Archangel: Hellfire — Hands-on with the Mech VR game of my dreams

I once again had the pleasure of climbing into the pilot’s seat of a war machine, and got to dive head-first into not one, but two new maps in Archangel: Hellfire. Archangel may have started out as an on-rails VR shooter game, but the expansion, Archangel: Hellfire, is going off-rails, bringing with it 2-v-2 PVP as well as a 1-4 player horde mode experience, including more challenging and more strategic combat. I climbed into the pilot seat of my war mech, reacquainting myself with the the controls, as the Skydance crew explained the ins and outs of piloting a war robot combat to my wingman, who hadn’t played the game since it went off-rails.

Our first stop was the new Horde Mode, where up to four players can team up to survive wave after wave planes, tanks, choppers, and just about everything else the evil HUMNX Corporation could throw at us. This mode is incredibly hard, and requires you to keep moving, use the terrain itself as cover, plan your next move, and stay in constant communication with your partner. We… didn’t do that. Between my rusty skills and this being my wingman’s first time moving his war mech around, we died pretty quickly. As you can see from the video above, we didn’t survive long enough to grab up the supplies our USFF allies so kindly delivered. We did last a bit longer during our second round, as we became more acquainted with our machines.

Archangel: Hellfire Horde Mode Co-op gameplay

This also gave us the chance to check out Archangel’s ‘arcade’ mode. Archangel is delightfully complex, and figuring out the perfect setting (and remembering to switch those settings in the heat of battle) is an art in and of itself. This makes for great replayability, but it can be a bit much to take in at first; enter the arcade mode. Intended to be used in VR arcades, this mode requires less toggling, learning, and remembering, making it an ideal experience for first-time players.

We then jumped into PVP, which turned into an intense and extensive game of hide-and-seek involving giant robots and rocket launchers on the new Sanctuary map. Teaming up 2-v-1 against Guy Costantini, the VP of Global Interactive Marketing for Skydance, who happens to know a thing or two about this game. The Sanctuary map was an impressively large map filled with delapticated buildings which you could crawl beneath, stand upon, and get utterly lost in. Queuing up on the HUMNX side, we first got to explore the new Elite skins, then acquaint ourselves with this sprawling, demolished metropolis as we searched for and attempted to gun down our lone opponent.

The combat feels just as good as it did previously, but the buildings and the sheer size of the map makes this a whole different experience. Taking the high ground requires you to treat the game rather like a platformer, judging how far and high your machine can jump, while also judging just how exposed you’ll be while making that leap. Keeping to the ground allows you to scavenge for health and energy, but leaves you vulnerable to being cornered or target from above. It’s fun and it’s frustrating in all the right ways, and I can’t wait to see more.

Archangel: Hellfire is available now in the Steam store, and Skydance has knocked $30 off the price, bringing it down to $20. Anyone who previously purchased Archangel already have access Hellfire, and with the addition off-rails combat and the new co-op mode, there’s never been a better time to climb into the cockpit and take the new new mech classes, maps, and elite skins for a test flight.

Chaotic wholesome. Dice-maker. DM and TTRPG performer. Shiny Pokémon hunter. Kay works in video games during the day, speaks at conferences during the weekends, and pretends to be an orc, tiefling, android, etc by night.

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