Nobody knows the trouble they’ve seen, nobody knows their sorrow… It’s a hard life for the people of Attack on Titan in the insane world of overgrown humanoids known as Titans, but now they’ve been given a new platform from which to tell their harrowing story. Welcome to the next generation gaming offering, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, based on the anime and manga series Attack on Titan. Will it be able to draw in those unfamiliar with the series, or has it merely been a release aimed to pander only to its current fan base?
In Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, there are just the two modes to weigh up, but that doesn’t mean there’s not enough to do. Attack Mode is where everyone should begin as it covers the story side of proceedings. Basically, the world is inhabited by regular people whom have erected huge walls around their territory, in order to keep out the most creepy looking, and naked, giant Titans. They vary in height, however one thing that doesn’t change is their appetite for humans and so, the people must fight back. Cue Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackermann and Armin Arlert as your main protagonists in this struggle to reclaim the lost land and save humanity.
Throughout various missions, which follow the path of Attack on Titan’s original story, you’ll take control of quite a few different characters, each varying in attributes – I’ll come back to those later. The main aim is, using the omni-directional mobility gear, to traverse around areas within and outside the walls whilst subduing any Titans whom are laying waste to the land. Taking down these freaky giants consists of having to slice their nape, but of course it is never as simple as it sounds.
Titans will lunge and grab at you whenever they can, so that has to be dealt with by chopping off their arms or legs. Slashing them apart, limb by limb, becomes natural before going for the weak spot on the neck. You’ll need to hook in to the flesh with the anchors of the mobility gear and build up enough speed to put real force behind the blade swipes. You’ll either love severing parts off Titans, or it’ll become a monotonous task. Fortunately my inner sadist was well-satisfied with lashings of blood as the many limbs were removed.
How the game tries to switch things up is in the form of different types of Titans; some are smaller and fast, others can be massive and slow, and then there are those somewhere in the middle. The stronger, bigger types may need a few swipes of the blade which isn’t too bad when using the likes of Mikasa, who can chain attacks together. Get stuck with the more intellectual Armin and it’s more about giving orders or hacking away one go at a time. The tactic you will employ depends on the skills that are unlocked and the attributes of the specific character e.g. strength, health and concentration.
Most of the key moments from the anime are featured via cutscenes, and I must say they look pretty damn good. I especially enjoyed seeing the court scene, as well as one involving a rather special kind of Titan. Please be aware, the voiceovers are in Japanese with English subtitles, so prepare yourself for a bit of reading – not ideal, but you get used to it. Having seen it all before though, it was more about the action-packed gameplay, where it kept you on edge with main objectives and side missions that were regularly time-sensitive – take too long and someone’s going to be eaten. After a while it does get a bit samey, aside from being able to control a Titan… yes, you read that correctly, a Titan!
I won’t say how or why, but there are a couple of moments where the focus is on using a Titan to kill other Titans. It’s like Godzilla vs. King Kong; very cool indeed seeing all the surrounding buildings crumbling and Titans being knocked around with ease.
As the Titans become stronger, your gear needs upgrading, and I feel there are too few choices for purchasing if I’m being honest. Just a handful of different blades, gas canisters and omni-directional gear are available to unlock via levelling up. There are horses though, for those times when there’s nothing to anchor on to, you can ride your mighty steed into battle. I’ve never cared for jumping on and off a horse, I’d rather jump and boost my way, even with a limited amount of gas canisters.
Once you’re done and dusted with the Attack Mode, there is Expedition Mode, where you can tackle many more missions of virtually the same ilk, without a story running alongside it. I can’t knock the amount available to have a go at either solo or in co-op; however, the only real change comes with being able to choose from a roster of ten different characters.
I was looking forward to heading online for a few of these Expedition or Scout missions, but to my dismay it wasn’t functional. Anytime I attempted matchmaking to join fellow scouts, the game would simply freeze up and boot me to the dash. It’s very disappointing, however, the developers Omega Force are working on a fix for the issue, and once fixed I’m sure it’ll be a great way to mix with other Attack on Titan enthusiasts.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom gives a genuine amount of freedom to roam areas and take on each mission as you please, to a degree. There’s also a real joy from the slashing, hacking and swinging around, although the places and general objectives do tend to feel samey after a while. With plenty of story missions to tackle, a decent amount of characters to use and even more action from the Expedition mode, it’s a very good overall offering. It’s just a real shame that the online matchmaking currently has issues and due to the nature of the Titan’s physics, there are a few odd looking visual glitches to add to the downsides.
I’m fully committed to the Scout Regiment, and easily recommend it to fully-fledged fans and newcomers alike. You do need to buy into the core gameplay though, and it’ll certainly enhance the experience should you understand the world to begin with, but you’ll learn enough to get by and embrace the story.
There’s room for improvement, but Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom does a damn good job at delivering a game for the masses.