Review: Eagle Flight
Like most developers nowadays, Ubisoft is experimenting in virtual reality, and Eagle Flight debuts at the launch period of Sony’s first PlayStation VR, but also on PC via Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. With a concept so simple that anyone could get it, having you fly above Paris as an eagle – thus the game title – is it an indispensable modern virtual reality game?
Eagle Flight begins with a touching little sequence in which the infinite darkness around you is gradually broken by sharp flashes of light as your mother eagle breaks the eggshell in which you emerge from it. When you leave, dazzled by the sun, you raise your head and meet your parents for the first time, who seem immensely tall… One would almost feel love in their eyes. It will certainly seem very corny, but I was touched by this moment, obviously sublimated by the virtual reality that puts you in the skin – and feathers – of the main character of the game.
With the PlayStation VR screwed on my head, my first time in Eagle Flight was a discovery of excellent sensations. Apart from the acceleration and deceleration (controlled by the thumbstick of your DualShock), most of the eagle control is via your head movements: raising or lowering your nose will help you to ascend or descend in altitude, and same goes for turning left or right by twisting your head angle. It’s simple, but extremely intuitive, and gives you a close impression of actually embodying the eagle as you fly. The sensations of speed are excellent especially when one descends in a dive, hits the various decoration elements, and you get the urge to play around with acrobatics. A real good surprise.
The playground is a rather small part of Paris, in a very colorful and stylized as a comic in some ways, one which nature would have totally regained its rights in what used to be a human led world. There are still some traces of past time such as abandoned cars and buses, but the animals that have escaped from the zoos and other pens took over the city and and live there serenely … A kind of post-apocalyptic situation treated like a happy ending for mother nature basically. It is in any case an aesthetically successful work, despite some small technical defects (notably a lot of texture popping). Wait until you discover that many holes in buildings and other boost areas turn the whole ride into an aerial slalom.
But beyond the simple joy of soaring above one of the most beautiful city of the world as an eagle, what else can you do in Eagle Flight? Well, Ubisoft’s title offers us both a singleplayer and multiplayer mode, with the first being the story of an eagle that is working to help his family. The city is divided into districts that will be unlocked little by little winning “missions” (approximately thirty) which are alternately races or “battles”.
Races are time races that simply ask you to pass through a series of checkpoints as quickly as possible, while the fights will have you use two other buttons: Square to send waves on enemies and Round to create a kind of shield. In either case, the sensations are frankly pleasant, even if the whole still ends up being a very simple routine… Sure few missions deemed for expert will unlock and some of the underground passage will add a bit of spice to the game.
In multiplayer, two teams of 3 eagles compete in a fairly classical capture the flag matches, but it’s obviously very different given the fact that it’s in the air. It’s quite exhilarating, again, and very fun to play. Despite everything, here too, we easily get bored after couple of rounds, and sadly that’s all in the game. Why not add more modes? Or better a racing element in multiplayer?
Eagle Flight was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 downloadable code of the game provided by Ubisoft Middle East. The game is only playable on PlayStation 4 with the PlayStation VR, and on PC with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• The excellent impression of flight and speed.
• Intuitive playing mechanics.
• Aesthetically successful.
• Fun take on capture the flag in multiplayer
• Rather redundant in singleplayer.
• Only one multiplayer mode.