Sticking its neck out
Anime games have a certain stigma attached to them. They’re either seen as horribly rushed out the door to capitalize on the anime’s success, or hollow budget games that do nothing to show off the uniqueness of the property.
Thankfully, in recent years, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo have been trying their hardest to lose this stigma, with hack & slash titles like The Heroic Adventures of Arslan, and the titan slaying roamp Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom.
WoF tells the story of the anime adaptation of Attack on Titan. Taking place in a world set thousands of years in the future where mankind has been relegated to living behind walls. The story follows a young boy named Eren Yeager and his friends, Mikasa and Armin, as they fight against terrifying titans that set to destroy what remains of humanity.
The game follows the anime’s story in its own way. It doesn’t bother going into the political issues or deeper meanings of the story, it just wants to focus on how cool characters look swinging about pretending to be spider-man. It occasionally stretches out some fights and adds some filler missions to flesh out the characters a bit more, but it doesn’t ever capture the heart of what the show is really about.
However it manages to hold its own as a compliment to the source material. But when the game wraps up at the end of chapter 2, there’s still two more chapters left, and that’s when the game tries its hand at an original story. And try as it might, it fails to capture even a shred of what the actual story of Attack on Titan offers.
Thankfully, the story is by far the weakest aspect of the game. Because once the game properly starts and you’re flying about hacking off large chunks of titan meat, WoF becomes an incredibly entertaining and rewarding experience.
WoF keeps it simple with you having one job, kill all titans! And the game wants you to be able to have as much fun as you can while doing it.
The game’s tutorial does a great job at introducing the controls to new players, and while the controls seem daunting at first, after the first 5 minutes it becomes second nature and you’ll be slaying titans in no time.
What makes the killing of these titans constantly exciting and rewarding is just how much variety there is in the approach to kill them. Yes, at the end of the day you’re still slicing the back of their necks, but there’s a wide range of ways to go about it. You can go for the standard approach of zooming in and slicing, or you can use a sound grenade to stun them, before hacking off their lecks so they can’t escape, then finally going in for the kill and getting a gold medal.
After 15 hours, it was still satisfying to defeat a tricky titan by using the tools I had.
And the greatest tool you have at your disposal is the maneuver gear.
The maneuver gear acts as your best way to get around, allowing you to zip from one location to another in an instant. It’s also used to attach yourself to titans and escape dangerous situations. The controls for the maneuver gear are perfect, Spider-man 2 web slinging levels of perfect. It was always exciting pulling off tricks at high speed as I spun around a city slashing up titans.
The game wants to make you feel like you’re playing scenes from the anime.
Another way it does this, is with the character selection. Different characters have different stats and abilities. For example, Eren is a pretty good all rounder, but doesn’t exceed to well in anything, however as the story progresses and he unlocks his hidden potential, it becomes usable in game to help defeat titans. Meanwhile someone like Armin, who can’t fight titans at all, can command others to attack for him while he scouts the area.
Giving the characters their own ever so slight differences in gameplay makes every battle feel memorable.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom has no right being as fun and addictive as it is, but it somehow manages to soar high above the rest when it comes to games in the “anime genre”. While it’s definitely made with the fans in mind, those who have never heard of the franchise can still get a kick from flying about and killing massive naked people with sharp swords.