Posted June 23, 2017 by Daniel Kizana in News

E3 2017: Archangel VR Preview

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that until my eyes-on preview with Skydance’s upcoming VR shooter, Archangel, I’d had very little experience with VR. A friend of mine owns a headset attachment for his Android phone, on which I enjoyed an animated and interactive tour through some of Vincent van Gogh’s most popular works. Entertaining, sure, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a VR commando. Good thing Skydance had a giant robot do the fighting for me.

Archangel puts you in the gunner’s seat of an enormous mech, and tasks your squad with stopping a tyrannical corporation from enslaving the remnants of post-apocalyptic America. It’s nothing revolutionary, but Skydance have done well to include frequent radio chatter with squad-mates and leadership, which fleshes out the world and plot. Always nice to see in an action title.

Gunplay is explosive and surprisingly tactical, with different enemies requiring varied shield and fire patterns, specific weapons or charged attacks. Combat is incredibly immersive thanks to the individual tracking of each arm, which allows for individual aiming, weapon combos, and the best shielding system I’ve ever seen in a game.

Archangel has some intense moments; holding a shield up with my left arm, blind firing around it with my right, as countless enemy rockets explode upon its surface and obscure my vision. I tell you, it certainly feels like you’re in a giant war machine. The decision to put the mech ‘on rails’ and automate its movement was a strong one also, as not needing to focus on piloting the mech frees up both of your arms for use in combat at all times.

Both preview maps looked current-gen and were paced well, but their designs were a little bland. The locations are good enough; a ruined city swallowed by the desert, and a military installation in the alps. However, there isn’t anything populating the world. There’s nothing else going on around you, just flat textures. It doesn’t negatively impact gameplay, but it does detract from the atmosphere. Hopefully this can be worked on before the game hits shelves.

Since my preview was only a short one, there isn’t a great deal else to say about Skydance’s Archangel. It hasn’t convinced me to buy a VR headset just yet, though it was a fantastic first (proper) experience, and I’m excited to see how else they improve the game before release in July.

Daniel Kizana



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