- System: PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
- Publisher: Skydance Interactive
- Developer: Skydance Interactive
- Release Date: July 18, 2017
- Rating: T for Teens
- Genre: FPS, Action, Simulation
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://archangelgame.com/
Who it Caters to
Archangel is an otaku’s mecha-pilot dream come true, where one gets to really immerse themselves in the Hero role while piloting a six-foot-tall robot with a co-pilot AI. With the detail and care with which the surroundings were crafted, both inside and outside of the cockpit,
Archangel is made to feel like the player is the lead character in a sci-fi movie. And with its varying difficulty levels, anybody can experience piloting a mech that can go through bridges, skyscrapers and take down enemies like it’s nobody’s business!
What to Expect
Do expect a lot of talking and witty banter from Gabe/Gaby, your AI partner M1KL, and your teammates. This, however, tends to notify you of things going on around you, gives some exposition, or simply brings some levity to the tense situations the player finds themselves in. The only downside to this is that after you die and restart a certain stage, you have to wait and listen to all the same one-liners and back-and-forths as many times as you respawn.
The story and character backgrounds are well-exposed at the beginning and the story develops at a good pace through cutscenes. Until it suddenly ends. Archangel is a short game, a fast learner or a veteran gamer could probably finish the first run in about 3 hours. Despite the short story, however, Archangel delivers what it promises: “Drop into the cockpit of a six-story war machine…” and it does it with style.
Archangel VR - Official Trailer 2
Having the only mech around and with testing interrupted, Gabe/Gabby find themselves in the same situation as the player, learning how to maneuver, protect and attack with Archangel. Luckily, teammates -as well as your AI co-pilot and new BFF, M1KL- are there to give advice, warnings, backup, and even some emotional counseling.
As the battle escalates and M1KL fuses more and more with Archangel’s pilot, the battles get tougher, the enemies larger and the stakes go higher. Without spoiling anything, we’ll just say that Archangel manages to deliver a touching story with great character development on top of all the action and excitement of being immersed in a realistic sci-fi world.
Since Archangel is an on-rails type of shooter, there’s no problem maneuvering around the stages; and looking around you to see your enemy and your surroundings is as easy as…well, looking around! Aiming is done by moving the Move controllers, which displays crosshairs or other aiming markers, making aiming as natural as pointing with your finger. Gameplay-wise, there is a tutorial right at the beginning, and your teammates and M1KL make sure to tell you useful facts about your weapons and such as the game progresses. Learning the controls is intuitive and easy, as they mirror each other in each hand and are placed where one would expect. Triggers are for shooting, big buttons make a fist (good for grabbing/smashing/punching), the shields are activated with X and ◯, while you can switch weapons with △ and ▢.
Your first weapon is a machine gun which does not run out of ammo nor needs to recharge. It does overheat, though, at which point you must give it a few seconds to cool down before continuing to shoot. You go through small tanks, ground troops, and even aerial drones before you obtain the Rocket Launcher. This is where the player’s cycling and timing strategy starts to develop. The rocket launcher needs to reload and it reloads one rocket at a time. The first one has 3 rockets and the upgraded one has a multi-target lock-on system and 6 rounds that makes it much easier to do away with swarms of drones or herds of tanks. However, you can’t shoot and shield at the same time with the same hand, so you need to plan when to shield attacks and when to shoot your enemies, as well as which enemies to knock out first. Observation and good timing are what will get you through the hordes and bosses.
At certain choke points, the player is forced to figure out the best balance between shielding, shooting, and launching rockets, all while taking into account how resistant certain enemies are, and how much damage the hull can take before it breaks and it’s ‘lights out and back to the last checkpoint’. This is really what Archangel is all about.
As you progress through the game, upgrades are unlocked for your hull, weapons and shields. However, enemies get bigger, badder and grow in numbers as you advance, so it’s more than just about the size or ease of use of your guns. The player must really calculate a way to cycle through attacking and covering, while always keeping an eye on the integrity of Archangel’s hull. Unfortunately that gauge is too far on the edge of the display and always just-out-of-reach of your gaze, making it very distracting just to try and see how much HP you have left.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
The setting, characters, and overall design are breathtaking and only add to the immersiveness of the game. Though being on-rails takes away a certain level of control, you barely miss it at all once you’re stuck at a choke point trying to ‘hold ‘em back’. Though it’d be nice if we could skip through some cutscenes and banter when respawning.
Archangel makes you think, plan, engages your hand-eye coordination and gives you a gaming perspective you’ve not experienced before. It’s just too bad it’s so short and has little to no replay value.
- Completely immersive experience.
- Gorgeous, detailed graphics
- Easy, intuitive controls.
- Captivating character development and narrative.
- What you see is what you get. Literally 0 in the way of alternate routes/endings, side quests. Little to no replay value.
- Too short
- While playable with the Dual Shock controller, it is difficult to shield and aim, and awkward overall.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Considering it’s an on-rails shooter, some may think Archangel’s length is just right, but a few things like side-missions, hidden/extra routes, or levels that unlock depending on your achievements each time you finish the game would give it some much-needed replay value and give us more reasons to pick up the game again and again. Though that value could just be that you can choose to pilot a mech pretty much whenever you want!
In the end, Archangel is a game we recommend everyone tries out. It’s one of the best currently available games on the market that allow for an immersive VR experience. This makes Archangel an excellent introductory VR title, and a great game to get a feel for what VR is capable of.
Its only downfall is that the player is left wanting more. But again, this is only the first VR game by Skydance Interactive. We can only imagine there will be more and more content like Archangel -hopefully with more room for experimenting and replaying- in the future from these developers!
Tell us what you think of Skydancer’s Archangel! Do you agree with us? If you haven’t played it, do you want to now that you know a bit more about it? SHare your thoughts in the comments below!