Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!
Many people have dreamed of flying like a bird and now it’s possible on the virtual reality platform of your choice. The life of an eagle is not carefree as there are many dangers including vultures, bats, and ravens that will attack your mate and nest. Besides dodging their traps and attacks you’ll have to narrowly fly through many caverns, abandoned tunnels and buildings to beat the scores of people around the world.
Though there is a three on three multiplayer mode, I wasn’t able to find anyone to play against. Thankfully, there is still a free flight and story mode to enjoy. The free flight mode is great for showing off your VR headset to family and friends. The controls are relatively simple with tilting your heard to turn and using the right trigger on the controller to speed up and the left one to slow down.
The controls get slightly more complicated in the story mode, but not by much. At first the story introduces you to the basics of flying, collecting feathers for your nest, and catching fish. Once you meet your mate you’ll have to escort and protect her from vultures, bats, and ravens. You’ll be able to attack them with your screech which needs a couple of seconds to recharge before you can use it again. Later in the game you'll unlock a temporary shield. When you complete the single-player campaign you’ll unlock the ability to look around without changing your flight trajectory.
The head controls are very responsive and easy to grasp, but breaking the habit of tilting my head instead of turning it took some getting used to. The game will remind you to tilt instead of turning your head if it detects too much movement from the VR headset. Heed the warnings because ignoring them will result in a stiff neck!
There’s a decent amount of variety in the levels. Some of the them have you flying through rings while others require fending off enemies while escorting your partner to safety. Last but not least are the tunnel racing levels where you have to narrowly avoid spinning fans and soar through thin openings. Depending on how quickly you reach the end, you’ll be awarded between one and three stars. The next level will unlock with one star, but other side quests will require a certain number of stars before becoming available. In total there are one hundred and twenty-nine stars to earn. I completed the game with forty-eight so there’s plenty of replay value for me if I want to improve my scores and unlock more content.
The story campaign has five chapters that unfold as you claim territory and build nests in Notre-Dame, Louvre, Basilica, the Pantheon, and the Eiffel tower. With each claimed territory you’ll get to do a victory fly-through around your new stomping grounds. The levels increase in difficulty as the story progresses: they begin at easy and end at the expert difficulty. After fending off swarms of enemies it feels good to fly around and enjoy the new scenery.
Eagle Flight takes place in an abandoned France with no traces of humans other than the architecture they left behind. The buildings are covered with foliage and many of them have trees growing though them. All sorts of wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras, and wolves are inhabiting the vacant landscape. Some of the levels take place on sunny days while others are rainy or in the evening.
The audio is just as well polished as the graphics. The levels are nicely narrated and the bird screeches are spot on. The other sound effects, especially the crashing noise are well done. The background music is pleasant and takes a back seat to the other sound effects until enemies approach. Then it sets the grim mood nicely.
Although there is violence in this game it’s not very bloody at all. When you hit a bird with your screech they simply disappear. When you collide with an object there is just a thud noise and no blood stains or any mess to worry about.
Other than the lack of people online to play against, my biggest complaint with this title is its stability. Half of the time this game failed to launch or exit properly. After seeing the loading bar fill up, I would be greeted with a blank black screen that I would have to end task to make it close and try again. Updating my AMD drivers to the latest version did not fix this issue either. Sometimes I could get in on the second try, other times it took me four tries before it launched properly. It rarely worked on the first try.
As frustrating as the launch process was, the negative feelings went away quickly as I took to the skies and raced around as an eagle. I hope that the bugs are fixed quickly and that more people play this game online to enjoy this game as it’s intended. If you have a VR headset, be sure to keep an eye on this one if it goes on sale.