ATOM RPG Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:TBA
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

On the plus side, the early parts of the game are fairly stingy with ammo, so if you're planning on playing a sniper-type character, you may find yourself counting bullets and constantly being on the lookout for more. I found that to be extremely enjoyable. All the other resources are a bit too plentiful, however. The game has separate meters for radiation, toxicity and hunger, but before long you'll find yourself swimming in antidotes, radiation resistance pills and food. And since you can use food to heal, staying healthy shouldn't be a problem either. Going back to my point of thematic inconsistency, finding what should be rare and valuable resources wherever you go doesn't really make sense in a game about surviving in a nuclear wasteland.

Oftentimes the only thing reminding you about the supposed scarcity of resources are all the rusty weapons you find along the way, but in a roundabout way, these early weapons do more harm to the game than good. See, during the opening sections you'll mostly be seeing the same several guns over and over again, and then when you make a bit of progress, you'll be seeing the same guns but this time in decent condition. Which can make you feel like the game's weapon variety is lacking when in fact this is not the case. Explore enough and you'll discover plenty of cool and unique weapons like experimental gun prototypes, silenced rifles, and even one grisly chainsaw. On top of that, the game features a crafting system that allows you to put together a lot of unique guns, not to mention various bombs, armors and utility items.

I also didn't really like that only the main hub city had a dedicated arms dealer. As a result, most of your guns you either find in predetermined locations while exploring, loot after combat, or get a lucky spawn when trading with a passing caravan. And trust me, you'll be doing plenty of that. ATOM RPG has a barter system similar to Fallout, but the best stores essentially deal in currency only, which makes random caravan encounters the best place to unload your loot. The game even has an ability that makes those encounters more frequent.

But don't worry, you'll get plenty of opportunities to stumble onto caravans thanks to what I consider ATOM RPG's biggest issue - overworld travel. The speed at which you move between locations on the overworld map is absolutely miserable and due to the game's quest design, you'll be doing a lot of back and forth between its settlements. And while at some point you can find a car, the game splits its world between four different maps. The kicker is - you can only drive on the starting one. You add frequent random encounters into the mix, and you get yourself a recipe for frustration.

Technical Information

By the time I got to the game, it was in a good place performance-wise. It ran well, saved almost instantly, its larger areas were quick to load despite the Unity engine, and it didn't crash or freeze on me once.

The visuals aren't particularly impressive, but they get the job done and fit the game's drab Soviet aesthetic extremely well. I just wish we could tilt the camera a bit more. The audio effects are serviceable, but the soundtrack is extremely understated and one could even call it forgettable.

The save system is pretty good and features the trinity of manual saves, autosaves, and quick saves. The latter can be used in combat if that's your thing.

Conclusion

Overall, ATOM RPG has its fair share of faults and questionable design decisions, and just by reading the review you may assume I didn't like it. That's not the case. Sure, some areas could have been done better, some features stick too close to Fallout while others change things for seemingly no good reason, but at the end of the day, even with those faults, ATOM RPG in my opinion is the best Fallout game since Fallout 2.

So if you're looking for a Fallout-style game that you didn't play through 20 times already, let me assure you that ATOM RPG comes closest to recapturing that old magic. And if the developers behind the game learn from their mistakes and work on getting better at their craft, their next offering may end up quite spectacular.