"Archangel" has already won half the battle when it comes to virtual reality. It's a game that won't get you sick while playing it.
That means players can just sit back and immerse themselves in a postapocalyptic world where players pilot a six-story mech called Archangel. They are essentially the last hope in a fight against a tyrannical corporation called Humanix. Upon boot up, the first thing that's notable is the scale of the machine. It's enormous and the detail in "Archangel" amplifies the feeling. The footsteps feel heavy. The warmachine lumbers its way through a war-torn America that's been reduced to sand dunes and ruins.
Because "Archangel" is on a track, players can just look around. They don't control where the mech goes and this reduces the chance for players to feel motion sickness. They'll have to concentrate on blowing up Humanix's endless army of shock troopers, tanks and drones. The game starts off easy as the mech's weapons slowly come back online.
It starts with the shields. As Archangel gains more power, players have access to machine guns on one arm and missiles on the other. The skill in the game lies in reading the environment and finding the threats. Players have to activate the shields at the right moments to absorb missiles and bullets while counterattacking with the guns.
In a way, it feels as though there's quick-twitch "Bayonetta" element to the gameplay. Players can't leave the shields on forever so they have selectively use it and aim it in the direction of the attack. The variety of enemies wasn't that impressive. Most of the danger comes from the tanks that roll over the dunes or around buildings. Squads of troops try to ambush players in destroyed high rises, but they're easily dispatches with missiles. Drones are more annoying because they are harder to hit.
I ended up up stuck on one part of the level. I couldn't figure out how to get around an overpass. That's when the developer Chris Busse said that I could punch through it. It's that "well duh" moment of the game, and something I should have figured out with the immersion. Players can punch through obstacles because they are in a nearly unstoppable warmachine.
Lastly, players won't go through "Archangel" alone. They do have computer-controlled sidekicks and a supporting cast that voices them. Busse said players are supposed to bond with these characters and as the pilot of Archangel, they're supposed to want to protect them.
"Archangel" has some potential. It has a sense of place. The universe that Skydance creates is intriguing. If it can keep a consistently high production value, then this could be a virtual reality title to keep an eye on when it's released in July on PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
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