A few weeks ago we covered Atom RPG’s Kickstarter campaign in our award winning* series Kicked. Heavily inspired by old school Fallout, the campaign was well-run, and the game looked promising. Now in Early Access, developer Atom Team sent us a code for the game for us to try out. While flawed, Atom RPG clearly has strong potential.
What always made Fallout stand out though was the writing, the characters that emerged from it, and emphasis on player choice. It’s hard to see at times, but Atom RPG flashes some of that same brilliance.
There’s a quest early in the game in which you’re asked by a mayor of a town to find a spy who’s working for a nearby group of bandits. These bandits rob the town, but aside from killing some armed mercenaries, they don’t seem to do much else. When you eventually find the spy, you end up meeting with these bandits and find out that it’s not quite as cut and dry as the townsfolk will have you believe – there’s no black-and-white morality like you’d find in a Bethesda Fallout game. You can also complete the quest in multiple ways, also a rarity in modern Fallout.
But, just like with its Kickstarter campaign, the English translation leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not Google Translate bad, but phrases like “The deterioration in relations between Eastern and Western blocs in the 1979 has led to a full-blown Armageddon between nuclear powers in the year 1986” have now shown up on both the Kickstarter and in the game is a worrying sign. Worse still, a lot of these grammatical errors remain from a Beta version released to backers and YouTubers at least as far back as May 2017.
There’s also questionable writing at times, not just in terms of translation. At the start of the game, when you’re getting robbed, I tried to use speech to get them to leave me alone. The game said I was successful, but they knocked me out and robbed me anyway. When I got to the starting town, I asked a bar tender if he had any jobs for me, and after saying no, gave me a job anyway after I tried to walk away. Incidentally, he asked me to pick up a book he ordered from a nearby town, and seconds later I ran into a mailman delivering mail from that town. That spy who infiltrated the town immediately confessed after talking to him for just two seconds, without any speech checks or anything.
For more on Atom RPG in its current state, check out the video above. Atom Team has a lot of work ahead of them before the game cane be something truly special, but right now, they’ve got a great foundation in place.