It has been over a month since I last used my Playstation VR. I find myself much more intrigued by the massive amounts of AAA games coming out lately. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy playing my PSVR; I love whenever I take the time to play it, but the lack of good games coming out for the headset has me wary of picking up anything, especially when there are so many other great non-VR games out there. Now that my rant on the current state of the PSVR is over, let’s get started on my thoughts on Archangel from Skydance Interactive.
Archangel is a rail-shooter in which you control a six story tall mech to prevent a tyrannical corporation from obtaining control of a post-apocalyptic United States. While the rail-shooter seems to be overused in VR, Skydance Interactive has something very special in Archangel. Most people may be turned off by the genre, but i assure you, Archangel is both worth your time and money.
The story within Archangel is a fairly simple one. Prevent the bad guys from taking over the United States. Seems pretty straight-forward, right? I’m afraid it isn’t that simple since a combination of the past and present help tell a fairly short, but in-depth story. One thing I noticed while playing Archangel is how much the team over at Skydance Interactive made me care about these characters in such a small amount of time. This small amount of time is very tiny. Like, 5 hours tiny. It would be even faster if I were to go back and play through the game again as I now know the ins and the outs.
The overall character development and plot was something that other VR titles should reference when developing future games. Skydance Interactive took into account the fact that most people with VR don’t want to sit and play a game for hours at a time and with such a short story, they managed to make Archangel very enjoyable. The team at Skydance Interactive makes you feel for the characters in a way you wouldn’t think possible given the short 5 hour story. This says a lot as there are many games that give you absolutely zero reason to care for anybody within the game.
I’m not sure why most gamers tend to have a look of disgust when they hear the words rail and shooter together. Yes, Archangel is a rail-shooter, but it is so much more than that. The game runs and plays so smoothly that I often forgot I was even playing a rail-shooter. Archangel is so complex and has so much going on at one time that it would’ve made the game far more difficult than it already is if you also had to control the movement of the mech.
I found myself loving the mechanics within the game so much to the point that I wanted to see just what the limit was with my different combinations of weaponry. Turns out there weren’t that many combinations. The one thing that took away from Archangel was the lack of guns. Sure, there were 4 different types and a shield, but I was hoping for more. While the “ultimate” ability you have is pretty amazing, it just isn’t enough to fulfill the void of having a vast array of weaponry. Not to mention you only get to use said ability about 3 times total throughout the game. Perhaps this is something they could develop more if they were to decide to make a sequel.
Going into my playthrough of Archangel, I just assumed it was like many other VR game graphically. Sure there were some buildings that looked to be entirely 2D structures, but the things within the game that really matter are amazing. The mech you spend 99% of the game in is extremely detailed and they really spent a lot of time working on it, and it shows. The mech as a whole is one of the best things I’ve seen graphically using my Playstation VR. This says a lot. If the team over at Skydance Interactive were to create a sequel, fingers crossed, they should focus more on the surroundings. While this may be something that is limited by the hardware, it would be a nice touch.
Of all the games I’ve dusted off my Playstation VR for, this is by far the best (though, full disclosure: I haven’t played Resident Evil 7). Archangel is 100% worth the $29.99 price tag. Yes there are only a few weapons to use, but the game makes up for it with it’s really well thought-out and developed story. Graphically, it’s great to look around and check out all the hard work spent detailing the little things. The game as a whole is a VR experience unlike any other. It’s extremely rare to find a rail-shooter with as good of a story as this one. Let’s hope for the sake of all VR units that Archangel is not the last we’ve seen in this universe.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.