Why Atomic Heart Fails To Live Up To Its Inspiration

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Atomic Heart and Bioshock are two games that are inexorably linked across time, one established many genre conventions we still use to this day and defined an entire era of gaming, the other feels compelled to replicate and improve upon as much of Bioshock’s success as possible, but somehow misses what made it’s inspiration so cherished – what gives? How could Atomic Heart, a game with such clear reverence for Bioshock, not understand what made Bioshock great? Well, the answer lies in the ever-tricky to understand Metagame.

The Architect has had to plunder multiple dystopias, command vast armies and even scrabble through a few fourth walls in order to truly understand what makes Metagames so special and also what makes them so tricky to get right. Maybe, the success of a metagame lies not in how complex it is, or even how balanced it is, but in how it makes us think, and how fun it is to figure out?

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You Saw:

Atomic Heart- 2023
Resident Evil 8 -2021
Bioshock – 2007
Bioshock 2 – 2010
DOOM Eternal – 2020
Psychonauts 2 – 2021
Warhammer Total War 3 – 2022
Neon White – 2022
Xenoblade 3 – 2022
Counter Strike: Global Offensive – 2012
Baldur’s Gate 3 – Early Access
Monster Hunter: World – 2018
Slay the Spire – 2019
Minecraft – 2011
Teardown – 2022
Persona 5 Royal – 2019
Genshin Impact – 2020
Dwarf Fortress – 2023
Half Life Alyx – 2020
Pikmin 3- 2013
The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe- 2022
Gears Tactics – 2020
Pokemon Fire Red – 2004
Dark Souls 3 – 2016
Elden Ring – 2022
Dishonored 2 – 2016
Portal 2 – 2011
Dune: Spice Wars – Early Access
Rounds – 2021
Starcraft 2 – 2012
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate – 2018
Dota 2 – 2013
Rivals of Aether – 2017
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim – 2011
Deus Ex – 2000
Deathloop – 2021
XCOM 2 – 2014
Across The Obelisk – 2022
Monster Train – 2021
Magic The Gathering: Arena – 2018
Potionomics – 2022
Rimworld – 2018
The Long Dark – 2014
Subnautica: Below Zero – 2021
Don’t Starve – 2013
Transistor – 2014
ARK: Survival Evolve – 2015
Escape From Tarkov – Early Access
Destiny 2 – 2017
Fallout 4 – 2015
Pokemon Emerald – 2004
Phantom Brigade – 2023
Prey – 2017
Surviving Mars – 2018
Cities Skylines – 2015
Oxygen Not Included – 2017
Path of Exile – 2013
Enter The Gungeon – 2016
Hades – 2020
Against The Storm – Early Access
Hitman 3 – 2021
Evolve – 2015
Hand of Fate 2 – 2017
Hi-Fi Rush – 2023
Terra Nil – 2023

  • Bob McBob

    Yeah! Metaprogression in roguelikes is stupid, you tell 'em! Reject Hades, return to Spemunky!

  • Joan Sol Roo

    So many visual puns!

  • RED

    0:18 That is Belka and Strelka. First animals to orbit Earth and come back.

  • Marko Radokicik

    The fact that there were some reviews calling this an immersive sim genuinely astounds me. Far Cry 5 is more of an immersive sim than this and i mean that 100 percent sincerely

  • Drambrarcer

    That's not called metagame, it's called macrogame. It's not "beyond" the game, it's just the wider scope of it.

  • Ellipsis Mark

    My favorite part was how I disagreed with everything you said. I hate Enter The Gungeon specifically because it sets you back to 0 every time and gives more and more and more and then more and after that even more random guns. My least favorite part of Hades is whenever 2 pieces of a 3-bit super combo, but I can't get the last bit, so I waffle about with 2 or 3 semi-complete builds because it happens more than once. It extra sucks when I ramp up the punishment pacts. I would like it if I could pick favorite boons so I could have fun doing the very thing you claim is not fun.

    I'm not saying my opinion is correct or better. I'm just saying yours isn't either.

    Variety is the spice of life, and having games follow different design philosophies is good for all of us.

  • Luciana Fruin

    A lot of these games that you include in the video look interesting, unfortunately I don't know what any of them are! It would be great if you could put a little title card somewhere so that us viewers could look up some of them.

  • GameGod7

    I can understand why you don't like meta-progression in rogue-likes, but I think it's dismissive to assume the choice between progression currency and an ability for your current run isn't an interesting choice.

  • Vincible

    I'll have to personally disagree on meta elements making Hades "worse". Rogue-Likes with no meta mechanics whatsoever are frustrating and demotivating to me, especially when they have a story as compelling as Hades. When I die, at least I made some progress in one way or another. In more puritan Rogue-Likes, dying is just failure and makes me not want to play anymore.

  • Hack Cubit

    This video reminded me how I built my character in Bioshock, using cloaking and vampire effects so I could sneak up to splicers and knock them out in a hit or two, and regain health while doing it. Who needs ammo when I can just tank the splicers' hit while damaging them back at the same time?!

    And then there was the time in New Vegas I made Geordi LaForge by taking the four eyes and overclock perk (or whatever it was called, the one that made energy weapons hit harder but degrade faster) at character creation and put all my skill points into energy weapons and repairing. Combat became a case of "as long as I can keep the enemies at bay they're already dead."

  • Sluggish Throne

    I think Shadow of Mordor has one of the best meta games of all time. It’s amazing that system hasn’t been further expanded in other than the sequel

  • MegStatic

    I was a playtester for Atomic Heart. The biggest issue i had with it was it just wasn't fun, it felt like a chore to complete.


    12:4713:14 Excellent take.

  • Tim Pize

    Pretty good points. I haven't played this one yet but it reminds me why I usually don't like combats in J-RPG's : you can specialize your characters but there's always one good option for each problem. So having one of each type is all you really need and there's no real strategy involved, apart from deciding when to heal or when to defend.

  • u m a m i

    Thanks for the shoutout Adam! 🌞

  • Brennan Clement

    Yeah I think Prey is a much better successor to Bioshock. It does a great job of preserving almost all of the best elements while being much more modernized.

  • Zac.M

    I see you've been experiencing the blight of meteor hammer spam in pubs rn in dota😂

  • Bleach Bath

    Your "my fun is better than yours because math" is tedious garbage. I agree that Atomic Heart isn't very good, but that's about it. 24 minutes of pure nonsense. Oh well, here's your engagement, anyway.

  • a k

    Not making this a Dub vs Sub topic but Did u play Atomic heart in Russian with English Subs? Or English Dub?
    Cause localization & delivery of dialogue is pretty terrible in English dub that's why it falls flat with no emotion and feels cringey , It's bearable in Russian cause the feeling the char goes through on dialogue come out more clearer.
    This isnt just the case for Russian Lang alone but for all eastern lang cause most eastern lang are phonetic first in nature not written but English is a written lang first then phonetic so the feeling in English Lang are more expressed through body lang or the background not through sound.


    4:58 In Genshin's defense, the gameplay is fun when it comes to elemental reactions and how characters react with each other. Yeah, the artifact and weapon system bascially acts as a match the weapon/artifact stat with the stat the character wants but they are just stepping stones to the actual fun theory crafting which are the 4-character teams. Sorry you got a rude message but I do disagree that Genshin has boring combat.

    Anyways pretty fun video keep up the good work.

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