Here at VRFocus we don’t do secondary reviews if a developer releases a major update as the original scores stand for the version that was played – plus there just isn’t enough time in the day/year to achieve that. Occasionally, VRFocus will take a secondary – non-review – look at a videogame that promises to right major wrongs or deliver what was originally promised or intended. Today saw Skydance Interactive launch its Archangel: Hellfire update, moving the original away from its on-rails gameplay to a free-roaming multiplayer design. And for fans of giant fighting robots, Archangel: Hellfire certainly delivers.
The update purely focuses on allowing players to either team up or fight against one another in large open world arenas that likely to put a smile on most players’ faces. The storyline from the campaign travels over to this side, where you’re able to choose a mech from either the United States Free Forces or the evil mega-corporation HUMNX. While their designs are different the mechs themselves are split into three categories; small and nimble with reduced armour, the medium mech, and then the behemoth which is slow but heavily armoured.
Choosing a mech isn’t just about speed and armour, there are various weapons and abilities that change to. They all have standard machine guns on each arm which can then be switched as needed to their secondary option. Without giving too much away, the behemoth for example carries a giant shotgun on one arm and missile launcher on the other. In addition to all these armaments the mechs also have two special abilities which slowly charge to offer either devastating offensive or defensive options.
The modes available in multiplayer are fairly standard, with two types of Team Deathmatch (2v2 and 1v1 PvP) plus a Co-op Mech Assault involving 1-4 players against waves of enemies. These can be played across four maps, a desert, mountain region and city, with a fourth called Agrizone due to be released by the end of the month.
The maps might be few but the gameplay has been expertly tuned to offer exactly what players are after, gigantic mech destruction. Just like the single-player, the inside of each mech suitably looks the part, with plenty of detail throughout. It’s easy to notice the two big buttons that activate the special abilities on either side of the chair, looking up however reveals four very important sliders. These help to fine tune certain aspects of the mech mid battle, adding more power to shields whilst taking away damage. The feature certainly adds that extra strategy element and is easy to overlook when you’re getting pummelled by ordinance.
The mechs themselves have a nice solid stomp to each of them as you wander around the battlefields, adding that immersive feeling of controlling a building sized robot. Thankfully adding some verticality to proceedings each mech can fly for a limited time. More of an extended boost jump really, this not only provides much needed manoeuvrability it allows access to higher parts of the level – usually where health and energy pick-ups can be found.
If you just so happen to be looking for a virtual reality (VR) title where you can fight mates in mechanised suits like some anime film then Archangel: Hellfire is pretty close ideal. As a free update it offers plenty of gameplay excitement, perfectly complimenting the single-player campaign.