Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 30, 2016
ESRB: M for Mature
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game
Omega Force, Koei Tecmo“s long-time developer of their prolific Musou, or Warriors franchise in most all its incarnations, has adapted the hack-and-slash action format to suit what has become a sizeable number of anime and manga franchises. There are Musou games based on Mobile Suit Gundam, Fist of the North Star, One Piece, and most recently, The Heroic Legend of Arslan. Omega Force“s latest effort, Attack on Titan, fits right in, but for all of the Musou blood in its veins, the core game is anything but.
This shift from Omega Force“s norm is born largely from the necessities of Attack on Titan“s premise. Humanity is on the verge of extinction, hunted down and eaten by Titans; feral humanoid giants with masculine features that lack genitalia. The last remaining humans live within the bounds of three concentric walls, but a century of peace is destroyed when the Colossal Titan, a unique Titan that stands taller than these walls, attacks and breaches the outermost Wall Maria.
The game“s core premise of fighting back against these Titans is where it deviates the most from the core Musou template. The relatively pint-sized humans use Omni-directional Maneuver (ODM) Gear, which allows them to shoot out cables to latch onto buildings, trees, or even Titans, and swing through the air in a manner like Spider-Man. Titans can be targeted at the arms and legs, which can be severed with enough damage, but the only way to actually kill a Titan is by striking the nape of the neck.
Additionally, the protagonist Eren Jaeger acquires the ability turn into a Titan himself. At key points, Titan Eren becomes playable with controls that function much more like a traditional brawler. These moments are relatively few in the story mode, but they do add extra variety to a game that is otherwise all about the flow of weakening and downing Titans while flying through the air.
Aside from the story mode, the game“s other primary mode is Expedition Mode, which can be played either solo or through online multiplayer. Playing online allows for cooperating with a group, and voice chat can be used as an option, but the experience either way does not differ that much, as the focus is the same. Complete survey missions to unlock new survey missions and the more challenging expedition missions.
Just like Dynasty Warriors is entirely about cutting down enemy soldiers by the thousands, Attack on Titan is focused on taking down Titans, though by a much smaller number. Outside the core concept, missions offer a fair variety of objectives, such luring Titans into traps rather than fighting them directly or defending a character from a Titan onslaught. Encounters with unique Titans like the Colossal Titan also offer breaks from the established norm, and the game eventually introduces â€œDireâ€ Titans as special objectives that are significantly tougher than the norm.
Another aspect of the game“s Musou lineage shines in its character selection and progression options. Though only a select few characters are playable in the story mode, more are unlocked as progress is made and are available for play in Expedition Mode. Each character has a series of skills that unlock as they level up, and while everyone shares the same blades and ODM Gear, their skills and individual stats separate them into diverse play styles, whether they be offense-oriented or more adept at commanding a team. There“s also a Regiment Level shared by all characters that governs what equipment and forging materials are available for purchase. And just like a standard Musou, progress along these various tracks carries between modes.
The game“s presentation does an excellent job of matching the look of the source material, with the major characters recreated in high detail. Standard Titans stand out with their ghoulish, vapid expressions and their often bizarre movements, while the unique Titans exude a greater malevolence and a finer sense of detail in their design. Additionally, the cast of the anime also does a worthwhile job reprising their roles for the game
However, the downside to the game“s presentation is that the story is told in a decidedly CliffsNotes fashion and leaves out a large amount of characterization and background to focus on the action. This will most likely be a problem for anyone that comes into the game that hasn“t at least watched the anime, as some key points, such as how Eren has the ability to turn into a Titan, are glossed over. The in-game encyclopedia helps, but there“s only so much information that it can impart.
Attack on Titan isn“t a traditional Musou game, and it has a slightly greater learning curve with the ODM-swinging and the specifics of Titan combat. Those key differences work in its favor, however, and deliver a breezy action game with an identity all its own. It“s easy to recommend to any fan of Omega Force“s style of action games, fans of the anime, and even fans starved for the web-swinging a decent modern Spider-Man video game.
+ Faithfully recreates the look and feel of the anime.
+ ODM swinging and Titan combat are a lot of fun.
+ An in-game encyclopedia helps give background on many of the game“s characters.
+ For the more squeamish, there is an optional blood toggle that reduces the level of on-screen gore.
- The story presentation is not friendly to newcomers, and the conclusion is abrupt.
- The camera can occasionally sit in unhelpful places.
Overall Score: 8 (out of 10)
Attack On Titan is different from traditional Musuo titles, but that works towards the game's strengths, making it one of the most unique entries in the genre yet.
Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher