Archangel from Skydance Interactive is a PS VR release that places you in the cockpit of a six-story tall mech. Learn more in our Archangel review!
Before you go any further, be warned that I do mention some story spoilers in the first part of this review. Still here? Great!
In Archangel, you start by choosing which gender you want to play as (Gabe or Gabby). After this, you materialize on a train with a young 10-year-old kid who is your son. After a few minutes of talking with your son, you arrive at the end of the line where you are about to test a 100ft tall mech as your son watches over you from a high platform. As you enter the Mech, you’ll get to choose your control method, whether you want to use the Dualshock 4 or the PlayStation Move controllers – using the latter gives you a pair of cool blue hands.
Next, you head into a testing mode where you’ll calibrate and test out your weapons – this bit teaches you how to use your various weapons, including your shields. I must say the controls are very responsive and smooth, which is always a good thing in a PS VR game. Another ship comes into play and throws nanobots in canisters, and then you get a chance to fire at some more drones.
As you come out of testing mode, you find that a device has been planted, but it is too late to do anything about it. The device blows up the main area, killing everyone in there – including your son. You’re the only survivor of this tragedy.
You’re forced to leave the bunker and head outside, where you realize an invasion is taking place. The guns in your mech malfunction, but at least your shields are working. Once you get things up and running, you’ll run into many enemies in the first section, from infantry to tanks, which you’ll get to destroy thanks to your locked and loaded machine guns and rocket launchers.
The problem you do have is that the mech you’re riding is a prototype, which means there are a few issues with its software, and that means it glitches out every and then. Luckily you have some help thanks to the support ships that fly alongside you, providing some added firepower, or helping you with some nanobots to help you recover your hull’s integrity.
At the end of each phase, you are able to upgrade your mech. Upgrades include better shields, weapons, and hull endurance. During the end phase, you will hail each of the other captains that and talk to them 1 – 1, which allows you to gain some insight into their personalities. The lip sync is way out on some of the videos, so the mouths will keep moving, but no words will come out of them. That small issue aside, you’ll notice the voiceovers are actually quite good and help bring each captain to life.
During the next few levels, you will get to wander through what remains of downtown Chicago, shooting down drones, kamikaze drones, new tanks and stronger flying mechs. As you do this, you’ll be looking for blackout jammer which is affecting your systems. Somehow the enemies get into your systems and try to hack your mech, which is certainly not a good thing. You’ll also come across “Generator” tanks, which means there will be a bunch of tanks with shields around them, and you have to look around to find the generator to blow it up so that the thanks lose their shields, thus leaving them vulnerable.
This is as far as I’ll go to talk about the game’s story and setting, so that you can get to experience the rest of it without any additional spoilers.
As you move through the game, you will get a very nice upgrade to your rockets to “paintable” ones, so that you can select multiple targets and blow them all to smithereens. This is a nice addition to the mechs weaponry, and you can easily swap these in by pressing the Square button.
I must mention something: the game is hard. Really hard. If you’re not careful, the waves of enemies you must defeat can cause considerable damage to your hull. I died several times during my review, but this was also partially my fault as I didn’t properly use my shields and ended up having them run out at the worse of times when an onslaught of enemies was ready to take me out.
The graphics in the game are really nice, and the animations are so smooth that you do find yourself immersed in the game, which is great for a solid PS VR experience. The visual explosions and sound effects are solid as well, and it feels great when you destroy a set of enemies with a barrage of rockets. As far as replayability goes, you can play through the game with different settings or go back through as the other character you didn’t select to see if there are any big changes to the overall beats of the story.
All in all, Archangel is an impressive on rails shooter that feels right at home on PlayStation VR. I initially thought the game was not going to be something I’d dig, but its immersive storytelling and action combo kept me busy until the end. Skydance Interactive have done a great job with this one, and I honestly can’t wait to see what they develop next.
This Archangel review is based on a PlayStation VR copy provided by Skydance Interactive.