You don’t have to be much into Japanese pop culture to have heard about Attack on Titan at least once. The anime, also known as Shingeki no Kyojin, has amassed an unbelievable amount of popularity since its 2013 release, and is now mentioned in the same breath with other big franchises like Naruto or One Piece. Is Koei Tecmo’s adaption able to draw on the massive hype around Eren Yaeger’s story?
Adaption done right
The first question when asking yourself if you should buy a franchised game, is where the narrative sets off. Is Wings of Freedom easy approachable without prior knowledge of the anime or manga? I’ve only watched Attack on Titan for a couple of episodes, but I have to say that it is very faithful to the story its based on. Every key element of the plot is explicitly explained in form of gorgeous cutscenes and allows newcomers to easily learn about the happenings. I would even go as far as to say that it surpassed the pacing of the anime, which starts very slow after a strong first episode. As the game initially launched on PlayStation 3 in Japan, I was amazed by the graphic fidelity it provided me with. If you like the animation style of the original, or if you didn’t manage to get into the anime itself, Wings of Freedom is the perfect game to jump into the popular series.
Aim for the neck!
When you look at the gameplay, you will certainly notice similarities to previous Toukiden games, as they share the same developer. However, the main difference will immediately be noticed, as characters in Attack on Titan barely touch the ground, especially when they fight. Initially, I had my doubts about converting the anime’s combat into a game, but it feels like playing a Japanese version of Spider-man. It was great fun swinging around the cities, brutally slashing the necks of giant enemies. Seriously, the amount of blood is almost disturbing, and my characters’ look after battle reminded me a lot of my hunter in Bloodborne.
Sadly, bloodshed and great combat mechanics do not always make for a good game. As the campaign starts to feature more and more side missions, where the only reasoning behind multiple missions is to clear an area to 100 percent, it gets easy to become fatigued. Even playing these missions in online up-to-four-player battles with friends didn’t help to overshadow repetition and weak mission design. Toukiden featured different weapon sets, which allowed for multiple combat mechanics and provided players with an incentive to grind. The source material of the game doesn’t include other arms, which abstracts one of the greatest assets of the game – especially because you actually can upgrade your weapons and buy new ones, but they don’t change fundamentally. Anyway, if you stick to the main path of the story, lovely cutscenes will offer you enough relief to stand through the straight-forward mechanics.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom did a great job on translating an anime into a playable adventure. Fans of the show, as well as people new to the franchise, will appreciate the efforts made in regards of accurate storytelling and graphical similarity. If you can oversee the lack of variation, you can have a lot of fun hunting down these massive, creepy creatures called titans.
What we liked:
- Faithful to the anime
- Entertaining combat
- Graphical presentation
What we didn’t like:
- Tiresome repitition
- Uninspired side missions
- Lack of arms variety
This review was written using a PlayStation 4 review code provided by Koei Tecmo. What is your favourite game adaption of an anime? Do you think Attack on Titan will play well? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!