Archangel - PC / VR Review


Archangel is a slick, entertaining action game that is relatively easy to pick up and play. The premise is fun and familiar, making it approachable if not perhaps particularly original. Still, it presents some of the sharper visuals in VR to date, and is a welcome port of the popular PlayStation VR game.

For better or for worse, I feel as though two genres have been the most popular in virtual reality so far: shooters and horror games. It makes some degree of sense of course, since VR is really all about immersion, and those two genres are most frequently presented from a first person perspective. That crowded playing field can make it a challenge for games to stand out, as a result.

Right off of the bat, Archangel looks better than most of the shooters I have had the pleasure of playing on my Oculus Rift so far. Put in the role of a military person manning a building-sized mech, anyone who enjoys mech-based anime or movies like Pacific Rim no doubt found themselves thinking that it would be a fantastic experience. Archangel has that going for it right out of the box, as you are presented with some pretty impressive views from the vantage point within your mech.


Adding to the sense of immersion is how the Touch controls each manage one arm. Of course this is a pretty common control mechanic in most Oculus shooters, but there is always a sort of vague disconnect in these games. They try to represent your hand and arm movements, but the reality is, no matter how well it is done, there is always just a small degree of detachment. It is often incredibly cool, but the representation still leaves me that vague, nagging reality that the hands and arms are not actually mine. Here in the game, that sense somehow feels a bit more natural, because these are not 'your' arms - they are the arms of your mech. It is a small, silly distinction, but it really just clicked with me on a level I did not expect. Sure, the controls here for the arms are not the most accurate, but in a way it is forgivable because of the disconnect that would in theory exist between pilot and mech.

The arms themselves represent both offense and defense, as they can summon either a temporary shield or help you to fire off some sort of weaponry. As the game progresses, the challenge obviously escalates. At no point did I ever consider Archangel to be a particularly difficult game, and to its credit the last stage was one of the best action experiences I have had on virtual reality to date. It is a tight experience that challenged and immersed me in ways that if the whole game had managed to, might have been considered a VR masterpiece. Unfortunately that level of creativity and execution is somewhat lacking in the earlier stages. Archangel is pretty fun from the word go, but there is not a whole lot of challenge to be had early on.


Essentially you are tasked with finding the right balance between quick and light attacks, and heavier slower ones. You'll find weaponry that suits your style of play best, and early on my favorite techniques were enough to power my way throughout the first half of the game with little variation. I did have to mix things up a bit more after around the midway point, but it was not until the finale that I actually found myself really making the most out of my mech's capabilities.

The other small issue is one that we find in a lot of VR titles, and especially the shooter genre - there is not a ton of content here. While the game is literally a blast t play, and the end sequence is pretty fantastic, the whole thing is over rather quickly, ringing in at several hours of which the first few were pretty easy, as I mentioned earlier.

Archangel is visually superior to most other titles I have played on the Rift so far. The developers really managed to tickle the imagination here, with controls and a view from within your mech that really had me excited, even if the first half of the game presented very little challenge. With more content - and perhaps more of what I saw in the game's closing scenes - Archangel could be a best-in-class VR experience. Even though it falls a bit short of that mark, it is still one of the better offerings in a very crowded field and worth a look.


Game Information

Platform:
PC - Oculus
Developer(s):
Skydance Interactive
Publisher(s):
Skydance Interactive
Genre(s):
Action
Simulation
Mode(s):
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
PlayStation VR

Source:
Provided by Publisher




Article by Nick
Share on Google Plus

No comments :

Post a Comment