Attack on Titan Review
Extra Features: Online Co-op (1-2), Download Content
To enjoy this game even more, I decided to watch the Attack on Titan anime series before starting the game. I've had the anime sitting on my shelf for nearly a year and finally decided to give it a try. I must say that the anime is worth all the hype that it receives and is now one of my top animes of all time. The overall struggles that the main characters face along with those around them is what really drew me in along with the anime just having a good overall cast of main and side characters and a nice atmosphere. After watching the anime, I was pretty pumped to play the game, so expectations were high.
The game of Attack on Titan is an action beat'em up developed by Omega Force and published by Tecmo Koei. The story follows the plot of the anime, so if you've seen the anime then you'll know the basic story of what will happen. The game leaves out some parts of the anime and focuses even more on certain areas that were only talked about in the anime, however. For instance, in the game we get to see more of what Levi and the Scout Regiment were doing during the first modern day titan attack on Shiganshina district up until the time they arrive at the district to help defend it. If you're unfamiliar with the anime then just know that the series is about humanity fending off giant humanoids called "Titans" from what is left of their civilization.
The game has both an Attack mode and an Expedition mode. The Attack mode takes players through the main story of the game and the Expedition mode is sort of an arcade mode with extra missions and new characters that you can play that aren't playable in the story. You'll unlock extra characters in Expedition mode while progressing through Attack mode. No matter which mode you play, you'll gain experience and money to help you upgrade your gear and buy extra equipment and all of this is shared between both modes. All characters can gain levels and gain access to extra skills and leveling up your regime level will allow better equipment to be unlocked at the weapon shops and material shops.
You'll be given control of Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and Levi during certain sections of Attack mode. The gameplay features 3D maneuvering gear called Omni-Directional Mobility (ODM) gear that allows for fast travel between buildings and other objects in order to battle titans more effectively. The game does a good job with getting you used to the gameplay and the overall game controls really well. I don't normally go over controls in such detail, but I feel it's very well worth it in this game to let you know how it plays. You have to lock on to a titan with the R1 button then target a limb on the titan with a flick of the right analog. Once you target a desired limb, you tap the square button to latch onto the titan. While moving toward the titan, you can use the left analog to move around the titan and delay your movement or tap the X button to speed burst toward the titan. Once you get next to the titan, you'll tap the Triangle button to strike. The gameplay is simple and easy once you get used to it and it becomes addicting rather quickly. I could literally fight titans and not get bored.
While attacking a titan and maneuvering around the environment using your ODM, you'll be using up gas and destroying your blades. You'll have to constantly switch out your blades for new blades and refill your ODM gas tanks. You become a sitting duck while doing this so you'll have to find a safe area or use a flash grenade or sound grenade in order to stun a titan while using your item. All items are found from defeated titans or given to you in pickups from NPCs during stages. You'll also have to heal at times after getting hit. A titan can hit your character once to weaken that character to where you're movement will be slow. A titan can grab your character and you'll be forced into a button tapping mini game in order to break free. If a titan grabs your wounded character then the titan will kill your character so you have to pay attention to when your character needs healing. Surprisingly, other than the rapid button tapping for when your character is grabbed, there are no other QTEs in the game. My hat is off to the developers for not adding tons of QTEs in a game that could easily use them much like big fights in God of War.
While fighting titans in a mission, you'll be getting icons for extra side missions that are brought to your attention from smoke bombs like the ones shot from guns in the anime. It's highly useful to engage in side missions to get more powerful partners on your side. Attack on Titan gives you control of a squad of 4 side characters (along with your main character). You can give them orders with the tap of directional pad down to make them focus on a certain titan, guard your character or separate in all directions. Each squad member has a grade level from S-rank to C-rank and you can gain more powerful squad members from helping others during a battle. C-rank characters can be recruited throughout the battle field.
While battling titans, you can focus on certain limbs on their bodies in order to gain extra materials. Extra material limbs are marked with a material icon. Just like in the anime, you can chop off a titan's arms and legs in order to immobilize them and keep them from attacking and then you can go for the nape below the neck to kill off the titan. You'll receive a rank at the end of each stage and you'll get funds to buy extra gear and materials in order to level up your gear. In between stages, you can freely explore a camp and talk to NPCs and shop for new equipment or upgrade your current equipment. You can also choose from expedition missions or go back to play previous stages in the story while exploring the area.
Attack on Titan isn't all about the ODM movement and slashing of titans all the time however. You'll gain access to cannons and be forced to use them at some parts - such as fending off the city against the colossal titan or blowing up barricades to fulfill an objective. You also get to play as a titan in a few areas. Going into much detail as to why you are controlling a titan will spoil the story so just know that you can play as one eventually. Playing as a titan is alright, but it sure doesn't match playing with ODM equipment. Titan mode is mainly composed of mashing the attack button and using the jump button to dodge attacks. You can grab enemies and throw them and even perform a super-powered attack at one point. You can destroy buildings and pulverize other titans but you'll be getting frequent slowdown from all the carnage on the screen and the overall experience for playing as a titan just isn't all that fun compared to the ODM stages. Thankfully, Attack on Titan's main gameplay lies in attacking titans with ODM equipment so you won't be seeing titan stages that often.
The game's graphics match the appearance of the anime. You'll be getting frequent cutscenes and voiced dialogue during story sections. The game is all in the original Japanese language with English subtitles. I prefer the Japanese language, but I am quite surprised that such a popular series game didn't get an English dub option. During gameplay, I often lose out on reading conversations since there is too much going on and it's hard to read text while zooming around a titan - English dub could have helped with moments such as this. Titans have much of the same appearance as they do in the anime. They all have these creepy looks and overemphasize their inner mouth while chasing down humans. You'll face off against the female titan as you progress further in Attack mode and those battles are quite epic. Some titan battles, such as the female titan battles, feel much like boss battles.
Besides the lackluster titan gameplay, my only real problems with the game were buildings getting in the way while attacking titans and the overall slowdown that I would sometimes get while too much was happening on the screen. While fighting in city areas, the camera would sometimes get covered up by a building while moving in between buildings. Titans are constantly knocking down buildings during gameplay and sometimes they group up on your character which can create some massive slowdown when there are many titans on the screen and building debris. Environments such as open fields and forest areas don't have these problems much at all however. Besides the slowdown, the game runs near flawlessly. If the game is not run at 60fps at times, then I'd have to say that it is very close to that framerate.
If you're a fan of the Attack on Titan manga or anime you really owe it to yourself to give this game a try. It really captures the feel of the anime series very well and the gameplay is very addicting. Attack mode has 3 chapters with around 15 stages. The stages took me around 30+ minutes each to complete. It took me around 8 hours to complete Attack mode. Once you finish Attack mode, you'll have tons of missions waiting in Expedition mode. Expedition mode can be played online with other players or offline by yourself. The game doesn't give much extra plot that wasn't in the anime but it serves as some very good supplement material for the anime.
+ Really good supplement to the Attack on Titan anime
+ Good soundtrack
+ Addicting titan hunting levels (good controls)
- Buildings and other objects get in the way too much during titan battles
- Slowdown when too much action is on the screen
- Titan gameplay feels sluggish and mediocre
Final Rating: 80% - Fans of the Attack on Titan manga/anime really need to give this game a try.