Atomic Heart: Is the scanner tutorial broken?

Atomic Heart’s first hurdle is a tutorial. Whatever struggles you’re having while learning how to use the scanner, know that it’s not a bug (probably).

You’d be forgiven for getting stumped right at the start of this first-person shooter, out now for PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows PC.

How to use the scanner in the Atomic Heart tutorial

To use the scanner in Atomic Heart, just double-tap R1 on PlayStation (or RB on Xbox), then keep holding R1 / RB after the second press.

The written directions (“Hold R1 + R1” on PlayStation) read like the sort of tip where you’re supposed to press two different buttons, and the NPC — who exists solely to justify the tutorial within the game’s tenuous fiction — tells you something to effect of “holding both of your hands up.”

Given the general bugginess of Atomic Heart, no one would blame you for assuming the text instruction is in error, or for repeatedly trying to hold down L1 and R1 at the same time instead — one shoulder button for each hand. (This writer is guilty as charged.)

How to find items with Atomic Heart’s scanner

Image: Mundfish/Focus Entertainment via Polygon

Atomic Heart’s scanner works a lot like most scanners work from most games: It helps you analyze your surroundings. When scanning, objects will show up highlighted in overlays of various colors, which the game does not explain:

  • Blue indicates chests, drawers, and other containers that have resources you can loot.
  • Orange indicates enemies. If you hold the scanner over a specific enemy, you’ll be able to see a list of their resistances and weaknesses, plus a rundown of the loot they’ll drop when defeated. Note that using the scanner doesn’t pause time entirely; you’re still susceptible to attacks.
  • White indicates objects you can interact with — save stations, elevator call buttons, that sort of thing.
  • Purple indicates story-essential items. For the most part, Atomic Heart is pretty generous with its waypointing, but in some rare cases, you have to do the work yourself. For instance, during the “Made in the USSR” mission, you have to find the “voice, the symbol, and the sprout of the Motherland.” Activating the scanner will highlight the three items — a radio, a hammer, and a plant — you need to progress. They’re all in the same room.

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