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This review is free of major spoilers and is based on the PlayStation 4 review copy provided by Geekay.
Available Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Players: Single Player (up to 4 player Online Co-op)
A.O.T.: Wings of Freedom is the game adaptation that Attack on Titan fans have been waiting for. After nearly 6 months since its original Japan release, the game released on August 26, 2016 for Europe and August 30, 2016 for North America. Published by Koei Tecmo and developed by Omega Force, the game is based on the internationally acclaimed manga and anime series called Attack on Titan.
Attack on Titan is the story of Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and their friend Armin Arlert. Set in a world where giant man-eating humanoids known as Titans rampage freely, the human race is nearly extinct. The survivors have holed up in territories behind three concrete walls, trying their best to forget about the horrors of the outside world.
As the story progresses, we learn more about nature of the Titans as well as the world they live in. Eren and the Survey Corps, humanity’s elite forces that hunt Titans must fight to prevent the destruction of mankind and discover what caused the wipeout in the first place.
Modes and Characters
The game has a single-player story mode as well as an Expedition mode which allows you to team up with up to 3 players online to complete additional missions unrelated to the main campaign. You unlock various characters for the Expedition mode by playing through the story missions based on the anime. In the single-player campaign, you get to slash giant mobs as Eren, Armin, Mikasa and Levi, each unique with their own special skills and strategy of gameplay.
You can unlock up to five epilogue missions after the main story has concluded by finishing the additional survey missions available to your character.
For the most part, Wings of Freedom does a great job in bringing the fast-paced, action-packed Titan slaying from the anime to life in the game. The controls and mechanics of the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear offer a variety of attacks and tactical approaches. The only way to take a Titan down is by targeting the back of its neck and you do this by latching onto it using the cables from your maneuvering gear. These cables can grapple onto inanimate objects like buildings as well, making it the primary mode of travel around the city. Players might find it similar to the web-swinging mechanics from some of the Spider-Man games.
The controls do take some time to get a handle on and the tutorial does well by pointing you in the right direction with the correct buttons, letting you practice on target dummies at first. When you’re just starting off, the biggest issue you run into is getting used to the jarring camera movements. There’s a lot of information to take in while whizzing around looking for titans to slash limbs off of. You have to keep track of your fuel and blade meters, various items, subtitles, mission texts and quests, which the HUD seems to enjoy throwing in your face.
When it comes to character progression, you gather materials and resources that will be unlocked over the course of the story in order to upgrade your equipment. The equipped items can increase stats like your durability, damage and speed as well as changing the cosmetic look of your character, serving as your basic customization tools. As your character levels up in the game, you unlock new moves and passive abilities for them. Some of these are common across multiple characters and some seem to be specific to a few like Levi’s spinning blades attack.
The combat does get repetitive over time, as is the case with most video games in a similar genre of hack and slash. Although Wings of Freedom does showcase the occasional diversity in gameplay like introducing horses as a means of traversing large plains of land, it still remains a slave to its mechanics and a story which offers very little deviation from its source material. Although we can’t fault it for that last bit as it is meant to be that way. The game is primarily aimed at fans of the anime show but caters to newcomers as well by giving them a well-rounded story to follow and exciting gameplay.
Art and Music
The style of animation in the game stay true to that of the anime and we get frequent cut scenes and voiced dialogue throughout the story mode. It is to be noted that the game does not come with English dubbed audio, so you can only experience the Japanese language voice-overs and English subtitles. It’s surprising that a western release of a game for such a popular franchise didn’t take the extra effort to push out an English voice dub. This does get annoying during the battle scenes when you miss out on some of the extra dialogue while cutting up titan legs.
The music is downright glorious, just as it should be. The combat is further enhanced and the serious dialogue scenes are given importance thanks to the ambience created by the soundtrack. Fans of the show will definitely appreciate this as the Attack on Titan OST is difficult to substitute. The collector’s edition of the game does come with a physical copy of the music in the game for those interested in picking it up.
In short, if you’re a fan of Attack on Titan, be it the anime or the manga comics, this game is a must play. The gameplay is quite addictive over short periods of time and Omega Force has managed to capture the feeling of battling Titans and zooming around the city in ODM gear really well. The main story mode takes a little under 10 hours to complete and the additional Expedition mode missions offer a ton of content which can be played with your friends online as well. There’s not much plot advancement in the story as compared to the anime, so if you were hoping for a continuation into season 2 of the anime, you might be a little disappointed.
Want to try out the game yourself? Win a copy of Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom for the PS4 by entering our contest here.