Review by Wild Ali

Reviewed: 09/22/03

Great game, but not without its problems

I first saw Archangel at my local EBGames just a month ago. I looked at the box, thought to myself, 'hmm...this could be a nice game. And GS compared it to Soul Reaver?? I'm there!' But then I saw the cheap price tag, thought it over, and decided to pass on the game for now.

Fast forward a month. I've played the demo by then, and was fairly impressed. And now, I had the full deal in my hands, ready to go. I'm halfway through the game with a few days added to absorb it all, I'm here, writing what could very well be the only review this game gets. it a good game? Yes. Is it similar to Soul Reaver? Yes. Is it flawed considerably? Unfortunately, that answer is yes as well. But even with its problems, it's still a game thats worth buying, especially for 14.99. Read on to see why.

Archangel didn't get a lot of press. It's a nice little game from a small group of German developers. The game got published by JoWood to little fanfare. It didn't do as well as they'd hoped, so future support for the game was dropped. That means chances for a future patch are minimal at best.

The game was a labor of love; you can see the care put into every little detail. But being the small company that they are, they were bound to make errors...some small, some major.

Graphics: 8 - The graphics for Archangel are quite good, better than you'd probably expect from an upstart developer. The textures for Archangel look great in combat mode...but unfortunately, the character models for NPCs aren't very good. However, the enemy models are some of the best in the game. Cutscenes are limited, but effective; eye movement and competent lip-synching are some of the engine highlights.

Sound: 8 - The game has great music with lots of emotional flair, and SFX are also very good, but the voice acting ranges from acceptable to just horrible. This brings down the score quite a bit.

Control: 7 - Control itself is pretty good, with a solid camera. But there is problems. Certain buttons are bugged. Some keys are binded by default, but can't be re-binded if they happen to be changed for a time. The brightness setting is also bugged; it can't be permanently saved in options.

Gameplay: 9 - This deserves an 8.7 or something, but this is close enough. Gameplay is great. It plays like Soul Reaver, in that you kill baddies in a 3rd person perspective, and collect upgrades to your character and solve quests in Diablo-esque fashion. But there are some oddities. For one, the Sword of Light can't be swung unless it is charged. WHY THE HECK IS THAT?! If it's just a normal sword when uncharged, then it should be capable of being used AS A NORMAL, UNCHARGED SHORT SWORD!! Hell, if it's THAT unbalanced, just make it slightly weaker than your average short-sword (though it's weak enough already), but at least allow for constant attacking.

Second, while you're weapons are binded to hot-keys, and can be re-binded to *almost* any button you wish, your ''Divine Powers'' can't be binded to hot-keys. Imagine in Diablo 2, that you had to go into your skill index everytime you wanted to change a skill. You'd die 2/3 of the time! Unfortunately, this is reality for Archangel. To use any Divine Power, you must first enter the inventory, highlight a skill, then press the left mouse button to use it. In a firefight, this is unacceptable. Luckily, the game memorizes which skill was used last, so after a skill gets highlighted, it stays that way, unless you reload or quit.

And finally, the game itself is obviously rushed in ways. For one, the story is just random, and makes little sense in ways. Three stones that have the power to save the world...but you only use them TO OPEN SOME FREAKING PORTAL?! And why is this guy back in the old days after being hit by a car? I'm sure it's explained eventually, but damned if it isn't weird as hell.

And for a so-call ''Warrior of Light'', he sure is one violent, tough-talking bringer of death.

Overall: 7 - Archangel is a good game, but there are just some things that are strange. Some things are just plain wrong. But in the end, it's DEFINITELY worth fifteen bucks. So go out and get yourself a copy.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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