Atlas Fallen Review - by Jordan Andow

Atlas Fallen Review – Fun Like A Beach, Dry Like A Desert

Atlas Fallen is the latest game from Deck13, the studio behind action RPGs like Lords of the Fallen (2014) and The Surge 1 and 2. It’s a new game that the developer has claimed is NOT a Soulslike. But does Atlas Fallen set itself apart from the past, or is it held back by the sands of time?

Game Name: Atlas Fallen
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed), PC
Publisher(s): Focus Entertainment
Developer(s): Deck13 Interactive
Release Date: August 10th, 2023

Interesting Premise, Nothing More.

Atlas Fallen tells a story of this desolate fantasy world named Atlas, under the control of the merciless God, Thelos, who is forcing people to mine essence, the life force of this world, which is slowly killing the world in the process. This is something that starts years before the beginning of the game, something that is explained through this hand-drawn art-style cutscene when you first start.

Of course, the story really is about the player who plays an unnamed who, as far as I can tell, are essentially slaves in the world of Atlas. As you find this magical gauntlet, this gauntlet is inhabited by someone named Nyaal, who doesn’t remember who they are when your adventure begins. I wish I could tell you more about the story, but unfortunately, it was the least interesting aspect of the whole experience. While the premise of the world was interesting, throughout the story, I found myself asking… but why?

The reasoning and motivation of the player character are never really given context. One example is one of the main character’s friends, called Tracker, whom I am meant to care about, but the game gives me no real reason or context as to why I should care. Unfortunately, this led to me being deeply unengaged in the story, and that’s before I even addressed the presentation issues.

Atlas Fallen screenshot-01

Stuck In The Past

The presentation of Atlas Fallen is deeply flawed and outdated. Firstly, the voice acting is just odd. It’s not that the game’s dialogue is poorly written, but the voice acting just comes across as disjointed, with no chemistry between characters. Almost like they recorded lines without any context for the rest of the interactions they were having. Some characters also have voices that don’t suit who they are meant to be. Audio throughout Atlas also suffers because of bugs, sometimes audio would completely cut out for a cutscene, or combat music would play for no reason.

The visuals aren’t perfect either, feeling largely stuck in the past. Don’t get me wrong, environments look decent enough when they aren’t suffering from terrible pop-in. The problem is that for a next-gen-only title, this game looks like it was made over a decade ago. Characters remind me of those early Assassin’s Creed games, with their dead eyes; it’s very unsettling. Characters don’t escape technical issues either, with clothes often loading very slowly during cutscenes.

I have been assured that many of these presentation issues will be patched by the time you play the game, so hopefully, you’ll have a somewhat better experience. Unfortunately, a patch can’t fix outdated visuals that, at times, looked so bad it broke my immersion.

Fun and Engaging

With all that in mind, you may be asking yourself, why did you keep playing Atlas Fallen? Well, here is why… the gameplay. In Atlas Fallen, the gameplay has three core pillars, combat, upgrading, and traversal. All of which I found to be lots of fun, especially since almost the entire game outside of the first ten minutes or so can be played in almost fully untethered co-op with a friend. This is how I played most of the game and how I’d recommend playing it if you can.

Let’s talk about combat first. This being an action RPG, things start simple, and when you get the gauntlet, you’ll have access to one weapon called the Dunecleaver, and you’ll attack with a basic attack and dodge using X and RB on Xbox, respectively. As you progress, your gauntlet will become more powerful unlocking two more weapons, the Sandwhip and the Knuckledust. Unfortunately, you can only have two of the three weapons equipped at a time, one on X and one on Y. I ended up going with the Knuckledust, powerful hulk-like fists made of sand, great for close-up damage, and the Sandwhip as my secondary. I enjoyed this combination since the Sandwhip would allow you to pull yourself closer to an enemy by holding whichever button you have it attached to.

Atlas Fallen - Coop Action

This became more accurate when using the lock-on with a click of the right stick. Unfortunately, as of right now, the lock-on is a bit bugged and doesn’t always work. Not to mention that depending on the enemy (wraith) you are facing, locking on can actually cause significant camera issues. I couldn’t see myself multiple times and had a massive crab claw take up my whole screen while locked on.

Momentum Based Combat

Where combat becomes most interesting and unique is in the momentum system, which is a risk-reward system in many ways. The more momentum you have, the more damage you can dish out through special attacks, but you also take more damage. All of which makes combat this constant chess game in the best way. You have three tiers of momentum, each of which can be equipped with a core ability, an ability you activate with the left trigger, and one of the face buttons. Usually, these abilities are special attacks or defensive abilities. They can also be abilities to help build more momentum or heal you during combat. Each tier also has space for a number of passive abilities which can combine nicely with core abilities to make them even stronger.

Upgrading Has Its Merits

The Gauntlet you possess has several slots that can be upgraded at anvils found around the world and using the material, essence, which you earn through completing quests and fighting enemies. Of course, you can also upgrade the abilities themselves and make them more powerful, but this requires additional materials, not just essence. I’d suggest waiting till you find one you really like, though, since there are over one hundred abilities known as essence stones in the game. You can find them in many different ways, from taking down watchtowers to clearing the world map, defeating elite enemies, or even in random treasure chests.

Atlas Fallen - Upgrading Attacks

Outside of the gauntlet, you can also upgrade different armour sets that you unlock throughout the game. You get many armour sets, each with different stats and sometimes having special buffs based on which essence stones you have equipped for your gauntlet. I’d recommend upgrading as many armour sets as possible because each time you do, you’ll gain a perk point. Separate from your gauntlet momentum abilities, these are character passives, such as gaining more resources which can be extremely helpful. Many perks have multiple levels, so the more points you earn, the better they can get.


The third pillar is traversal, which is also powered by the magical gauntlet. You can slide on the sand, which feels like ice-skating anywhere that there is sand, in the multiple open areas you’ll explore. You’ll get a double jump and a triple air dash as you progress. These three things combine to make moving around the world of Atlas a blast and extremely fast. You are even put to the test with line puzzles that challenge your traversal skills but reward you with a treasure chest. It’s great and made me not really want to use fast travel unless absolutely necessary. I just wish a bit more was done with this traversal system; where’s the racing circuit!?

There’s a missed opportunity here, given that the game has co-op gameplay, and we could get racing against each other in official racing circuits. We’ve seen other games do it, I don’t see why Deck13 didn’t think about adding this. Maybe a patch if enough people complain or suggest this feature to be added.

Technical Performance

I mentioned throughout the review various bugs and issues I’ve had during my playthrough on Series X. Most of these bugs are of the visual and audio variety, the devs are aware of these and aiming to patch them ASAP. Outside of bugs, I’m pleased to say frame rates were very stable in my experience in quality mode, which in all but one scene was locked to 30fps.


Atlas Fallen screenshot-07

Atlas Fallen is an enjoyable action game with more in-depth RPG goodness than the recent Final Fantasy XVI. Being able to play the entire game in untethered co-op with a friend made it a great time. Unfortunately, the story being so uninteresting and the outdated presentation combined with lots of bugs, leave this fun moment-to-moment gameplay experience hard to recommend to everyone. At this moment in time, I would only recommend this game to those that are looking for something fun to play in co-op.

Review Disclosure Statement: A copy of Atlas Fallen was provided to the writer for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.

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Atlas Fallen Review - Fun Like A Beach, Dry Like A Desert!


Atlas Fallen is an enjoyable action game. Unfortunately, the story being so uninteresting and the outdated presentation combined with lots of bugs, leave this fun moment-to-moment gameplay experience hard to recommend to everyone. At this moment in time, I would only recommend this game to those that are looking for something fun to play in co-op.


  • Fun Combat
  • Good RPG Systems
  • Great Co-op
  • Traversal Fast and Enjoyable


  • Visually Outdated
  • Audio Bugs
  • Terrible Pop-in
  • Lack of Context and Important Moments in the Story
  • Atlas Fallen Review - Fun Like A Beach, Dry Like A Desert!