Archangel Review (PSVR)

It has been over a month since I last used my Playstation VR. I find myself much more intrigued by the massive amounts of AAA games coming out lately. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy playing my PSVR; I love whenever I take the time to play it, but the lack of good games coming out for the headset has me wary of picking up anything, especially when there are so many other great non-VR games out there. Now that my rant on the current state of the PSVR is over, let’s get started on my thoughts on Archangel from Skydance Interactive.

Archangel is a rail-shooter in which you control a six story tall mech to prevent a tyrannical corporation from obtaining control of a post-apocalyptic United States. While the rail-shooter seems to be overused in VR, Skydance Interactive has something very special in Archangel. Most people may be turned off by the genre, but i assure you, Archangel is both worth your time and money.

 

Story

The story within Archangel is a fairly simple one. Prevent the bad guys from taking over the United States. Seems pretty straight-forward, right? I’m afraid it isn’t that simple since a combination of the past and present help tell a fairly short, but in-depth story. One thing I noticed while playing Archangel is how much the team over at Skydance Interactive made me care about these characters in such a small amount of time. This small amount of time is very tiny. Like, 5 hours tiny. It would be even faster if I were to go back and play through the game again as I now know the ins and the outs.

The overall character development and plot was something that other VR titles should reference when developing future games. Skydance Interactive took into account the fact that most people with VR don’t want to sit and play a game for hours at a time and with such a short story, they managed to make Archangelvery enjoyable. The team at Skydance Interactive makes you feel for the characters in a way you wouldn’t think possible given the short 5 hour story. This says a lot as there are many games that give you absolutely zero reason to care for anybody within the game.

 

Gameplay

I’m not sure why most gamers tend to have a look of disgust when they hear the words rail and shooter together. Yes, Archangel is a rail-shooter, but it is so much more than that. The game runs and plays so smoothly that I often forgot I was even playing a rail-shooter. Archangel is so complex and has so much going on at one time that it would’ve made the game far more difficult than it already is if you also had to control the movement of the mech.

I found myself loving the mechanics within the game so much to the point that I wanted to see just what the limit was with my different combinations of weaponry. Turns out there weren’t that many combinations. The one thing that took away from Archangel was the lack of guns. Sure, there were 4 different types and a shield, but I was hoping for more. While the “ultimate” ability you have is pretty amazing, it just isn’t enough to fulfill the void of having a vast array of weaponry. Not to mention you only get to use said ability about 3 times total throughout the game. Perhaps this is something they could develop more if they were to decide to make a sequel.

 

Graphics

Going into my playthrough of Archangel, I just assumed it was like many other VR game graphically. Sure there were some buildings that looked to be entirely 2D structures, but the things within the game that really matter are amazing. The mech you spend 99% of the game in is extremely detailed and they really spent a lot of time working on it, and it shows. The mech as a whole is one of the best things I’ve seen graphically using my Playstation VR. This says a lot. If the team over at Skydance Interactive were to create a sequel, fingers crossed, they should focus more on the surroundings. While this may be something that is limited by the hardware, it would be a nice touch.

 

Overview

Of all the games I’ve dusted off my Playstation VR for, this is by far the best (though, full disclosure: I haven’t played Resident Evil 7). Archangel is 100% worth the $29.99 price tag. Yes there are only a few weapons to use, but the game makes up for it with it’s really well thought-out and developed story. Graphically, it’s great to look around and check out all the hard work spent detailing the little things. The game as a whole is a VR experience unlike any other. It’s extremely rare to find a rail-shooter with as good of a story as this one. Let’s hope for the sake of all VR units that Archangel is not the last we’ve seen in this universe.

 

 

 

This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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I Built a PC!

After months of deciding whether or not I should build a PC this holiday season I finally did it. With a lot of my friends talking about how much fun PUBG can be, I decided to pull the trigger and buy all the parts I would need for a moderate gaming PC. Below are a list of parts along with some photos I took before putting it all together.

IMG_1678

PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/hsXGpb

CPU: Intel – Core i5-7600K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($221.08 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake – Contac Silent 12 74.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($24.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte – GA-Z270-HD3 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($105.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill – Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($156.34 @ Newegg Marketplace)
Storage: Kingston – A400 120GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus – GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB Turbo Video Card ($274.75 @ OutletPC)
Total: $842.64
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-10-10 23:18 EDT-0400

While most of the fall releases that are coming out will be played on my Xbox One S or my soon to be Xbox One X, I still cannot wait for what the future holds on my new PC. Whether I buy some games that I missed out on during the Steam sales or I buy Destiny 2 yet again (I’m hooked) this computer will be able to handle whatever it is that I throw at it. For now.

REVIEW / Arizona Sunshine (PSVR)

For the past few months my PlayStation VR has collected dust sitting next to my PlayStation 4. I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t want to take the time to set everything up or if there just aren’t any PSVR games that I want to play. What I do know is that with all the buzz around Arizona Sunshine since it’s launch on the HTC Vive, I could not wait for the PSVR port of the game.

Arizona Sunshine is a zombie-thriller made for VR. While that genre may seem over used the past 10 or so years, Arizona Sunshine has something special that kept me intrigued the entire time. You play as a man (unnamed) who wakes up in an Arizona river valley that is littered with beer cans. From there your adventure begins as you explore your surroundings, kill zombies, and eventually find a radio that has a weak signal in which you faintly hear a human’s voice.

The story as a whole exceeds anything I’ve played on my PSVR to date (I’ve not yet played Resident Evil 7). From the moment you find the radio signal on, it is filled with mystery and excitement as you track down the source. While short, the story was both exciting and intriguing. That’s not to mention the fact that the entire thing is playable in Co-op. Co-op is one my favorite ways to play games so this was a huge plus for the game. Being a zombie game, Arizona Sunshine has its fair share of jump-scares and creepy scenes which I very much both appreciated and hated.

Mechanically Arizona Sunshine plays just about as good as any VR game can play on the PlayStation 4. I found little to no problems at all when it came to tracking my motions. Also, I did not feel even slightly sick a single time, despite having played 4 hours straight one night. While aiming down the sights of a gun there are no problems for me.There are some people having problems with this, but it may be that they have not calibrated their systems properly. The weapons all feel very natural to use with the Move controllers. My favorite weapon in the game is easily the sniper rifle. Using both hands to hold the gun up and also looking through the scope felt so natural that hopefully there is a  sniper simulator come to PSVR in the near future.

Aside from being able to play the game cooperatively, the team over at Vertigo games added a horde mode. This was one of the weaker points of the game. While the mechanics and weapons all play nicely, the maps for horde were very small and restricting. You and your team are essentially trapped in a small bunker while waves of zombies attack. This mode would benefit greatly by adding larger maps.

Overall Arizona Sunshine is a great buy for anyone looking to play a good story on their PSVR. Hell, if you also have a friend with a headset I’d strongly recommend you both pick this up. Horde maps aside, Arizona Sunshine may be one of the better games available for the PlayStation VR.

Pokemon Go Fest Chicago

July 22, 2017. That’s the date of which many Pokemon Go fans gathered at Grant Park in a little town called Chicago, Illinois for the first ever official event at Pokemon Go Fest. That is also the date that many were let down by Niantic because of Pokemon Go Fest. As many of you who may read this have heard, Pokemon Go Fest was a bummer for many. Grab your Pokedex and get ready for one bumpy ride as I go over both the bad news and the good news. Which would you like first?

Let’s get the bad news over with first. When I arrived at Grant Park around 8 AM Saturday morning I was able to enter the fest almost immediately after picking up my media pass. As the gates did not open until 9 am for those who had early entry badges and 10 am for general admission, I find myself extremely lucky to have been granted early access. This is especially because while the official start time was at 10 AM, there were many attendees who didn’t even get into the park until around 11:30 because of the long line. This was the first strike for many. They waited all morning just to get in the park. The single entrance only had about 6 people checking bags and about 10 scanners to scan your wristband upon entry. With better planning, Niantic could have easily had more than the single entrance to get attendees into the festival more efficiently.

One other downside of the festival, which is the biggest one, is that Pokemon Go was almost completely unplayable the entire day. While people that were not near the park could play, the amount of people at Grant Park prevented anyone from being able to connect to the game. Those that were able to play on and off throughout the day, myself included. This is a major problem for a festival revolving around a mobile game, because nobody was able to play the game as expected.

Towards the end of the day a spokesperson had this to say to the small group of press that was present,“Obviously they can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today, but they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results,” a spokesperson told a small group of press on behalf of the development team toward the end of the event. “So hopefully this is something that we will never see replicated again, learn from this and move on.” He went on to say,“I’m super sorry guys — I’m really sorry especially for everyone who traveled international, East Coast, from all over. So this clearly was not what we were hoping for today. Thanks for your patience.”

Amidst all the chaos of the fans nearly booing the CEO, John Hanke, off the stage and chanting things like, “WE CAN’T PLAY” or “FIX THE GAME” I wouldn’t say that all was terrible coming out of the event. For one, it was a gathering of like-minded people who not only like gaming, but are crazy for both Pokemon and Pokemon Go alike. This was one of the coolest aspects of the event. The number of people I talked to at Pokemon Go Fest just because we all had something in common was pretty remarkable. Many of those that I spoke with said that while the day wasn’t ideal, they were making the best of it enjoying the company of their colleagues.

While the event was supposed to to come to an end with a mystery event around 7 PM, the festival was cut short at about 5. I think this is mainly because what Niantic had planned (legendary raid?) simply was not possible because of the “Network Error” or “Failed to Login” notifications upon logging in to the game. Niantic cut it short by announcing that we at Grant Park, and those playing around the world, had managed to unlock the bonuses associated with the gold tier. Along with these bonuses, everyone who had attended the event and successfully redeemed their unique QR code would get a free Lugia in their account. They also went on to let everyone at the park know that $100 worth of Poke Coins (in-game currency) would be deposited to the accounts of everyone in attendance along with refunds of their tickets. The refunds are a great touch, but there were people who paid hundreds of dollars for their tickets who are only going to get $20 back, let alone those who traveled across the country, or the world.

In the end there were many people left with a bad taste in their mouth because of how the entire event unfolded. However, not all was bad. The interaction between everyone there was a great thing to witness. The team at Niantic that worked on both Pokemon Go and the arrangement of the Festival itself are onto something great. Had the game actually worked as planned throughout the day, there is no doubt in my mind that Pokemon Go Fest would’ve gone down as one of the greatest gatherings of like-minded gamers to date. Let’s hope that the first attempt at Pokemon Go Fest helps Niantic learn from their mistakes and make the next Fest something very special for all in attendance.