Archangel review for PSVR

Platform: PlayStation VR
Also On: PC
Publisher: Skydance Interactive
Developer: Skydance Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Virtual Reality on the PlayStation 4 has been a kind of a mixed bag since it’s release. We’ve seen some really great games with others only being mildly entertaining. Then you have the downright awful games that are just a pain to play. Thankfully, Archangel starts out as a one of the mildly entertaining and manages to almost make it to great status, but a few issues prevent it from getting to the top tier.

As the game begins you are in the role of one of two protagonists, a male soldier and a female soldier. For this review I chose the male character, but choosing the female character warrants the same campaign, just with a different main character. You are a pilot of a new kind of giant robot that was created to tip the scales of a war currently being fought on earth. After you get yourself acquainted with the controls and do a test run of weapons, your base is suddenly attacked and everyone in the base, with the exception of you and your attack team, are killed. This includes the son of the main character, which sends him into a uncontrollable rage. With your Mech armed, you and your team set out to destroy the entire enemy army by yourselves! His rage is the only thing driving him to keep going, and nothing will stop him from destroying the enemy and their arrogant leader.

You can control the Mech with the standard controller, or use a set of Move controllers. Using the controller is a bit awkward as you will be constantly arming shields on each arm at the same time shooting weapons. It can also get confusing trying to aim your reticle for precise aiming. Using 2 Move controllers greatly improves the overall feel you have way more control of the mech itself, most notably being able to move each individual arm and the ability to aim the reticule better. You don’t have to move through any area, as the entire game is a sort of an on-rails shooter, similar to, but not exactly like Time Crisis and House of the Dead.

Each mission, your team heads into unbeatable odds and your only job is to survive the onslaught of seemingly never ending enemies all around you. As you being, your weapons are weak and minimal, but as you progress you can upgrade them to deal even more damage. You can also upgrade your shields and armor to take more damage, and considering that you will be taking a ton throughout each level, maxing out the shields should be your first priority! Upgrading the weapons also helps with the later missions, as your enemies become smarter and harder to kill as you progress.

The big issue with Archangel that is keeping it from being one of the top tier VR games is that is just too short. You can play through the entire campaign in about 2 to 3 hours. I was having so much fun that I never wanted it to stop and just like that, it was over. I can only hope from some DLC to extend the campaign, but I won’t hold my breath. To try and remedy the length, the developers added a few difficulty levels to try to make the experience seem longer than it is. Easy and Normal are over quickly, while Hard and, the aptly named, Permadeath modes last a bit longer, but get frustrating with how unfair they seem.

Visually, everything looks great, albeit with some minor inconsistent issues. Character animations are a bit jerky, and some areas look like they could have used more detail. These very minor gripes do not in any way hurt the presentation or the game play at all, and is actually far better looking than many other PlayStation VR games. On the audio front, this is definitely a game you need headphones for, as every explosion and missile you fire sound fantastic! Having headphone also helps you surround yourself in the environment and enjoy. The voice acting is somewhat cheesy, but it’s not terrible and it won’t hurt you to hear it.

Archangel is a great game, but it’s overall length and high price tag may put off many players. It’s not hard to learn and super fun to blast everything in site like a futuristic Rambo, but I wish there was more to it than what is presented here. Side missions or maybe even some extra challenges would have helped out greatly. You can replay any mission you have completed, but that can only keep you busy for so long. Bottom line, I do highly recommend Archangel, as you will have a kick ass time. If it’s length and price don’t bother you, well, get it now and start blasting everything in site!

Grade: B+