ATOM RPG - The Fallout everyone wanted


#41

Regarding Atom map size:

From here:

That said, the author said he spent 50 hours on the game and gave it an 8/10 rating.


#42

As someone that just has to ask the question (believing this game could be awesome just because Bat says it is):

Is exploring a post-nuclear Soviet Union as fun as a post-nuclear U.S.? I mean take my seemingly obvious bias aside – part of the attraction to a post-nuclear U.S. is the ironic justice Fallout (all of them) tends to give to our excessive way of life. I think if I was just in post-apocalyptic Soviet Russia I might just be too depressed to grab my bottlecaps and spend them on an ak-47. Assuming they even have bottlecaps.

I’m probably gonna grab it before the sale ends… probably no neon though. No Fallout “Moscow Vegas” if you know what I mean.


#43

Started this today, we’ll see how it goes :)


#44

It’s A LOT like Fallout. A lot of characters are exaggerated in one way or another, some are quite outlandish, and then you have some that are surprisingly somber or morbid. It’s a really good mix overall so it doesn’t feel too samey or cartoonish, or even depressing.

Also, my favorite part about the writing is how you really have to pay attention to what you say. It’s easy to lock yourself out of a side quest because you were rude to the npc or taunted them in some way they didn’t like - there are some recovery options for such situations too, usually in form of a stat checks where you often use your strength, intelligence, personality or speechcraft to turn the conversation around. As far as this reactivity goes the game is head and shoulders above the recent offerings in the genre.

As for my progress, I’m now in the first major city, got one companion and I’ve scored some decent guns so I’m looking forward to hit the wilderness again. Especially because I only get around 10 fps in the cities on this laptop lol.

At 15 bucks this game is a no-brainer, if you ask me. From what I can tell replayability is also quite high because I’ve seen a lot of potential for different outcomes in quests, some of which hinge on small details in the conversation, like telling the quest giver if the people he sent a goon squad to to intimidate them know who sent the said goon squad.

There also seems to be some kind of base building/management in the game but I haven’t unlocked that part yet.

edit: As for the number of locations that @Grifman mentioned above: some change a lot during the night, with different npcs, and there are also random events sprinkled around, like raider attacks on outposts that you can walk right into.


#45

Heh, you have a point about the schadenfreude quotient. Fallout in America is fun partly because it allows us to see some of our shibboleths destroyed. For a post-war USSR, though, how would you tell the difference? I mean, I visited parts of eastern Europe in the 1980s and in places it looked like they hadn’t rebuilt from WWII…


#46

I see it keeps getting 2k+ consistent daily players, that’s pretty good for a strategy indie, no?


#47

It’s an RPG, not a strategy game.


#48

Yes, I was talking in a general sense. Mainly turn-based combat, etc.


#49

I have no clue if those numbers are good for the genre or not, since I don’t usually pay attention to player stats of these games. Reviews seem very positive though, and I can tell you from first hand experience that while the game might not have the production values of games with larger budgets it does have a very solid framework, and for me that’s more important than the visuals. I haven’t seen any major bugs yet, which is a nice change of pace from the typical complex RPG releases (looking at you, Obsidian).


#50

I got interested in the number of players after checking how the latest modern sequel/reincarnation of my other all-time favorite RPG series (Ultima*) was doing and being duly and utterly shocked by the low numbers. I feel ATOM’s concurrent players may be easily in the ballpark of bigger-budget entries.

I’d like to try it and have it on my wishlist; my main issue with these games is time. I have recently finished the last Geneforge game and it took me long enough!

*yes I’m aware it’s not an official Ultima game.


#51

Is it comparable in difficulty to UnderRail? I bounced off that one (probably due to lack of maps) but always felt like I should go back to it.

EDIT: I found you posted this upthread, so unless your feelings have changed, I have my answer!


#52

Combat difficulty early on is comparable to Fallout 2, especially if your character is a late bloomer with focus on firearms, coupled with low endurance. It’s actually uncanny how well the game is copying the general gameplay feel of Fallout 2.

That said, you can easily talk yourself into a situation that you have no chance of winning, at least not in the beginning. Because Ivan the corrupt militiaman will unload his AK into your chest from point blank range if you insult his mother or make fun of his drinking habits. And if by some miracle you survive the initial turn chances are his equally corrupt buddies will join in on the fun.


#53

This game has insane pull. Had another qt3 moment with it last night and I basically haven’t touched any other game since I got access to my pc again. I’ve restarted several times, finally settling on a lone wolf sniper character with focus on rifles, speechcraft and stealth. The latter is extremely valuable in ranged fights because it essentially lowers the range at which npcs can see you. I did not realise this skill works like this until I watched Nerd Commando’s character building guide on YouTube. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who plans on playing the game - he doesn’t like the game overall but his take on mechanics is, as usual, extremely insightful and valuable to players who like to optimize their characters. Also, I lucked out and found a dog at level 3! And this was right after patch 1.06 that made the dog work with lone wolf perk active, which made me super happy.

I’ve made lots of progress quest wise, currently level 10 (game ends at 25 to 30 it seems) and I continue to be impressed by the overall smoothness, the writing and the worldbuilding. I’m also starting to think that the engrish that some npcs use is deliberate because narrative text seems to be of much higher quality - the other explanation is of course that the text was written by different people.

I look forward to explore more of this world and get my hands on stronger equipment.

Devs are also really active on the forums and very open to suggestions so I’m expecting some major balance changes in the future. For example, a lot of people are not happy that you get 3 perk points per level on easy, 2 on Normal and only 1 on expert and survival. My guess is that they’ll unify this system and rebalance the perk tree, but such sweeping changes are probably still months away.

As for my experience, I’m playing on Normal with 10 ap character and the difficulty and pace of progression (both xp and gear wise) feel just right. The best part is that I’m still relying heavily on crafted gear, but I’ve started to spot some mid tier weapons on enemies and look forward to gearing up.


#54

How is the atmosphere ? Because one of the biggest reasons I love Fallout 1 and 2 is their incredible atmosphere, in large part created by Mark Morgan’s soundtrack.

And are there any reviews on larger sites? I checked metacritic but there appears to be nothing.

I generally prefer first/third person RPGs these days, but Atom does seem appealing. Even back when I played Fallout in 98 I imagined what a Fallout set elsewhere would be like.


#55

The negative reviews on Steam worry me, in that the issues they bring up are things that also bug me–viciously random challenge level of encounters; opacity of controls, mechanics, and stats; arbitrariness of things like having one-time encounters designed for higher levels disappear forever if you accidentally stumble on them at low level; and the sense of slow, endless grind. Mind you, the positive reviews also hit on the stuff I do like in games, like, well, all the stuff people are praising.

For fifteen it might be worth trying for the hell of it.

EDIT: So I picked it up. Got killed by a mutant wasp. The game is fairly brutal, for sure.


#56

It’s so cheap, you can’t really justify passing it up. I’ve only done about half an hour of it so far and it certainly is bleak, a very fitting homage to Fallout - pretty much as you might have wished a remake of Fallout to be, i.e. the same only with better graphics.

Nerd Commando has an interesting long rant (not in his specific review of this, but in another recent vid) about not just this game but about the whole thing re. nostalgia for the Fallout games, for Baldur’s Gate and other CRPGs around that time; he’s annoyed that people see them as some kind of pinnacle of the genre when actually, while certainly in terms of financial success that might have been be true, in terms of gameplay, in terms of richness of dialogue and story, those games we look back on fondly were something like the beginning of the decline of the CRPG, the beginning of the transformation of the genre from a nerd’s genre into a jock’s genre, or the jockification of a nerd’s genre.

He cites the tremendous popularity of Fallout in Russia having had more to do with the then-flashy graphics, the gee-whizz superficialities (“You can do anything! You can kill kids!”) than to do with actual gameplay (which wasn’t as great as our rose-tinted remembrances make it out to be). He cites people getting tricked-out characters to start the game and basically just going hog wild.

And for a fact, I recall a friend’s 12 year old kid coming round to our house at the time BG was released, and the first thing he did was find a cheat that gave him God-mode, and he just ran around killing stuff, mostly clicking through the dialogue. (Although at the end of it he claimed to have enjoyed the experience thoroughly - go figure!)

Another point he makes is that, while it looks like it’s interesting to have all those stats (in Fallout and in Atom, for example), really it’s Potemkin complexity, and very little hangs on checks from the obscurer skills, very little of all that apparent complexity is grounded in choice and consequence, and you might has well have just the three main stats (speechcraft, main weapon and one other which I can’t remember), otherwise your experience will be miserable.

I suppose at the end of the day, paraphrasing, he’s basically saying that making immersive CRPGs is very difficult, and we keep falling for the hype and the glitz of improving technology, while evading the stark fact that our CRPGs are getting dumber and dumber, and while this is a diagnosis many make, he says the rot actually started in the BG/Fallout games we look back and think fondly of as classics, not in the more recent “consolification” period.


#57

Yeah, I am going to disagree with that. Specifically that Fallout 1/2/Arcanum were beginning of dumbification, is total bullshit. If anything, these games are still golden standard of interactivity and scope of player agency, which is is this medium’s whole point and prime advantage over other mediums.
The “You can kill kids!” is not superficiality, it is a powerful expression of the limits that these games had - in that there were practically no limits! And that was wonderful. I would love to play a AAA game made today that allows me to do so much stuff that Fallout 2 or Arcanum let me.

And they were never all that financially succesful either, they sold decently, but not anymore than that.


#58

On par with Wasteland 2 I’d say.


#59

Sounds good, I liked Wasteland 2…its first half at least.


#60

Good, W2 is better than its reputation ;). What I meant though was that both games are wasteland simulators running on Unity (except Atom devs apparently know a thing or two about optimization), with Atom lagging significantly behind in presentation (art, flashiness). That does have its own advantages though - places and people of interest are much easier to find, UI is barebones but functional (except for the FO2 style list inventory), and Atom’s writing is just a little more grounded than the often over the top/cartoony characterization found in western rpgs. Character writing is at times very similar to Stalker (grammar, style of writing), but that’s a relatively small chunk of npcs, most are pretty normal people with very distinct roles. And because the game does not feature 50+ npcs in every village these people stand out more, and are more in focus than the writing behind them would have them be.

There are also a lot of references to other games, most notably Fallout, but there are even stalkers in the game. This is something that I really dislike because I don’t like it when games reference pop culture or break the 4th wall, but it’s rare enough that it’s not a deal breaker.

I’m not finished with the story yet but the hook is interesting enough that it’s pulling me forward. Most quests have multiple solutions, even if they’re not all very obvious, and some end up in very surprising results that can have domino effect on your other quests.