How to use the scanner in Atomic Heart

The first hurdle for Atomic Heart is the tutorial. If you run into any problems while learning to use the scanner, know that it’s (probably) not a bug.

You’ll be forgiven if you were confused from the start of this first-person shooter, now available for PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows PC.  

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 Atomic Heart’s overall flaws, no one can accuse you of assuming that the text instructions are wrong, or instead trying to repeatedly press L1 and R1 at the same time. (This author is guilty.) 

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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