A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Archangel is a downloadable sci-fi-themed rail shooter for the PlayStation VR. Players aim, punch, and shoot their way through a series of stages in the cockpit of a massive mech, or mechanized suit of armor. The action is nonstop, with players constantly shooting at and being shot at by enemy troops of all shapes and sizes. There's lots of explosive destruction, but not much in the way of blood or gore in the game. The story, which plays out in cut-scenes and through in-game chatter amongst characters, does include some frequent use of profanity.
What's it about?
In the futuristic world of ARCHANGEL, the country has been torn apart because of the actions of the tyrannical corporation HUMNX. For years, the resistance has been beaten down by the company's overwhelming numbers and technological superiority. That is, at least, until the development of Project Deliverance, a heavily armed prototype mech unit dubbed "Archangel". As Archangel's test pilot, you're in charge of taking the new experimental weapon on a test run, when HUMNX launches a surprise attack on your location, killing everyone inside. Pulling yourself from the destruction and into the driver's seat of the last hope of the resistance, you'll take the fight straight to HUMNX's door.
Is it any good?
This VR action game is visually impressive, but the repetition makes it a game that you'll probably only play through once. What science fiction fan hasn't seen a giant robot on the big screen or in a comic book and imagined what it would feel like to be sitting in the cockpit? Archangel lets you live out that fantasy, at least in part, towering over the battlefield, wreaking havoc, and leaving destruction in your wake. The game does a phenomenal job of creating the look and feel of being in control of a massive weapon. The Move controls are surprisingly responsive, especially when you're busy swapping between shields, guns, and missiles. Even reaching out and interacting with the environment, such as punching through overpasses and grabbing containers, feels like second nature. Unfortunately, that's where the immersion ends.
While it's great to be in control of the Archangel's arsenal of weapons, one thing you're never in control of is the Archangel itself. The game is a rail shooter, which takes the piloting out of your hands. Instead, you're essentially playing in a 3D shooting gallery where the only challenge is to point and pull the trigger. You're not piloting a giant mech; instead, it's piloting you. There's also nothing random in the game -- it's simply old-school arcade-like patterns. This means that every time you play through a stage, it's the same exact experience each time. What's surprising the first time around is just routine the second or third time. The game is certainly a fun VR experience at the start, but it's also a "one and done" sort of affair that's a little too repetitive, with no real replay value.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. How does the representation of violence in games affect players? Does large-scale action like in Archangel have more or less of an impact than up close and personal violence of other first-person shooters?
Talk about VR gaming. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks to VR gaming in its current state? What are some ways it can improve, and what are some other benefits to virtual reality technology outside of gaming?
- Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Skydance Interactive
- Release date: July 18, 2017
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood, Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.