I'm very much looking forward to Atomic Heart (opens in new tab), and also kind of dreading it, for the same reason. Very broadly, it looks like a Soviet BioShock, all gorgeous and weird and a little experimental and really ambitious, and that can be a lot of fun but it can also go wrong in all sorts of different ways. At the very least you can expect significant levels of jank (opens in new tab).
I choose to remain optimistic, though, and a new gameplay trailer released today has definitely reinforced that positive outlook. It starts off as a tour of an alt-history VDNKH, a sort of museum to the marvels of Soviet science (which, by the way, exists in real life (opens in new tab)), set to the futuristic beats of composer Mick Gordon. But things go off the rails when the exhibition's robotic inhabitants, ranging from glorified Roombas to humanoid androids, come to life and start attacking the player.
That seems manageable enough, but the situation goes from bad to worse when the player runs across Plyush, a mini-boss that looks a lot like one of Prey's Typhons, except made of blood instead of whatever it is that Typhons are actually made of.
"It's an organic enemy which might just be a product of some secret governmental deeds," developer Mundfish told IGN (opens in new tab). "Who knows? You'll have to find out. Maybe it's a pure jelly."
The team is taking a similarly cagey approach to Atomic Heart as a whole, keeping a tight lid on what the game is actually about. It's set in an alternate timeline in which the Soviet Union still exists and great technological advancements have been made, enabling the mass production of robots for tasks ranging from household chores to agriculture and defense. But now the robots are rebelling, and the government has sent you, a mentally unstable KGB agent named P-3, to figure out what's going on.
Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to that. There's still no word on when we'll actually get to try it, though: A beta version that was expected in 2019 didn't happen, and the Steam page (opens in new tab) currently lists the date as TBA.