Free as a bird
If you’d have told me a year ago that I would be sat wearing a PlayStation VR headset, flying over Paris gazing upon it’s famous landmarks from a bird’s eye view I’d have thought you mad but here I am doing just that thanks to Eagle Flight from Ubisoft.
Eagle Flight welcomes you into its post-apocalyptic version of Paris with a brief tutorial that runs you through the controls, explains that humans abandoned the city over fifty years ago and shows you that nature has reclaimed the city. It’s essentially the same old Paris we know and love, you get to see sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame in the distance, but its full of vegetation. If you fly low enough you will get to see and hear plenty of animals roaming the streets.
The main part of Eagle Flight is its story mode, which is fantastically narrated like a nature documentary. The aim of the game is to progress through the districts of Paris and you do this by completing different missions, of which there are three types; time trial, combat (where you have to protect your nest or other birds) and some Pilot Wings fly-through-rings style missions. There’s a three star scoring system in place in this mode but it’s very relaxed so you only need to earn one star in the missions to unlock others. By dipping back into the missions and obtaining three stars you will not only extend the longevity of the game but open up expert challenges which ramp up the precision and accuracy needed to complete.
As well as story mode Eagle Flight also includes collectables (fish and feathers), a free flight mode and an online multiplayer mode. This multiplayer mode is probably the crowning glory of the game, here you’ll get to compete in an aerial version of capture-the-flag with two teams of up to three players. To succeed you need to hunt out the prey and deliver it back to your nest before the opposition. While it’s a little difficult to find other players once you’re in a match it does provide memorable moments. If you fly low enough you can go undetected under the opponents radar but this is a high risk tactic which will see you frantically tilting your head from side to side as you try to weave in and out of buildings and through trees.
The controls are simple, the DualShock 4 handles the speed and a screech attack, which you use during the combat missions and multiplayer mode, while the PSVR headset controls the movement. As with most virtual reality games you are free to look around in every direction. You can ascend and descend by looking up or down but if you want the eagle to turn you tilt your head. This takes a bit of time to get the hang of, but it definitely prevents you from getting a stiff neck!
Graphically Eagle Flight doesn’t go for photo-realism but instead opts for a stunning cartoon-like art style. A number of VR titles have already used this style and in this game it works really well, it helps to create a believable version of Paris. Ubisoft have paired the visuals with a subtle music score that compliments the sound effects without over powering them. If you’ve suffered from VR nausea or motion sickness in other games you’ll be pleased to know that Eagle Flight lets you experience everything through the eyes of the bald eagle, complete with its beak in your field of sight, which means there should be no ill feeling or discomfort when playing.
Eagle Flight has thirty-five trophies to earn and if you want to pop them all you’ll need to three star each challenge, find all the collectables, win 200 multiplayer games, eliminate a whole host of winged creatures and fly for 1609 kilometers.
Eagle Flight’s intuitive controls and immersive feel make this game one of the most enjoyable PlayStation VR titles I’ve played. It’s easy to spend countless hours exploring Paris and searching for the collectables in free flight mode. Then there’s the story mode with its calm documentary style narrative as well as the “edge of your seat” multiplayer mode to tackle. Paris by night might be OK but Paris by flight is a whole new world.
NelMaNo Rating – 9/10
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