Atomic Heart is a very strange game. As the story begins, you’re thrust into an unfamiliar world that’s both massive and overwhelming — and after everything goes wrong, you’re thrown into the deep end of complete weirdness. You’ll have to survive, fighting back insane robots with just an axe and eventually a simple shotgun. Very early in the game, you’ll also meet a sweet-talking shop kiosk that can craft weapon upgrades — one of the most important upgrades is the Cartridge Module.
Cartridge Modules are barely explained in the game. Even after getting a tutorial pop-up, you’ll never get an explanation on how to actually equip these things. Here, we’ll explain how to equip modules, how to get them early in the game, and why they’re so useful. There are three types of modules you’ll unlock before leaving the first major area of the game — the Ice Cartridge, Fire Cartridge and Electricity Cartridge. Each Cartridge type can be slotted into a weapon, and that includes melee weapons too.
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How To Use Cartridge Modules & Add Elemental Damage To Your Weapons
At the NORA Unit, guns can be upgraded with Cartridge Modules. This fits your gun with a special slot for loading elemental damage modifiers — hitting an enemy with elemental damage can be devastating.
- Purchase a Cartridge Module from any NORA Unit. The Shotgun is the first weapon. Select the Upgrades tab, then Shotgun, then find the upgrade under ‘Cartridge Gun‘.
- Every gun can gain a Cartridge Slot. No blueprint required.
- Find a ‘Fire Cartridge’ blueprint in the Seed Bank in the Vavilov Complex. After leaving the upper floor safe room, you’ll reach a catwalk with a large chest right before the zipline.
How To Use Cartridges: After upgrading a weapon and unlocking a cartridge module, you can now load your gun with cartridges.
- Equip a weapon. It must be held in your hand. You must also have an available cartridge to load.
- Open the Weapon Wheel [Hold Reload] and select the BOTTOM choice. Press [RT / R2 / Fire Key] to select.
- This opens a sub-menu. From here, you can select the type of cartridge you want to load.
You can load Ice Cartridges, Fire Cartridges, and Electric Cartridges.
- Fire Cartridges burn targets and are especially effective against plant-type enemies. Burned targets take damage-over-time until the effect dissipates.
- Ice Cartridges slow and freeze targets, leaving them vulnerable while frozen. The effect eventually wears off.
- Electric Cartridges stun and deal damage to targets. Shok damage is especially effective against robots.
Cartridges eventually expire from use. These can be installed and uninstalled at will. Once a cartridge is installed, all weapon damage will have an added elemental effect. You’ll need to save a space in your inventory for cartridges — you can see how much longer a cartridge will last by checking the meter on the lower-right of your HUD, above your energy for electricity weapons.
That’ll get you started on cartridges. There’s no reason not to equip all your weapons with cartridges!