Attack on Titan is the Titan-slaying experience any fan would want and more
Attack on Titan is one anime and manga series that needs no introduction. One of the most popular chunks of Japanese media today, you'll be hard pressed to find an anime enthusiast who hasn't at least watched the first season that aired in 2013.
Here we are three years after the anime aired, the manga has been going strong, and the second season is scheduled to air in February of next year. What better way to prepare than a fast and faithful game from Koei Tecmo's Omega Force?
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom (the game's full name on Steam and in Europe) is a far cry from the Dynasty Warriors series the developer is so well-known for but their recent Hyrule Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes, and Toukiden games have shown they can tweak their flagship formula in new and more fulfilling ways.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom does more than tweak the formula we've become so familiar with in Dynasty Warriors and other similar games. Instead of defeating hundreds of mindless enemies and taking out key opponents, in Attack on Titan your focus is taking down the large and lumbering Titans one by one and with precision.
Gameplay as close as you would want to the Attack on Titan experience
I came into Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom because I like Omega Force titles. They tend to be fairly mindless and simple but do a great job of making you feel pretty badass. The series or history they're covering is ultimately not important to me. If the gameplay is good, I'll stick with it all the way through and them some.
If you're familiar with the Attack on Titan series, you know it's a messy affair. The game sticks pretty faithfully to the anime with some of aspects that lie on the far end of the "messy" spectrum made a bit less shocking. And that is where my interest in what is going on story-wise ends. Why does that interest end?
Because using your omni-directional gear to zoom through the game's environments is absolutely exhilarating. Because soaring over a Titan, locking into it from behind, and slashing into the nape of its neck with a mere three or four button presses total makes you feel like an indestructible and skillful slayer of these dimwitted monsters. Because moving and attacking blend so well together that you can sit there for hours pressing through the main story and doing side missions and forget the time entirely because you aren't just playing a total badass -- you have become the total badass.
There's a lot to be said for how fluid the game controls. It's so simple it's almost impossible not to get wrapped up in making your character skillfully grapple and soar their way through and over buildings and trees to get from one set of Titans to the next.
Combat controls are similarly simple. On PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 you press R1 to enter combat mode and then use the right analog stick to choose a body part. Once you've done that you can move the stick to direct yourself mid-air around the Titan, let it go to reel yourself in towards it, or press X to speed toward the targeted body part. Last, of course, is Triangle to attack and hack away at the part. (I recommend changing your attack button to L2 for easier attacking).
This sounds complicated but it's actually very easy in action, which makes slaughtering Titans a similarly easy task. This get a little more complicated with large Titans or those with defensive parts or higher part health, but ultimately it's still the same process from one to the next with little variation. Well, until you get the honor of playing Titan Eren.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom is by far the fastest Omega Force game to date. You can sure whomp a ton of enemies dead in mere seconds in Dynasty Warriors and their other franchise titles, but none of their other games have that visceral and lightning fast factor Attack on Titan does that makes it so easy to get into and hard to put down.
Off the battlefield
The meat of this game is hunting down and killing Titans, but players will also be happy to find it has an equipment crafting and fortification system to give them some sort of manageable progression past the story and side missions.
New omni-directional gear, gas canisters, and blades can be crafted from materials you get during your battles and new war horses can be purchased as you progress.
Materials themselves are obtained by destroying key Titan body parts, which you can see whenever you target a Titan. The need for materials is the sole reason not to go straight for the nape in most encounters, and it's often well-worth it if you're a sucker for overpowered equipment.
Aside from the story are a number of side missions that you can complete for materials and other goodies. These can be done in both singleplayer and online-only multiplayer -- it would have been nice to have local multiplayer but I can appreciate the lack of slowdowns without it.
Between the story and side missions you have plenty to do in Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. The story is fairly long and for most it should take a little less than 20 hours, but if you're all about those side missions, material grinding, and character leveling you're going to be at it a while yet. Though killing Titans does get repetitive to an extent you'll be so busy marveling at how awesome you'll feel it won't even matter.
Though not a game of much depth, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom is a game of much fun. Whether you're a fan of the series or were unaware it existed at all the gameplay is tight as a knot and fast as a Sanic.
Both fans and those new to Attack on Titan can enjoy the retelling of the story and feel their triumphs and defeats as Eren et al. or ignore it all and kill kill kill. In any case it's a total blast and hopefully is not the last foray Omega Force takes into this style of gameplay. To say this is one of the most fun games I've played this year would be a severe understatement.
Note: GameSkinny received a copy of this game to review.