Our Atomic Heart Starter Guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started with this Soviet-themed retrofuturistic first-person shooter!
Quicklinks: HUD Explanation | Atomic Heart Starter Guide | F.A.Q.
Atomic Heart HUD Explanation
Atomic Heart has you taking on the role of Major Sergei Nechaev (code-named "P-3") in a divergent history where fantastical scientific breakthroughs allowed the Soviet Union to handily win World War 2 and prosper afterward. Major Nechaev is invited to take a tour of Facility 3826, the foremost scientific center in the USSR. Unfortunately, things go awry rather quickly and you'll soon be in a fight for your life.
Before we get moving on our Atomic Heart Starter Guide, we're going to go over the HUD real quick so you know what's going on.
The HUD is pretty standard for a first-person shooter, but there are some unique mechanics in Atomic Heart that require explaining. Here's what each HUD element represents:
- Current objective - This shows the current objective that you must complete in order to progress the story.
- Alarm Level - The Alarm Level ranges from 0 to 2 and shows whether or not you've been detected by the "Daisy" security cameras. At Alarm Level 1 or 2, enemies will begin spawning and continually attack you until you're dead or you hide long enough for it to go away. Make sure to avoid or destroy Daisies to prevent your Alarm Level from increasing.
- Dashes - You start the game with a maximum of 2 dashes. This counter shows how many Dashes you currently have remaining.
- Consumable - This shows your equipped Consumable item and how many of that item you have.
- Health Bar - This shows your current Health. If this reaches 0, you die and you have to reload the game from your last save.
- Polymers - "Polymers" are sci-fi powers that you can use. You can only have a few equipped at a time, and each individual Polymer has its own cooldown. The cooldowns (and the buttons needed to activate each Polymer) are shown at the bottom center of the screen.
- Power Cells - Power Cells are your energy reserve that is consumed by energy-based weapons such as the Electro. Power Cells slowly recharge over time, and certain Weapons, Weapon Upgrades, and Skills will allow you to charge your Power Cells faster.
- Cartridge Gun - Some Weapons can be optionally equipped with a "Cartridge Gun" which allows you to add elemental damage to your attacks with a special item called a Cartridge. If you have a Cartridge Gun on your current Weapon, you'll see its current status here.
- Ammo - This shows the current ammo in your Weapons and how much additional Ammo you have in your inventory, where applicable. Certain Weapons (such as melee Weapons) don't have ammo, and some Weapons use Power Cells instead of Ammo (such as the Electro).
Atomic Heart Starter Guide
Now that we've explained the HUD, it's time to get moving on the Atomic Heart Starter Guide.
Atomic Heart is a first-person shooter with Crafting and RPG elements, so you've probably played something like it before. You'll kill bad guys, solve the occasional puzzle, and hoard enough weapons and ammo to take over a small island nation. That said, there are still some important tips that you should keep in mind.
How to Survive a Fight
Atomic Heart is not Doom -- don't go into a fight expecting to easily mow down a dozen enemies. Think of fighting in this game as more like that of an MMO.Your best bet for survival is to take enemies down one at a time, keeping your distance and Dodging as necessary.
"Power Attacks" from enemies are the most devastating. When you see an orange circle appear, get ready to Dodge. Should you fail to Dodge in time, you'll be knocked on your butt.
Although combat can be challenging, it's worth it. Pretty much every enemy drops Crafting materials that you can use to make Weapons, Ammo, Consumables, and more. Don't avoid fights, but don't rush into them recklessly, either!
Don't Be Afraid to Experiment with Crafting
One of the nice things about Atomic Heart's Crafting system is that it gives you refunds on anything you disassemble. Don't like a Gun you just build? You can break it back down and get all of the Crafting resources back, no problem.
This rule applies to pretty much everything you pick up, including Ammo and Consumables. Just remember, you can't get back any resources for a bullet you've already fired or a Consumable you've already used. And yes, this rule applies to your Skills, too. If you don't think a Skill is worth it (or you temporarily need a different one), you can refund those, too!
Exploration is Important
Atomic Heart follows the finest of first-person shooter traditions by including hidden chests all throughout the world. Take the time to look around carefully and explore every nook and cranny -- sometimes, you'll get lucky and find a chest full of goodies.
Critically, some of these chests will have Crafting Recipes. These are your only way to get access to most Weapons, so make sure not to miss them!
Don't Forget About Scanning
You'll unlock the ability to Scan your surroundings early on in the game; the Scan function can be activated by holding Alt on PC. Scan reveals items, enemies, and things you can interact with, even if it's on the other side of a wall. Scanning can even tell you about enemy weaknesses and defenses!
Don't forget to make the most out of the Scan ability. It costs no energy and you can use it indefinitely, so make sure to Scan frequently and get all of the useful information that you can!
Electro is Your Greatest Friend
You'll get the Electro gun pretty early in the game, and it's got something special about it -- this is a gun that uses Power Cells for ammo. Think of this gun like the pistol in Halo: used correctly, you can run through pretty much the entire game with it.
The Electro is the perfect Weapon for taking out "Daisy" security cameras or smaller bots. It's worth investing in Upgrades and Skills to power up this Weapon and increase your Power Cell pool, too.
Melee Weapons Can Recharge Power Cells
Once you start using Electro, you'll notice that your Power Cells will deplete awfully fast. It's especially bad at the beginning of the game when you don't have much in the way of upgrades.
Normally, you'd have to sit and wait for your Power Cells to recharge. There is, however, an alternate solution: you can use melee weapons to recharge your Power cells faster. Some melee Weapons even have Upgrades to speed up this regeneration. If you plan on making use of the Electro on a regular basis, you should make sure to also have a melee Weapon you're comfortable with.
The Open World is Worth Exploring (But You Don't Have To)
After you leave Lesnaya Station, you'll find yourself in the middle of a massive open-world area. You may be tempted to run around everywhere exploring, but it's not all worth it -- most of the interesting stuff is locked away behind story progress, although you can find some weapons and loot elsewhere.
You can get access to Scientific Testing Ground 1 and Scientific Testing Ground 6 as soon as you arrive in the open-world area. Both of these places are worth exploring for loot and Weapon Upgrades, so don't be afraid to do that first!
That's everything we have for our Atomic Heart Starter Guide. You should now be equipped to fight and survive in a world overrun by robots. Have fun, and check out our other guides if you want to learn more about the game!
Atomic Heart F.A.Q.
What is Atomic Heart?
Atomic Heart is a first-person shooter with RPG elements set in an alternate-history Soviet Union where the USSR won World War 2 and made phenomenal technological leaps in the following decade.
Is Atomic Heart Multiplayer?
No, Atomic Heart is not a multiplayer game.
Where is the Atomic Heart Save File Location?
The Atomic Heart Save File is located in:
Where "USERNAME" is your Windows username.
What Happens When You Die in Atomic Heart?
If you die in Atomic Heart, you'll have to restart from where you last saved the game. Make sure to save frequently. Keep in mind that there are only 10 save slots, though -- if you save too much, you might have a harder time going back to an earlier portion of the game.
How Do You Assign Weapon Slots in Atomic Heart?
There are two ways to assign weapon slots in Atomic Heart.
- Bring up the quick menu (hold Tab on PC) and rearrange the Weapons.
- Drop all of your Weapons into Nora and pick them up in the order you would like them to be on the number row. For example, picking up the Electro first will automatically assign it to 1 on the number row.
What is a Scientific Testing Ground in Atomic Heart?
A Scientific Testing Ground is an optional level in Atomic Heart where you can unlock 3 to 5 Weapon Upgrades by completing three challenges. The first challenge is usually a puzzle, the second challenge is usually a boss fight (or some other kind of combat), and the third challenge is usually a harder puzzle.
What is a Polygon in Atomic Heart?
Polygon is another name for Scientific Testing Ground in Atomic Heart; it is most likely a translation oversight in the original launch version of the game. You'll typically see "Polygon" used in the Crafting menu, especially with Weapon Upgrades. For example, "Polygon 2" means "Scientific Testing Ground 2."
That's the end of our Atomic Heart Starter Guide. Check out our other guides below!