HIGH Soaring through the air at breakneck speeds.
LOW The combat and mission structures are way too repetitive.
WTF They cut out Sasha’s potato scene? Why? WHY?!?!
Bloody typical. Some days it seems like the last remnants of humanity can’t even enjoy a hundred years of peace before a gigantic titan appears and nonchalantly kicks holes in the walls of their final stronghold. That’s bad news for everyone inside, given that the colossal skinless freak is accompanied by hundreds of his nude chums who’ve all shown up with the intention of gobbling down any human they can get their hands on.
Since it’s based on an anime, however, what better way to fend off these lumbering monstrosities than by unleashing some scared, angry, yelling teenagers on the gluttonous buggers? That’ll show ’em, mark my words!
Yes, the world of Attack on Titan is an interesting one.
Naturally, since the titans in question are routinely between five and fifteen meters tall – with a few abnormals popping up from time to time that are significantly more imposing or intelligent – humans can’t fight them in a conventional manner. As a result, they’ve developed omnidirectional combat gear harnesses which allow them to shoot out high-tensile wires into nearby surfaces and zip around the place like Spider-Man.
It’s a pretty cool way to traverse the environments, and it can be exhilarating to hurl from one side of the map to the other, sailing over rooftops. This airborne traversal is doubly handy since the only way to kill a titan is to slice clean through the nape of its neck, so this additional verticality when attacking is key to success.
This setup lends itself well to being a videogame, and since Omega Force (of Dynasty Warriors fame) are involved, it’d be easy to assume that this would be another musou title, battering titans by the hundreds in close quarters combat. However, that approach wouldn’t make sense in this universe, so while it shares some common ground with other musou titles, the core play is very different.
Taking control of series’ mainstays Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman and a bunch of other cadets zooming around the skies, players are tasked with completing missions based on the anime’s overarching storyline. These involve killing a ton of titans, so learning how to move is key.
One button locks on to any given titan, and then shifting the stick will target various limbs. Once the grappling wires of the movement harnesses are locked in place, it’s possible to retract them to zoom in for the kill, and then – chop! Off goes a limb, or down goes the titan. Or, if things go badly, down goes the player.
See, titans don’t just sit there. While they’re not particularly agile, they’ll try and crush anything or anyone around them. More frenzied opponents might need some gentle dismembering before the neck chop finishes them off for good, otherwise they’ll just swat aggressors out of the air or bite them in half. That’s the intention, anyway — in practice most of them easily fall to the same basic neck-destroying tactics, so repetition can certainly set in over time.
Between missions, arsenals can be upgraded with materials gained from titans or money doled out for doing a good job on the battlefield, and it’s possible to wander around having a chat with everyone involved — many of whom are usually freaking out about titans chewing up their friends. It’s certainly not an amazing level of immersion, but it does provide a bit of context to the ongoing struggle and allows for a quick breather before the next deployment. It also misses out a lot of moments and character building from the anime, so don’t expect it to deliver the same level of storytelling.
The game generally looks okay, though notable performance issues do hurt the experience in some spots. When buildings are crumbling under a titan’s onslaught, for example, there’s some nasty slowdown in places that don’t seem like something the Playstation 4 should be struggling with, and it has a knock-on effect to the gameplay, often turning it into a slideshow which isn’t handy when trying to lock onto a nearby titan. It doesn’t happen frequently, but it’s quite an issue when it pops up.
Otherwise, it’s a shame there’s not more to Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. It has a genuinely cool premise, and the core mechanic of reeling into titans at absurd speeds with the intent of doing hideous amounts of damage is a good one. There’s just very little else to it, so while it’s initially exciting and gives a unique feeling of freedom to murder adversaries, longer sessions allow tedium to set in. It’s not a bad adaptation for series fans and it’s fairly enjoyable in its own right, but I’m guessing that quite a few players will tire of killing titans long before the battle to save humanity is over.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo Games. It is currently available on Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PC and Xbox One. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 20 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. 1 hour of play was spent in multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated Mature and contains blood and gore, partial nudity and violence. It’s probably a little too intense for younger audiences, given that a lot of people die throughout and there’s a bunch of weird unclothed Titans running around trying to eat anyone in sight. I can easily see Teen audiences handling these themes easily enough though.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: It doesn’t seem too bad, to be honest – objectives are pointed out on a map, missions are explained clearly via text, and all dialogue is subtitled throughout.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.
The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.
Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.