Grapeshot Games and Instinct Games bring us Atlas, a game of ruling the high seas. Have they managed to collect all the pieces of eight, or are they lost at the bottom of Davey Jones’ locker? Time to slip into my eye patch and bandana and find out for myself.
Standard WASD movement keys? Check.
Mouse rotation? Check.
Click to attack? Check.
Well what else do I need to know, let’s take over the joint.
Atlas at first seems to be a standard survival game. All the attributes are there, food, water, health, crafting, yup, looks like a survival game to me. Walk in the park. Instructions appear on the screen in ghastly text, 1/10 in the corner, so I should probably read them. My reading skills are not the quickest, I like to understand the instructions and take them all in. Sadly my skills were not fast enough and I didn’t manage the last sentence of any of the 10 pages. I’m sure they were not too critical.
I searched and scavenged what I could, I beat a monkey, I attacked a bird, I punched a chicken to death. Seriously, what’s not to like about this so far. I was soon dressed and armed and it was time to get out of the Freeport area and start out on my own. I gathered the resources for a raft and headed on out into the high seas in search of an island to conquer. The wind was not favourable and I found myself heading towards the edge of the map in a maelstrom and little chance of getting back.
Bedtime arrived and a logged off.
After logging on I found myself exactly where I had left off, well almost, it seems that my food had all vanished and I was stuck on a raft in the middle of the high seas. Death was swift.
So attempt number one didn’t go well, but did the game hold up to it’s promise?
*The above information was whilst playing on an unofficial server.
I literally punched the living daylights out of everything for resources, trees, animals, rocks. Yes, you punch rocks to get stone. On the bad side this is crazy and only the deranged would make this occur. On the plus side, getting stones is simple. I punched a turtle and killed it, I attacked a turtle with a pick and it killed me. Is it truly possible that punching a shell covered reptile would be more effective that hitting it about 3 times the speed with a pick? In Atlas anything is possible, including death by seagull. I live on the coast, and this has literally never happened. Prepare for every eventuality, I’m expecting to be eaten alive in my sleep by a worm before too long.
Well, I have crashed out of Atlas more times than I care to remember. Frustrating should be a tagline at the moment. Grapeshot Games have promised to work on it, and hopefully Atlas will improve over time. I would walk up to an unsuspecting chicken and then aim a blow and freeze for about 10 seconds. My blow would hit air and the chicken would be nowhere to be seen, still oblivious to the danger it was precariously close to. Servers kick me out and sometimes just the simple act of turning a corner can be excruciatingly painful.
Things to do.
Well as of yet due to the above issue I have not achieved a lot in Atlas, though to be fair I have found little to do. The idea as far as I can tell is to claim land as your own and then create an empire from it. Build houses, farms, new ships and just conquer the high seas. Or maybe just be a farmer who sells their items to friends who want to conquer the high seas. The vision for Atlas is good, the reality is somewhat lacking. At the moment it has more in common with a Sex Pistols sea shanty aboard the good ship Venus than a credible game.
I am unable to review the foundations of a house and see if I want to live there, after all, it might end up looking hideous, costing lots to run and not be that practical. I feel the same about Atlas, I cannot make a judgement until a lot of the issues are fixed, but I will say this, if Grapeshot Games get it right, then there will be a very enjoyable game to play, however at the moment getting it right is a dream of the future and the light at the end of the tunnel is very distant.
If Atlas were a car it would have an unreliable engine, ok bodywork, but the electrics are shocking and the steering is often disconnected. In my opinion, in the same way that the car would not be deemed roadworthy, Atlas is not player ready and should still be under lock and key being worked upon. I wouldn’t expect the mechanics to be living at my house trying to improve the car I have already bought, so I would expect a game to be of a much higher standard, even in early access.
Davey Jones’ locker is where Atlas should be consigned right now. Maybe after a few updates things will be different, but I’m not counting my pieces of eight just yet.