Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom (PlayStation 4) Second Opinion Review

By Eric Ace 15.10.2016

Review for Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom on PlayStation 4

Attack on Titan, known as A.O.T.: Wings of Freedom in Europe, is an action-RPG based on the manga by Hajime Isayama of the same name. Developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo, the game inverts a usual trope of humanity being attacked by a swarm of small insects/aliens, and in this case, humanity itself are the beings that must swarm gigantic humanoids in an attempt to survive, all while using razor-sharp swords and modified jetpacks.

Attack on Titan goes a place many go, but little do well: adapting a show to a game. Most of the time, these games are gimmicky attempts to cash in quick on the name, preying on loyalties of the fans to sell an otherwise piece of garbage. There is a legion of these cash grabs that, without their recognised name, would go nowhere. Superman 64 remains one of the most hated games that exemplifies this. It is a relief to say this game is actually good without the need of such a gimmick to sell it.

AOT is very true to the anime/manga in that it follows soldiers who have to maneuverer around the city and forest to fight giant humans. The general premise is that humans are now the ants trying to fight the giants. To move, they are armed with grapple hooks and gas cylinders that loosely act like jetpacks. The giants can only be killed by hitting them in the back of the neck and getting into position is most of the battle.

Screenshot for Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom on PlayStation 4

At its core, this is a modified beat 'em up action game with some RPG elements. In battle, the amount of gas remaining has to be managed, along with blades that weaken as they hit the enemies, and both have to be changed, adding a logistic element of when to pull out of fights. In between missions, new items can be made based on materials picked up in battle.

This is where most of the RPG aspects come in. There are different swords, scabbards/gas, and reels to upgrade and choose from. There are surprisingly a lot of stats going on behind the scenes; for example, blade damage versus how durable it is in battle, or how good the anchor system is compared to how far it can reach.

AOT sinks or swims based on how movement is performed, which is the manga/anime's major claim to fame. It gives humans the loose ability to fly by using grappling hooks that grip nearby walls, rocks and trees, mixed with the gas system and the reel system to pull in or out. Despite how complex this could be, it comes off very intuitive. In general, it is simply a case of aiming the way you want to go and the game automatically hooks/jets the right way to get there.

Screenshot for Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom on PlayStation 4

The way battles work involves hooking into the Titans and slashing at either arms or legs or going for the kill on the neck, while avoiding getting grabbed. Cutting off arms means they won't be able to grab, and cutting off legs slows them down so the neck shots are easier.

It all works pretty well when things are at their best. The smoking cities, the distress flares, grappling through the city, cutting down Titans—all these things come together to feel great. The epic music also successfully adds to the atmosphere.

The problem is that it starts to feel repetitive, and the terror the plot is supposed to evoke doesn't fit with the pile of bodies the player stacks up during the battles. The easiest way to explain this is the concept of "power creep." Early on, players are shown how even a single small Titan can wreck humans and to run for their lives. Even the first early battles of getting used to controls feel intense. Pretty rapidly, though, the Titans get mowed down faster than grass—but only for the player.

The rest of the human squad will routinely have five or more humans fighting one Titan, and start sending up distress signals, mixed with the occasional "death" message of some red shirt dying. This is consistent with the original tone of the story. When the main character can kill a Titan in seconds, and easily rack up 30 or more kills on a single mission, it leads to a disconnect that ruins immersion.

Screenshot for Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom on PlayStation 4

Furthermore, the jetting around is pretty fun, but combat becomes really tedious. Either they are the easily slain type, which means one hit and dead, or they are faster, which merely means target the legs until they are gone. There is never a strategic aspect to it, never any close dodging, never any alternatives the player should have tried in combat instead, which is unfortunate.

There is a multiplayer aspect, which is fun to see other players, but there is little interaction. They are just like another one of the horde of humans, except, unlike the red shirts, almost everyone online is max level and gear and blowing through bosses in moments.

Diehard fans of the series will absolutely love Attack on Titan, and on the whole, it is not bad. It mainly just starts to bog itself down with nothing new or interesting happening, and the beginning of the game is definitely the best part of it.

Screenshot for Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Attack on Titan is a rare success for games based on anime. It has a fairly good control of the complex 3D manoeuvring, and the RPG aspects will keep players engaged longer, trying to level the best stuff. The major problems are that the majority of what there is to see is seen in the first couple of hours. Nothing new changes, and the battles grow repetitive as there isn't really much to do once the basics are down. It is cool to fly through faithful recreations of the lore, and true fans will love it, but others merely looking for an action-RPG may want to research it a bit more because the game starts great, but goes downhill from there.

Developer

Omega Force

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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