Atomic Heart might look like a straightforward first-person shooter at a glance, but this action-packed adventure is actually a bit deeper than it initially seems. You’ll spend a lot of time collecting resources throughout your adventure to upgrade weapons, craft much-needed healing items, and even invest in skill trees that will grant you a variety of new abilities and enhance the ones you already have. That last point is very important, too, especially in the early part of the game as you learn the ins and outs of Atomic Heart‘s combat. In this guide, we’ll tell you the best skills to buy first to make things a bit easier on you in the opening hours.
Wild Boar can be found in the Character skill tree. This skill does exactly what you’d expect from simply looking at the icon – it increases your total health by a decent amount. This won’t make a significant difference to how much damage you can take, but it might just be enough extra health to save you from a sticky situation. Atomic Heart can be a pretty challenging game unless you bump it down to the easiest setting, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Morning Exercise can be found in the Character skill tree. Atomic Heart is unique in that it doesn’t provide a sprint to you, so your movement speed is pretty much the same throughout the game regardless of the situation. As such, you’ll find that investing in Morning Exercise can make a big difference in how quickly you can move around levels. Having that extra movement speed is especially helpful when you find yourself surrounded and need to reposition, which may happen more often than you’d think – Atomic Heart loves to throw relentless packs of enemies at you frequently.
There are two Neuro-Compression Tactical Backpack skills in the Character skill tree. You’ll want to pick them both up as soon as you reasonably can, as inventory management can play a major part in your success in Atomic Heart – even more so at higher difficulties. Since all of your healing and energy restoration items are held here alongside any weapons you’re carrying at the time, your inventory can fill up rapidly without these upgrades. Even with the upgrades, though, you’ll still need to be mindful of whether what you’re currently holding is truly valuable or not.
Power Amplifier can be found in the Shok skill tree. You’ll get the Shok ability very early in the game, and grabbing this upgrade can help you deal with aggressive robots by allowing you to push them back a bit, giving you some extra room to breathe and reposition when needed. This is also great for general crowd control, so make sure to push away enemies you’re not otherwise actively attacking so that you can focus on your target better. The fact that it improves how much damage Shok deals is just icing on the cake.
Resistor Malfunction can also be found in the Shok skill tree. This skill is immensely useful in the early hours of the game when your weapons are weaker and your ammo reserves are low, as it increases the damage enemies take when they’re electrified. This will come in handy most against higher-health enemies, but it’s worth having in general, as you should be using Shok as often as you can anyways. Grabbing this skill is also required to access an important one right after – Neuro-Polymer Accelerator – which reduces your Shok cooldown, so you can’t go wrong buying this up as soon as possible.
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