Abilities are one of the core features that define Atomic Heart‘s combat. Since ammo is limited and not all enemies can be efficiently killed by just shooting them, having a powerful pool of abilities to lean back on is beneficial. Here’s our guide on the best abilities and glove upgrades to unlock in Atomic Heart.
The best abilities and glove upgrades in Atomic Heart
Below is a list of the best unique abilities to unlock for each tree. Some abilities are shared by several trees and are always worth picking up: such as Neuro-polymer Acceleration and Increased Polymer Generation. These aren’t listed below, but are still worth acquiring as they increase the overall usefulness of each skill.
- Chain Lightning
- Extended Topology
- Full Contact
Shok is the first ability you get access to. It’s unique as it doesn’t use up one of your two ability slots, effectively making it a free third ability. Since you’ll always have access to Shok, it should be a priority to unlock all of its upgrades.
Chain Lightning, Extended Topology, and Full Contact make up most of the right side of the Shok upgrade tree. When all three are unlocked, Shok turns into a powerful area-of-effect attack that deals devastating damage to robot-type enemies. Given Atomic Heart‘s theme, you’ll be fighting a lot of robots — making Shok one of the best abilities.
- Athlete/Musclehead/Wild Boar
- Morning Exercise
- Neuro-compression Tactical Backpack
Character skills aren’t as flashy as the others, but in terms of survivability, they trump all. Over time, you’ll want to complete this entire tree. But there are a few skills that are worth prioritizing. You’ll be able to unlock Morning Exercise and Parkour early on, and both of which greatly improve your mobility.
Avatar and Bulwark straight up reduce the amount of damage you take from attacks, while Athlete, Musclehead, and Wild Boar increase your health. When all of these are unlocked, you’ll be far tankier and not be as heavily punished for making mistakes. Both of the Neuro-compression Tactical Backpack upgrades are useful too as they increase how many items you can carry around.
- Absolute Zero
- Careful Disassembly
Frostbite is arguably the best of the available abilities in Atomic Heart. Most enemies hit by Frostbite attacks are unable to fight back, letting you deal free damage to them. Even though its description emphasizes its usefulness against organic enemies, Frostbite is still extremely effective against robots.
Given its incredible strength, it’s worth unlocking the entire Frostbite tree. However, Absolute Zero and Careful Disassembly stand out as particularly strong skills. Careful Disassembly increases the number of items received from defeated frozen enemies, which is great for farming resources. Meanwhile, Absolute Zero deals heavy damage over time to frozen targets, frequently resulting in them dying from Frostbite damage alone.
- Forced Fall Acceleration
- Increased Power
Alongside Shok, Mass Telekinesis is the most powerful area of effect ability in Atomic Heart. It is fantastic for when you get overwhelmed by several enemies and need to buy some time. Using Mass Telekinesis lets you lift enemies into the sky and shoot them for some free damage.
Forced Fall Acceleration is an early unlock that is well worth picking up. It lets you slam down any lifted enemies hit by Mass Telekinesis, often dealing the lethal finishing blow. Increased Power is another great ability as it lets you lift up heavyweight enemies. Once this is unlocked, you’ll be able to use Mass Telekinesis on most enemies in Atomic Heart — including bosses.
- High Viscosity
- Increased Chemical Reactivity Distance
- Mixture Efficacy
Polymeric Jet is not necessarily one of the best abilities in Atomic Heart. While it can be useful for applying elemental effects against certain bosses, you are usually better off using other options. Even so, High Viscosity does give Polymeric Jet the power to slow down enemies, which can be useful against highly mobile foes.
In addition to that, Increased Chemical Reactivity Distance turns Polymeric Jet into an area-of-effect (AoE) debuff which can be decent against crowds of enemies. Combining that with Mixture Efficacy makes Polymeric Jet deal good damage when followed up by elemental attacks. However, it isn’t advised to invest too much Nueropolymer into this tree as there are better options.
- Kinetic Reflector Upgrade
- Med Unit Feedback
- Sponge Effect
While most other abilities in Atomic Heart focus on dealing more damage, the Polymeric Shield does just the opposite. It is one of the few defensive tools you can use to mitigate and even absorb enemy damage. The Polymeric Shield with Kinetic Reflector Upgrade is especially useful if you are playing on Armageddon difficulty where getting hit by a critical attack usually signals game over.
Otherwise, both Med Unit Feedback and Sponge Effect are worth unlocking, as they convert enemy attacks into useful resources. The former absorbs attacks and adds them to your health while the latter does the same for energy.
- Energy Containment
- Energy Density
- Greedy Guts
Energy is a secondary resource that is used by certain abilities and weapons. Some of the best abilities in Atomic Heart consume energy, so being able to manage it well is important. The Energy Management tree helps you do just that.
The three Energy Density upgrades should be prioritized as these over double your total energy. After these are unlocked, you then want to work toward Energy Containment and Greedy Guts. Both of these improve your ability to recharge energy, allowing you to use energy-based abilities and weapons more often.
Atomic Heart can be purchased on Steam.