Shingeki no Kyojin or better known as Attack on Titan in North America (and perhaps everywhere else outside of Japan) has been one of my favorite animes in recent history. The story is compelling, the action is plentiful and there are plenty Titans around that only serve to ruin everyone’s day. Well, ok, that last bit isn’t too cool. So when I found out that Koei-Tecmo was working on a video game adaption of the anime, I was curious. Would they be able to capture the essence of the show, while not adding too much extra that might ruin it?
Game Name: Attack on Titan
Platform(s): PS4 (reviewed), PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Koei Tecmo
Developer(s): Omega Force
Release Date: August 30, 2016 (North America) / February 18, 2016 (Japan)
Alright, before you read this review, I want you to find the theme song of Attack on Titan and put it on loop. Yes, I’m being serious here. When haven’t I been serious? Oh, never mind… just do it, okay?
If you’re looking for a story here, then look no further than the anime or even the manga. That’s exactly what you’re going to get in the game and truth be told, you’re likely picking up this as you are familiar with the anime or manga and now you want a chance to take it to the Titans in your own 3D maneuver gear. If that’s exactly what you were looking for, you’re going to enjoy what Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom has to offer you. Granted, the story does venture outside of the anime a bit more, but this is a plus, especially since the second season of the Attack on Titan has been delayed more than enough.
The game is straightforward – You pick your character, of which only three are playable from the start and then you’re sent out to do your city proud. Or attempt to at least. As with the anime or manga, your job is to get rid of those pesky Titans, who terrorize the city for no apparent reason and simply enjoy devouring any human being they see. Being a fan of the show, I really enjoyed being able to fight the monsters that made me want to put my hand through my TV. It’s payback time and my checkbook is deep. Okay, that was a bit corny, yet the game definitely puts you in the mood to take out those Titans.
Throughout the game, you’re able to unlock different playable characters, acquire upgrades for your existing gear, pick up new gear and even skills for your character. Though at times it feels like an afterthought as you don’t really need to put much effort into the system in order to progress in the game. Sure it may make some battles harder to complete, though after stopping from upgrading mid-game I didn’t really feel like I was hampered. The controls, while work damned well for the game, are clumsy at first. But not in a bad way, more so that the system is set up for performing death-defying feats as you battle the Titans, that it just takes a bit of time to get used to it. However, once you do start to master the controls and movement, slashing and dicing become second nature.
Attacking the Titans is performed by locking on and attaching to their limbs or necks, where you’ll proceed to slice them up by aligning up your character. Once you’ve got the angle you want to attack, attack until you either chop off a limb or score a killing blow on the Titan. The first few times it was cumbersome but once I got the hang of it, it was easy to perform. The camera, however, is not your friend, not on all occasions anyway. There were times where the camera would zoom in just a bit too much at times or not enough in others.
This can play a huge difference as you’re going in for the final blow or trying to get perfect strikes. While definitely causes some issues, the game is still playable and that’s what counts. I still would have liked the camera to behave a bit better.
Ah, the gameplay. This is the meat and potatoes of the entire game and damn if it isn’t good. Imagine if you may, swinging through the air, similar to how Spider-Man would do. You’re given total freedom to go in whatever direction you want, though with a few inconveniences. There were times where I completely ignored my objective, just to swing around, all with a huge smile on my face. Sadly, this isn’t always the case and there will be times where you’re grounded and will have to use a horse or your legs. There’s more to the gameplay than just this, which brings me to my pet peeve; the AI.
For the most part, it seems they are there just to add some color to the background. In other words, they’re useless and don’t really help out at all. Sure, I’d rather not have them at all, though that would be pretty boring, nor would it be similar to the anime where there are multiple teammates working to take down a Titan. At least in the anime, they’re useful… well, most of the time and when they aren’t being eaten. Finally, and I hate to say this, but the missions are downright boring at times. They border on being repetitive with most of the missions ending up being the same thing over and over. And if during the game you’re thinking to yourself that you’ve seen this somewhere before, that would be the trademark of Omega Force, the same team that puts out the Dynasty Warriors / Sengoku Musou games.
But man, taking on a colossal Titan is perhaps one of the best gaming experiences ever.
Graphically, the game is impressive to look at, both standing still and in motion. From the playable character player models, up to the Titans, both of which look like their anime counterparts. The backdrops are also impressive looking, though at times I notice some visual pop-up as I was racing through the skylines or in the middle of an attack. Nothing that will detract from the game, however, it was noticeable. Also noticeable is the frame rate, which tends to tank when there are multiple Titans on the screen at once. This definitely hurt my gaming sessions while I was either kicking butt or trying to stay out of harm’s way.
Alright, despite my complaints about the camera, the UI or User Interface is equally frustrating. Sure, the game lays out a detailed status that keeps you informed of your life, map and attack points and other important details. But it takes up most of the screen, literally. It gets worse when you’re engaged in a fight, only for someone to start some dialog with you, which takes up most of the viewable screen towards the bottom right. Honestly, do you want us to take out the Titans or not? The sound is equally impressive, especially with the voiceovers and the desolate music tends to put that fear of doubt in you as you trying to end the Titan threat. Also, I hope you like Japanese voice-overs, as there’s no dubbing here. I know that’s a minor complaint, but I’d like to have had that option.
The game isn’t very long, clocking in around 10 hours for most gamers. You can get some extra play time in if you’re a fan of unlocking things such as galleries or playing online with three other players to take on the Titans together.
If you’re a fan of Attack on Titan or just a gamer who loves fast and frantic action, then you’re going to be right at home here. Between the tight game controls and mechanics, AoT: WoF is an enjoyable title, albeit full of repetitive tasks. Kudos to the Omega Force team, as they’ve taken a beloved anime/cult classic and molded it into a fantastic video game.
This is how anime adaptions should be!
*This game was provided to The Outerhaven Productions for review purposes. You can find additional information about our review policy here.
To my surprise, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom turned out to be perhaps the best anime adaption to ever make its way over to a video game. There’s always a concern when a game is created around an existing license. Especially since those few games of recent that featured either an anime or cartoon didn’t fare too well. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. It may be a bit too restrictive as it doesn’t really stray from the anime or manga. In its defense, it really didn’t need to as the world that was created is full of over the top action and a really odd-ball story, both of which are just fine for a video game.
Fast, fluid, fun, enjoyable, although that camera does take things down a notch, this is the best anime action game I’ve played in quite some time.
- The game looks just like the anime and manga
- Faithful adaption of the Attack on Titan story
- Fast and fluid gameplay
- The sensation of flying through the air is too much fun
- The camera tends to mental at times
- Useless AI teammates
- Terrible UI
- Gets repetitive