Eagle Flight (PS VR)
Release Date: Out Now
Nausea: Limited/Dependent on VR experience
Controllers: DS4 Only
Soar through the skies of a post-apocalyptic Paris, weave through the dilapidated city streets and scale the Eiffel Tower. The only problem is, you may not want to land.
I never thought I’d be referencing Superman 64 and then saying something positive in the next sentence – but here we have it: flying through Superman 64-style rings has never been so much fun. However, there’s much more here than simply flying through rings with an eagle’s beak strapped to your face, though that in itself is an amusing highlight.
After a short tutorial, you are given the options of three game modes, story, free-flight, for if you just want to take a flap around the Parisian sky, and a 3v3 multiplayer mode that I haven’t been able to try yet. The story mode features five areas of Paris to unlock, with more than a dozen main missions and extra expert ones.
The main game begins with another one of those ‘VR wow’ moments. I shan’t say what it is; otherwise, that would ruin the surprise but suffice to say I was beaming from ear to ear. It was soon after this I realised the game is set in the future; all the humans have disappeared, and nature has reclaimed the planet.
The missions are varied: some ask you to fly through rings at high speed, others to find and collect feathers for your nest and later on you’re even asked to take down rival birds. Screeching at other birds to murder them, and see them burst into a puff of feathers, is very satisfying. The city of Paris hides many collectables, a Ubisoft staple, but an excellent way to elongate game time and give players a reason to explore every nook and cranny.
I found myself struggling with the controls at first. They’re not complicated or tricky by any means, but my instinct was to turn my head in the direction I wanted to fly, rather than tilt it, as the game requires. This is something I still suffer with when I’m in a stressful situation, such as a tight tunnel with many twists and turns. The panic causes me to regress several hours and start darting my head from left to right when all I need do is tilt.
There’s another issue when it comes to using your head as a controller: neck ache. You won’t need a neck brace after several hours play by any means, but I did start to feel uncomfortable after an hour or so. I will admit that this is probably down to my inability to tilt rather than turn. The DS4 is used to speed up and down, as well as to attack and defend from enemy birds. The controls are simple and work well.
Throughout the entirety of the game, you have a beak protruding from the bottom of the visor, reminding you at all times you’re an eagle. The sides and top of the visor are darkened – I assume for VR comfort reasons. The edges of the screen darken even more the closer you get to an obstacle, which at first is quite off-putting. While these comfort options would have been great if the Eagle Flight was a launch game, we’re now several weeks in and a lot of us have our ‘VR legs.’ There should, at the very least, be an option to turn the comfort options off.
Visually the game is great; it’s one of the better looking PSVR games. The animals inhabiting the city do look dated, but it’s forgivable as this is first generation VR, and a launch window game to boot. The sound perfectly suited, the music almost Zelda-esque at times. My only criticism being that the eagle’s squark seems to be a lot louder than everything else; if you have the volume on full, it will hurt.
Later missions can get quite tedious if you fail them more than a couple of times. They’re a lot longer, obviously more difficult and they’ll sometimes throw you a tight turn you weren’t expecting, which you’re not likely to notice in time. For players who prefer a challenge this can only be a good thing, and for players who prefer lower difficulty levels, there’s always the earlier levels to replay or even the free flight mode.
There’s more than enough here to warrant the price tag, and it’s a great glimpse into the future of VR flying games. Hopefully when PSVR user numbers increase we’ll get a full and steady stream of multiplayer matches as they look like they’ll increase the games longevity.
Just like all other VR experiences, it’s tough to convey the experience through words or video. But take my word for it, if you’ve ever wanted to fly, this is the closest you’ll get without jumping out of a plane.
Verdict: 8/10 – Must-buy.