After surviving a devastating car crash, players awaken as a man named Michael Travinsky and find themselves in an ancient monastery. Referred to as The Chosen One, Michael is brought before the Lord of Light, who reveals to him an unlikely destiny: that of a righteous warrior who must stand against the Evil One's demonic hordes. In their chosen form -- Ghost or Warrior -- players embark on a quest that will determine the fate of all mankind. The Ghost form imbues the character with the power of invisibility, as well as the ability to cast a powerful radial spell. The Warrior form increases Michael's physical strength and reduces the damage received from enemy attacks.
Spiritual Energy governs Michael's ability to wield the supernatural powers he has been granted, thus he can remain in either of these forms only as long as he has enough energy to sustain them. Endowed with the Sword of Light, a supernatural implement said to have been used by the Lord of Light himself, Michael must fight his way through three chapters taking place in Antiquity, a futuristic Berlin, and the World of Evil. The Sword also requires Spiritual Energy, though while waiting for his Spirit meter to recharge Michael can make use of corporeal weapons such as a barbarian axe, bow, CUW-9 pistol, shotgun, sniper rifle, machine gun, rocket launcher, and more.
By smiting the hellish hordes and completing quests, Michael earns Essence. This works like experience points, which can be used to improve existing abilities or learn new ones, including such useful faculties as health regeneration, night vision, and more. A log book allows players to track available quests, completed objectives, and monsters encountered.
If your life would end with something like a car accident how would you react if you would wake in some other time, inside a monastery, where a bunch of monks tell you that you are "The Awaited One", having justice on your side and being forced to fight against the forces of Evil? I'm sure you would ask some questions or even refuse the task you were given or in the worst case deny everything while thinking that you recognize this cliché even if you have played just a few FPSs or RPGs in your whole life. But if your name is Michael Travinsky you will accept gladly that your new existence has a purpose which in fact is the reason the Archangel storyline.
The ones expecting Archangel to be a pure RPG will be disappointed. There is no character tweaking system, but a two path choice that you must make once you get out of that monastery. You get to play either like a ghost or like a warrior. Even if both sides offer you different skills (Light Shield, Hypnosis, Holy Protection, Regeneration), they are not two distinctive experiences. The common element is the Sword of Light, the only efficient weapon against all your enemies. The bad news is the weapon needs mana (named spirit energy inside the game) to recharge so you will have to do lots of strafing, running or even keeping your distance if you want to kill an enemy. There is no way you can block enemy strikes or worse you cannot hit some monsters unless they hit you first. Fortunately you get more weapons to play with, some of them characteristic to one of the three episodes you are in: swords, axes, different kind of guns, a rocket launcher or even a bow with different types of arrows. Besides the fact that the trajectory of the arrows is curved you can really tell the differences between the weapons. For example, the rifle won't allow you to shoot an enemy from a great distance. This is how the game makes you choose the right weapon at the right moment which is not as hard as you may think because you are able to assign all of them to different keys.
The interface is a little bit hard to use. If weapons can be selected very rapidly, this doesn't happen when you want to select items or choose a skill - it is frustrating sometimes to press two keys to do that. All the skills have just three levels which need a certain amount of essence. For each quest you finish and each monster you kill you receive experience points (essence) or even items or access cards. To make your life easier the med-kits are automatically used when your life lowers under a certain value. This fact will certainly upset the ones that like to rest a bit in a safe place, waiting for their mana to regenerate because it was previously used instead of life energy.
To go through to the next act you don't have to fulfill all the quests but there is a bug in the first episode. I had already finished one of the quests when I met a NPC which advised me how to handle it. Concerning the other negative aspects, I must point that there is no multiplayer in Archangel which will seriously affect it's life time. There is no map also. Even if the levels are somehow linear (the quest order can differ a little bit) you feel sometimes disoriented, you cannot find the point of you departure or the one where you have to get. A very good example is the cave of the seven seals where I spent a few hours because of its architecture. The producers implemented a few secret locations and if you find them the reward will be great. The fact is that sometimes you will have to find them to this can be a hard task for the ones who don't pay too much attention to details or who want to finish this game in a very short period of time.
Visually Archangel is a little bit old. There are fewer animations, low poly characters and Michael Travinsky has the bad habit of slipping when he is changing weapons. It should be enough if I tell you that overall graphics contributes to the nice atmosphere the game creates with the help of the Wireframe Engine which really manages to combine all the elements. Some levels even impress through their lighting or water effects. The music gives you shivers when playing with a religious accent or it can very well entertain you with its techno or hip-hop rhythms. The voice acting is not that great though because of the accent and the lack of intonation.
Finally Archangel is not a bad game but it's not a title which would be on top of the gamers' preferences for a very long time either.
People who downloaded Archangel have also downloaded:
Arx Fatalis, Blade & Sword, Arcatera: The Dark Brotherhood, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Armies of Exigo, Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales, Ancient Evil, Albion
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