I’m a big fan of Attack on Titan, from the long-running manga series to the phenomenal anime series. The idea of human-devouring giants is one that is not only exciting but utterly terrifying, and once the news came out that Wings of Freedom would be getting a UK release, I knew I’d have to play it.
So, the idea of Attack on Titan is that humans as a species have been mostly defeated by giant, man-eating humanoids known as Titans. Driven to near-extinction, humanity develops a type of gear called “Vertical Maneuvering Equipment”, to allow them to attack the one weak spot the Titans have… the nape of the neck.
The game itself takes you through the anime series, playing as various characters as you try to secure humanity’s final city. The narrative is scaled back, so if you’re not familiar with the story and characters you may feel like you’re watching the story from the outside, picking up on key points but never fully aware of what is actually going on. The main issue this creates is that without that sense of scale and high-stakes that the anime and manga created, you’re left with a slightly hollow feeling of accomplishment across the game.
That, for me, is the game’s main failure as it focuses more on the Titan-killing than the emotional depth of the story. Don’t get me wrong; the feeling of flying around like Spiderman whilst you slice your way through waves of Titans is fun, but after I’d been doing it hour after hour I started to ask myself why I was still engaging with a game that didn’t seem to be interested in me being there. What I mean by that is the game, although fun, seems to go more in the direction of the Dynasty Warriors style hack-and-slash games that tap into a primal need to complete things, instead of actively engaging you in the way you might expect a story about the fall of humanity to do so.
Now, with the downside out of the way, let’s look at the positives the game displays. As someone who has watched the series multiple times, has a collection of the mangas and figures and was genuinely obsessed with the whole idea of the series when it came out, I found the game thoroughly enjoyable. To be able to play as the characters I had become so familiar with was a joy, and experiencing the feeling of using the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment was everything I’d hoped it would be, giving a great balance between speed and precision. Once I’d worked out how to switch from Titan to Titan without touching the ground I became an unstoppable machine, gliding through the air and reveling in the carnage. As well as this, the game adds quite a lot of depth via a crafting system and the ability to recruit soldiers on the battlefield to help you out. These two elements do help spice up the battles themselves, giving you a new way to approach certain fights and giving you the feeling of being a tactician.
Graphics for me were a bit of a mixed bag. For a game, they were fantastic – all the characters looked great and wide open spaces were nicely created, giving a sense of scale. Smaller cities looked kind of samey, but that’s something you would find with the architecture in the anime as well. The main issue I had with it is that, in my opinion, computer generated graphics will never look as good as a hand-drawn story, so the overall look just wasn’t as vibrant and fast as what I wanted and what I was used to seeing in the anime. The sense of panic, fear and repulsion I’d previously felt wasn’t there… And that, for me, was a real letdown.
All in all, I like the game, whilst at the same time feel a lot of the aspects could have been improved – but maybe that’s just me wanting everything to meet a criteria that’s too near perfection to be true. If you’re a fan of Attack on Titan in general or like games such as Dynasty Warriors or Warriors Orochi then I’d say the game’s still worth a try, and maybe even a buy.
Author: Hal, Plymouth store