. The player also says "skip the foreplay," while the dialogue is rife with curse words, including "s--t," "a--hole," "f--k," "hell," "bitch," "damn," and variations on each term. The player smokes a cigarette and makes a comment about having "what that guy's smokin'." There are verbal references to self-harm as well.
Its a good game
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A flawed but very solid and unique game
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What’s It About?
In ATOMIC HEART, Russia used robots to win the Second World War, and years later, you get to enjoy the benefits of their technologically advanced society ... until a terrorist hacks the system and turns the formerly helpful 'bots into human hunters. Armed with guns, melee weapons, electricity, and a sentient glove that has Jedi-like abilities, you have to infiltrate the facility where the bad guy is supposedly located so that you can stop the war of the machines. Just be prepared to solve a lot of puzzling problems as you progress from one fight to the next.
Is It Any Good?
While it has a lot of potential, a rather simple mistake makes this first-person sci-fi adventure game rather irritating. In Atomic Heart, it's been years since Russia used robots to win World War II, and now a terrorist hacker is using those robots to kill all humans. That's why you use guns, axes, and electricity to destroy all robots -- as well some mutated humans and plants -- while searching for the bad guy who set this in motion. You also have a sentient AI glove, which not only feeds you helpful information, but also has some technical skills, like shooting electrical bolts from your hands and moving heavy objects. The latter is especially handy since, while moving from fight to fight, you have to solve situational puzzles to unlock new areas of exploration.
While this sounds like a fun and rather BioShock-y way to spend a couple hours, the experience is undermined by how your basic movement feels jerky and stifled, like you stepped in some industrial adhesive, and now one foot is constantly getting stuck. Even if this is fixed, the game still has issues, like how you're sexually harassed by a sentient vending machine, and your voice sounds like it was supposed to be replaced by a professional voice actor's, but it wasn't. Then there's how, because of the way the buttons are laid out, you'll often accidentally crouch when a battle gets frantic, which also causes you to move slower. It's also weird that, despite being a KGB agent, you don't remember to reload your gun, and when told to, you sometimes use a health pack instead. Then there's the long and boring cutscenes, the tiny text, the awkward menus, and how your glove is smart enough to carry on a conversation, but not smart enough to unlock the elaborate door locks -- and why are the locks in this scientific facility set up like puzzles anyway? Because of these errors -- but mostly the awkward movement -- Atomic Heart ends up wasting the opportunity to be something unique.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Atomic Heart affected by the fact that you're mainly fighting robots or mutants? Do you feel different when you destroy a robot compared to when you kill a person? Why do you think that is?
Atomic Heart was made by a studio in Russia. Do you think it's fair that some people don't want to play the game because of the war in Ukraine? Should we consider the artist when considering the art? Have you ever stopped listening to a musician or watching a show or movie because the people involved did something you thought was wrong?
- Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($69.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Focus Entertainment
- Release date: February 21, 2023
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Nudity
- Last updated: February 21, 2023
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