Getting into Atomic Heart might surprise you because there’s more to it than meets the eye. In addition to being a thrilling first-person shooter, it rewards players who invest in their characters. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock a bunch of powerful new weapons, skills, and upgrades that’ll make your battles easier, but with so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best skills to unlock first in Atomic Heart so that you can get the most out of your experience from the get-go.

Best Skills to Unlock First

  • Morning Exercise
  • Neuro-Compression Tactical Backpack (x2)
  • Chain Lightning
  • Juggler
  • Power Amplifier
  • Cryo Jet
  • Electrization
  • Wild Boar
  • Resistor Malfunction
  • Increased Power

Morning Exercise

Morning Exercise in-game description and tree

A game-changer in Atomic Heart, the Morning Exercise ability is in the Character skill tree. Unlike other games, Atomic Heart doesn’t have a sprint function, so your movement speed stays the same no matter what. Morning Exercise can help you move around levels much faster and improve your mobility.

The enhanced speed can be a lifesaver in tough situations, letting you easily reposition yourself when surrounded by enemies – a scenario that occurs a lot. Having the ability to move quickly can make all the difference in saving your life in Atomic Heart, which throws relentless packs of enemies at players.

Neuro-Compression Tactical Backpack (x2)

Neuro-Compression Tactical Backpack in-game description and tree

There are two Neuro-Compression Tactical Backpack skills you should invest in right away within the Character skill tree.

When it comes to Atomic Heart, good inventory management can make a huge difference. In the absence of these upgrades, your backpack can quickly fill up with healing and energy restoration items, as well as weapons.

Still, you’ll need to be thoughtful about what you choose to carry in your backpack even with these upgrades. Decide which items are most valuable to your success in the game and plan your inventory around them.

Chain Lightning

Chain Lightning in-game description and tree

Atomic Heart’s Chain Lightning skill upgrade is super useful since robots tend to show up in groups instead of individually.

When you unlock this skill, part of your discharge will bounce off your initial target and hit nearby enemies for more damage. The robots are usually close to each other, so this upgrade can be especially useful.


Juggler in-game description and tree

As your character’s health drops in combat encounters, you should heal up unless you want to risk dying. The downside of neuromeds is that you become vulnerable during the healing process and can’t shoot.

The Juggler skill upgrade solves this problem by letting you heal with just one hand while keeping your weapon in the other. Even though the healing animation isn’t that long, players who prefer aggressive playstyles will appreciate the ability to stay in combat and heal simultaneously.

Power Amplifier

Power Amplifier in-game description and tree

The Power Amplifier is a skill upgrade located within the Shok skill tree in Atomic Heart.

Shok is an early upgrade you’ll get, and it can come in handy when you’re fighting aggressive robots. You get more breathing room and the chance to reposition yourself as needed by pushing them back.

Also useful for crowd control since you can push away non-target enemies and focus on the most immediate threat. Additionally, the upgrade increases Shok’s damage, making it even more useful in battle.

Cryo Jet

Cryo Jet in-game description and tree

You can use cryopolymer to freeze enemies in Atomic Heart, making them immobile and vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. Unlike robots, organic enemies are more likely to be affected by this effect as compared to robots. Cryo Jet is one of the best glove skills to have in the game.


Electrization in-game description and tree

Shock’s first upgrade is Electrification, which is highly recommended even if you don’t use it often.

It has tremendous gameplay utility due to its impact on robotic enemies and its influence on other skill upgrades. This is one of the most valuable and important skill upgrades in the game. You’ll also want Neuro-Polymer Accelerator, which reduces Shock’s cooldown.

As you encounter robots frequently, you don’t want to waste ammunition or struggle with melee combat, and using Shock can be a game-changer. Lowering its cooldown will allow you to use it more often in combat.

Wild Boar

Wild Boar in-game description and tree

Wild Boar is on the Character skill tree, and it increases your health. In dire circumstances, extra health can still be invaluable, even if it doesn’t boost endurance much. If you don’t play on the easiest mode, Atomic Heart can be quite demanding, so it’s best to be cautious.

Resistor Malfunction

Resistor Malfunction in-game description and tree

Resistor Malfunction is a very useful skill in the Shok skill tree, especially in the early game. When your weapons are weaker and your ammo reserves are low, electrifying enemies and increasing damage will be a big help.

You’ll get even more benefits from this upgrade when you fight enemies with higher health. In addition, Shok is a skill you’ll use a lot throughout the game, so it’s definitely worth picking up.

Getting Resistor Malfunction unlocks Neuro-Polymer Accelerator, which reduces the Shok cooldown. That’s why you should grab this upgrade ASAP.

Increased Power

It can be annoying when you can’t lift enemies off the ground, especially when you’re capable of it. This is particularly true when attempting to lift heavy enemies. When you have increased power, you can lift even the heaviest enemies with Mass Telekinesis.

How to Unlock Skills

The currency used to buy new skills in Atomic Heart is called Neuropolymer. You can acquire Neuropolymer by killing enemies or looting it from chests. The creepy robot machine, NORA, allows you to purchase a variety of skills using this currency.

How to Respec Skills in Atomic Heart

In Atomic Heart, you can respec your skill points, which are Neuropolymers you collect throughout the game, and respec your character as many times as you want at a NORA machine. You can adjust your abilities to better suit the situation instead of sticking to a certain set of skills.

When you’re facing lots of enemies, you should use area-of-effect skills, while boss fights are better suited for single-target skills. You don’t have to stick to a specific character build since the game’s upgrade system is so generous. However, there are still some basic build guidelines to keep in mind.

That’s all we have on the best skills to unlock first in Atomic Heart. Let us know what other skills you love in Atomic Heart.

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