For all the sad people who feel the lack of an Assassin’s Creed game this year, Ubisoft provided an alternative to give you your yearly dose of eagle sounds. In their first VR game, they invite you to explore their home town Paris from the perspective of the franchise’s most famous animal. Will Eagle Flight manage to both fill the gap and stand out as a independent experience?
Paris without humans
It’s been years since I’ve underestimated a game that much. When I first heard of the idea of Eagle Flight, I thought it would be a simple VR flying experience. Instead, Ubisoft surprised me with an actual game that has multiple modes, missions, collectibles and plenty of replay value. Your playground is a future version of Paris after humankind went extinct. All sorts of zoo animals roam freely, and plants took over the city’s most famous landmarks. The open-world you can explore is huge and unrivaled by any other VR game out to date, but despite being the biggest one I’ve seen so far, it merely uses loading times and uses unbelievably clear and detailed textures. It seems like the developers went the extra mile with this game, which would have made so many other early VR games that much better.
Feathers and fish
The depth the game provides is impressive. In singleplayer, you can choose between story sequences, which are quite charming, and many short missions that require you to fly through rings, race through narrow gaps of the city while collecting speed boosts, or to save your eagle mates from hostile birds by defeating them with the soundwaves of your eagle cry. All these missions feature leaderbords and star ratings, which gives you enough reason to improve on your techniques and fully master them. After clearing these missions, you unlock more and more of the stunning open-world, inviting you to collect feathers and fish, just like an eagle would do. Like in Assassin’s Creed, being near these collectibles is indicated by sound signals, making it a really achievable and enjoyable mission to clear each area to the fullest.
After mastering most of the missions of the singleplayer mode, I wasn’t expecting much of the multiplayer. I simply couldn’t see any chance that the game could be transported into a 3v3 online scenario. Again, I was utterly wrong. In each match, one object has to be transported to a target point. Whoever manages this first, claims a point for their team. Having the ability to shoot and shield yourself offers enough room for tactics and allows for great teamwork. This mode would be groundbreakingly good, if it wasn’t for the inexplicable matchmaking. When you enter multiplayer, you enter a lobby with a timer ticking. You have the opportunity to switch teams, which resets this timer. As soon as a team is unbalanced, you can be sure that the weaker team will change side and everything will start over. Moreover, there’s no automatic adjustment of the team size, so that 4v2 and 3v1 matches are a common occurrence. This, paired with only having one single mode at the moment, heavily takes away from an otherwise brilliant mode.
With Eagle Flight, Ubisoft has created the ultimate VR surprise of 2016. Contrary to most of the other virtual reality titles, it offers replay value, clear visuals, a perfect soundstage and is easy to stomach at the same time. Its multiplayer could have used a bit more thought to make it even better, but is still far from being bad. Eagle Flight is an essential title to own and breathes hope into triple-A VR games of the future.
What we liked:
- Vast and beautiful open-world
- Angelic sound design
- Stomach-friendly gameplay
- Brilliant multiplayer
What we didn’t like:
- Lack of multiplayer modes
- Awful matchmaking
This review was written using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by Ubisoft. How do you like the idea of an actual Assassin’s Creed VR game? Which country would you like to explore? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!