First Impressions: Attack on Titan (PS4)by Sayem Ahmed,
It's been a few years since monster-killing mega-franchise Attack on Titan hit critical mass, and now Tecmo Koei's flagship development team, Omega Force, has been put to the test to deliver an Attack on Titan game. Enter Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom.
The game's available for both PS4 (the version we tested) and Playstation Vita. From the get-go, we're plunged straight back into the world of the series, with a beautifully rendered real-time rendition of all the characters that we know and love. The main campaign mode follows the arc of the Anime, with your desperate cast of fighters facing off against the fearsome Titans, who threaten your home. There is an additional mode where you can freely play as any of the main cast in missions to fend off Titans.
Attack on Titan's trademark gear, the 3D Maneuver Gear takes a huge focus on the game, with you taking the role of one of many characters and heading out to do battle against the titular titans. Since your enemies are all so huge, you'll find yourself darting in midair, swinging ropes and aiming for specific parts to target on the Titans. This in itself feels incredibly satisfying in motion. The fast-paced gameplay isn't just for show, in action, the grappling hooks create a real sense of momentum and feels natural to use. A careful balance of releasing the gas canisters can boost you even further. It does take a while to get used to the movement, but damn does it feel good to play.
Fighting the Titans themselves isn't too exciting - expect a fairly simple targeting system to target different parts of the Titans, and if you're familiar with the series, you'll find that going for the neck is where it's at. You are able to attack other parts of the Titan, but it feels slightly redundant as you're able to go for the neck pretty much immediately. Maybe there's something I might be missing, but so far the simple attacks and easy kills are slightly disappointing. There doesn't seem to be much depth or many special attacks that you can perform, either.
While the game looks stunning, the illusion is wafer-thin. When trying to portray the desperate battles that we see in the Anime and Manga, you feel gripped, enticed and eager to see more. Unfortunately, so far, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom has left me a bit cold, none of that desperate tone really comes through outside of cutscenes, which are almost shot-for-shot lifted from the Anime and remade in-engine.
It's possible to ride around on horses, which saves you precious gas. Additionally, you're also able to customize the gear of your characters and upgrade your weapons- but this gets old fairly quickly. Soon and the shine of darting around in the world does, too. This is mostly due to a lack of visual differentiation between areas, which all take place either inside the walls of the city or in sparse forests.
From what I've seen so far, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom seems like a bit of a waste of the license. There are so many stories that could be told within the world, but sticking to the old tried and true plot of the Anime, while safe is getting stale pretty fast. Some of the most fun I've had in the game so far has been darting around with the maneuver gear and stomping around cities taking down Titans as Eren.
For diehard fans of the series who have always wanted to get immersed in the world, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom may be the game for you, but as someone who's familiar with the series as well as the manga, I feel as if much more can be explored within the world, outside of the main story campaigns. So far we've only seen a tiny slice of what's going on in the world of Attack on Titan, and it feels like something that the game could have potentially explored more.
To see if the repetitiveness of the gameplay and areas ever lifts, I'm just going to have to play the game more. But that said, as a fan of Omega Force's previous games and Attack on Titan - I expected a little more than what I've seen of the game thus far. Your mileage may vary, of course, but it doesn't take away from the fact that the movement is smooth and the graphics nigh on impeccable despite the faults in the game that I've seen so far.
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