Review: Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom
“Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind der Jäger!” Nine words of German which for some have no particular meaning, but for many others they can be much more than that (They are the prey and we are the hunters). A generation rallying cry, this is the anthem chanted by humanity while facing the attack of the Titans in the anime hit created by Hajime Isayama back in 2009, and still running now, with over 20 volumes as of this year. After a failed adaptation on the Nintendo 3DS called Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains, it’s up to the guys behind the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Omega Force and Tecmo Koei, to hopefully give us the AoT game we deserve with Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. Was the Musou recipe a success for this A.O.T.: Wings of Freedom?
For those that are not aware, Attack on Titan is an anime series in which humanity is the prey of man-eating giants called Titans. To ensure the survival of the human race, the remaining population had to take refuge in one city, and have erected three huge walls around them to protect it from titan attacks. But when the walls are not enough after a giant 60-meter Colossus Titan mysteriously appears out of nowhere and rams through the two first walls, it is the turn of the army soldiers to come into play and fight back. Because of their immense size and strength, the Titans can easily kill and stomp over humans, and so to defend themselves, the military use 3D Maneuvering Gear ( or 3DMG) that grants them greater mobility and allows them to reach the weak point of the giants: their back neck. Each use of this kit results in stunning aerial choreography in the anime show, and recreating the sensations of these clashes with 3D Maneuvering Gear is no easy task but I can vouch that Omega Force did it brilliantly!
The story mode of Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom help us relive almost the entire scenario of the first anime season. This mode is divided into twenty-episode on top of an extra story arc unlockable once the game is over (expect a little less than ten hours to complete the main game). Each episode begins with a cinematic performed with the game engine, and for those having recently watched the anime, you’ll notice that dialogues and even animation are almost the same in both versions.
Technically speaking, the game does not stand as a masterpiece or pushes consoles (and PCs) to the limit, but the celshading graphic style (Custom Toon Shader as Tecmo Koei calls it) and the soundscape sets the mood successfully in Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. From the agonized screams of your comrades, to the heavy footsteps of the titans, topped by sheaves of blood that gush after each sliced limb or part of the titan remind us how violent the fighting scenes can be (albeit a little bit less graphic than in the anime). The central feature of the game is the 3D Maneuvering Gear that is used to move and attack the titans. Pressing the X button (or Square on PlayStation consoles) deploys the grapples in the kit and throws your character forward to certain points, and another key makes the character dash in the targeted direction. By using these two keys combo, you can chain and propulse yourself to quickly cover long distances, and obviously fight Titans like a true Survey Corps soldier.
Speaking of fights and duels against the Titans, the use of the kit is slightly different. The 3D Maneuvering Gear grips can cling to 5 points on the body of a giant: both arm, legs and the head. Aiming at the neck and cutting it with your blade instantly kill the titans, but some of them are able to defend themselves from these attacks, thus it will be necessary to severe limbs for them to fall to the ground and reveal their weakness. Mastering the 3D Maneuvering Gear takes time to adapt, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll move through the levels and slash through titans with ease. The maneuver in the end gives you a total feeling of control that is simply enjoyable and that translates on the screen and paying tribute to the most dramatic battles of the series.
The battes between humans and giants are held in large open maps like Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors series. There are three different types of maps: within the walls of the city, a lush forest and finally the desolated plains outside the walls. We regret that playgrounds are not that diverse and don’t really affect how to approach a mission. To change things up, the objectives of these missions, will not amaze Dynasty Warriors or any Musou style game fans. There are the classic objectives like killing a number of titans, escorting a character to a specific point or defend a position against the giants during a set given time, each concluding with a final boss to beat. Some missions, however allow you to play as Eren Jaeger as a titan and although I will not elaborate more to ruin the surprise, these segments are fun and give you a feeling of being an overpowered killing machine.
There are slightly more than a dozen giant to kill during missions alongside the ten main characters to control in the game. Unfortunately, they seem to not really be painted with the same attention to detail in comparison the human characters. Visually uglier (both aesthetically and technically), they do not represent as great of a threat as we could have imagined and quickly fall under our blades, but they are still dangerous in groups and in confined spaces, especially when the camera tends to get lost in 3D space.
Like the other Musou games, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom has a also a RPG component, but there’s nothing groundbreaking, and it’s almost the least minimum in this title. Before each mission, you start with a hub, where you can talk there with other protagonists of the series, craft new weapons and improve your 3D Maneuvering Gear with the resources collected from the titan kills. After each successful mission, you’ll return to your hub and the character will gain experience and level up, which then allows for more items to be available for purchase and crafting.
Furthermore, a gain in level for a character means acquiring a new skill. For example Levi unlocks the ability to change in flight swords while Armin gets an ability to perform two dashes in a row. As mentioned above, there are a total of ten different characters available in the game, but they are not all playable in story mode, but at least are available in the other free mission modes.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom was reviewed using an Xbox One physical copy of the game provided by Tecmo Koei. The game is also available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC in both digital and retail stores. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Good adaptation of the universe and the aesthetics of Attack on Titan series.
• Great control scheme for the 3D Maneuvering Gear
• Control Erin as a Titan is fun
• Levi is still the ultimate warrior
• Really easy game
• Can become repetitive after a while.
• Only ten playable characters with no real distinction.