VR game Archangel nails gameplay, graphics, and story (review)

Archangel
Virtual reality is one of the biggest innovations in the world of gaming today. A lot of titles give you that fun arcade-style gameplay that is great for pick up and play. And many have succeeded in delivering a hi-fidelity graphical experience that is amazing to look at. However, this is where I feel VR has been falling short. There are very few games have captured that essence of a traditional console or PC game. Thanks to the recent release of Skydance Interactives’ Archangel, we get a fast-paced and intense VR mech-shooter that will test your skills while delivering an excellent story.

Gameplay/Story

Archangel takes place hundreds of years in the future where the government has handed over power to greedy corporations. And as you’d expect, things don’t go the way they had hoped. After a short training mission, you will get to go inside your mech alongside your team of 3. Each will be piloting their own APC-type vehicle, and you will set off to fight the evil corporations. The game wastes no time with establishing the characters and their personalities. And as you progress, they will continue to develop until the credits roll. Your most interesting ally is by far your mech’s A.I. companion M1kL. It is neurally linked to you so that it may learn from your experiences while offering advice during combat. Archangel also delves into the main character’s backstory using digitized flashbacks that help to flesh out key moments in his/her life.

Every mission constantly raises the ante, adding new threats that will continue to test the players’ reflexes. This is done by increasing enemy types along with their health, damage, and adding new attack patterns. The player will also be able to cash in points earned after every mission to enhance their mech. The player will be able to enhance each of their 4 weapon choices, shields, as well as hull integrity (health). Examples of these enhancements can be a bigger explosion radius on rockets, increased ammo, or my favorite upgrade, a minor health regeneration when shielding damage on impact. Each upgrade is noticeable immediately, so that players aren’t thinking whether they made the right choice or not.

Highlights

Archangel does a lot of things right. The campaign is a great and averages around 5 to 7 hours. Furthermore, it is complemented with the option of replaying missions so that you can upgrade your mech even more. You can also attempt a new run on the incredibly difficult permadeath mode. The action is constant, the gaps are filled with great storytelling and character development by the in-game conversations with your team. There are also a few cut-scenes that will occasionally occur mid-levels. And this was done well except for the digitizing effect that is used while starting them.

There are a few missteps, however. The sharp contrast of colors and light when the scene is building is a little too much for even someone like me who spends multiple hours a day in the virtual reality world. Also while the campaign was a great and succinct story, I really feel like I was just getting to understand the world and truly connect with the characters as it came to a close.

Final Reaction

The diverse characters in Archangel is a welcome sight, although the narrative doesn’t specifically benefit from it. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was a bit giddy when I found out a large portion of the cast were people of color. A few things I would have liked to see in the game would have been more objects in the environment being destructible as well as some alternate paths based on player performance similar to classic Star Fox titles.

Overall Archangel is a great story filled with adrenaline-packed action from start to finish with a strong narrative and great character development. It never really takes its foot off the pedal which benefits it by keeping the player engaged with the quick pacing and dynamic action of the narrative up to its conclusion. Archangel is a worthy pickup for anyone with a VR headset and looking for a lot more than the short-lived isolated experiences in other VR titles. Here’s to hoping this isn’t the last we see of the game.

Archangel is available for the PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

*Archangel was reviewed using a downloadable retail key provided by Skydance Interactive.

About author

Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 317 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.

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