Review: Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom (PlayStation 4)
- Release Date (NA): August 30, 2016
- Release Date (EU): August 26, 2016
- Release Date (JP): February 18, 2016
- Publisher: Koei Tecmo
- Developer: Omega Force
- Genres: Beat 'em up/Action
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- PEGI Rating: Eighteen years and older
- Also For: Computer, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
You are the hunter!
It seems like developer Omega Force has discovered something great with their recent foray into creating spinoff games based off well-loved series like One Piece, Dragon Quest, The Legend of Zelda, and Arslan. This time, they’ve decided to take on Attack on Titan, a manga series that gained worldwide acclaim when it got an anime adaptation in 2013. While the game makes an effort to go over every major plot point from the show/manga, so that newcomers to the series can also enjoy what's offered, it’s recommended that you watch the anime beforehand, to get the most enjoyment out of it.
The story starts out as a quick recap of the anime’s first few episodes. For a hundred years, humanity has been plagued by the threat of Titans, giant, monstrous beings who want only to wipe out humankind. But of course, the remaining human population will not go down so easily, and military groups are formed to try and eliminate the Titans. Enter Eren Yeager, a boy who swears revenge on the Titans, after watching one kill his mother. He is joined by his two childhood friends, Mikasa and Armin, as they join the Survey Corps in order to destroy every Titan. The story here is retold in a good enough manner; there's a lot of dialogue explaining what's going on and why the characters are doing certain things, but it also loses out on some of the more interesting character development from the source material. Speaking of characters, the game offers a roster with 10 playable choices, and each have slight variations to how they control and what types of attacks they have access to, which prevents them from all feeling the same.
You can see some clear influence from Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors series here. Each map has large, wide-open stretches of land for you to zoom across, as AI soldiers help you fight off the enemies dotted about the landscape. However, this is much more than just a typical Dynasty Warriors reskin, thanks to the addition of the series’ staple, the Omnidirectional Mobility Gear, which allows you to propel yourself through the air and swing from various objects. Maneuvering with the mobility gear is an absolute delight, and players will feel a great sense of speed as they soar over buildings, using their momentum to take out the lumbering Titans. So long as you can anchor onto something like a tree or wall, you won’t even have to ever touch the ground. For lack of a better comparison, you get to be Spider-Man...but with swords. It’s a great concept.
While the Titans come in various shapes and sizes, they all share the same weakness; a single, well-timed hit to the nape of their neck will instantly kill them. Although, as you advance through the story mode, the Titans will eventually learn how to defend from attacks on their weak points, forcing you to find other ways to incapacitate them, ranging from using flash bombs to temporarily stun them, to using your swords to chop off a Titan’s arms so that they can’t grab you in midair, or removing their legs so they can’t flee. Players are given bonuses when they take the extra time to target limbs and attack them, but they’re also rewarded when they S-rank missions, which usually depend on how fast the Titans were able to be defeated, so you have be quick and precise when you’re on the offensive, if you want to get money and materials to upgrade your weapons with.
Upgrading your weapons is quite easy. You just have to obtain the needed quantity of a given item and some money, which increases all your stats. Should you feel the need to buy a weapon instead, you can “fortify” both old and new weapons together to create a stronger product. It’s a simple mechanic, but it works well.
Occasionally, there are segments that put players in control of a Titan and let them fight it out in combat against other Titans. While these moments are rare, being able to wreak havoc through the city as giant monster and casually tossing other Titans into houses is quite enjoyable. And that’s what Wings of Freedom’s strength is-- Pure, mindless fun. The gameplay can get a bit monotonous after slicing up dozens of Titans, but it’s still exhilarating enough to keep you hooked.
Another thing that Wings of Freedom excels at is its visuals. The graphics do an impressive job of recreating the way the anime looked, with dark color tones and thick outlines. Character models look exactly like how they do in the anime, and it shows how much effort was put into the graphics for the game. There are a few moments where the facial expressions look absolutely ridiculous, though. The game handles an impressive 60fps for its console and PC versions, however, there are moments where the framerate will take a heavy dive, especially when there’s lots of Titans on screen.The Vita release runs at about 30fps, which is still impressive for a handheld, but it has some definite draw distance issues with textures and models constantly popping in from a fairly short range. The Japanese voice cast makes a return here, adding voiced dialogue to the story cutscenes, which is a nice addition. The soundtrack is good too, loud and dramatic, a perfect compliment to the action, though it’s a shame that the game blatantly lacks the series’ iconic intro theme.
As to be expected from this type of game, there is an online mode, which lets you and a partner battle through hordes of Titans together. These online missions add a lot to the replayability of the game, giving players reason to come back, even after clearing the 10 hour long campaign.
Despite a few flaws, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom is a great effort from Omega Force, offering fun, unique, and exciting gameplay. If you’re a fan of the series, be sure to pick this one up.
+ Manages to capture the look and feel of the anime extremely well
+ Soaring through levels with the Mobility Gear is a blast
- Escort missions need to not exist
- Odd glitches when you don't follow tutorials exactly
- A little repetitive
The game translates the art style of the anime perfectly into 3D, and it looks fantastic. Character models are spot-on to what they looked like in the anime, and everything looks like it should. Animations in cutscenes can be a little awkward, but it's negligible. There is a definite issue with pop-in, especially on the PS Vita version.
If you're expecting typical Dynasty Warriors combat, you'll be pleasantly surprised here. Though there is clear influence from the aforementioned series, Wings of Freedom brings a distinctly new and noteworthy combat system to the table. The missions are basically all the same, which makes things monotonous, but it's pure fun, in short bursts.
There is a lot of content to go through in this game, and if you complete the entire story mode, there's even a little bit more story for you get to experience that hasn't made its way to the anime yet. The online mode also adds a lot of replayability to the game, and is a very welcome feature.
out of 10
(not an average)
Though Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom can get repetitive after quite a few hours in, there is a ton of mindless fun to be had from just speeding across expanses of land and taking down dozens upon dozens on giant foes. Even if you aren't a fan of the anime or manga, Wings of Freedom is a very enjoyable experience.