Attack on Titan Review
Based on the acclaimed manga and anime of the same name, Attack on Titan accurately captures its animated counterparts brutal, violent world in one fluid, visceral experience.
As a fan of the anime myself, I was curious to see how well — or how badly — it’d translate to a game format. I was a little hesitant, wondering whether the game would let me down, expecting to see it fail to capture the harsh, savage assaults we see in the anime.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
Slice and dice
I won’t go into detail but for those of you unfamiliar with the original material, Attack on Titan is set in a giant feudal city walled-off from the outside world, which is populated by titans — giant, naked humanlike creatures who love to devour humans whole. As you can expect, the “hide in a fort forever” idea doesn’t last, with a colossally-oversized titan eventually appearing and breaking holes in the walls, letting others in to destroy and devour. Attack on Titan revolves around Eren and his burning desire to join the scout forces, aiming to kill off titans and venture out to discover the mostly-unknown outside world.
If you’ve sat and watched the anime, Attack on Titan‘s story mode will feel extremely familiar. You’ll play through all the major events from the first season, with all the little details captured wonderfully. Attack on Titan brings in the Japanese voice actors from the anime, reprising their roles in the game, while the visual style of the game is spot on with capturing the look and feel of the franchise — everything from Mikasa’s cool and calculated approach to combat to the disturbingly creepy, misproportioned titans parading around the town.
While each mission has its own goals and objectives, they typically break down to getting from A to B, attacking and killing titans as you go, with the odd diversion cropping up in the form of flares, signals for help from allies around the battlefield. Missions can get pretty hectic; you’ll find multiple titans in front of you while several different allies around the town are running out of time, requiring assistance before they’re wiped out and have to evacuate. Attack on Titan does a good job of inducing a panic state, hammering you with calls for help while letting you know that main objective of yours is falling fast, none of which you can immediately get to as you’re in the middle of a titan fight.
Travelling around in the game is made easy thanks to your omni-directional movement gear, which essentially lets you fire harpoons that attach to nearby buildings or objects, propelling you forward. It’s an odd system, but once you’re accustomed to it you’ll be whooshing about the city with reckless abandon. You’ll also be using these anchors in your fight against the enemy, as you’ll be anchoring to the titans themselves, pulling yourself towards them in order to get close enough for your blades to do some real damage.
Combat itself has a good feel to it — once anchored to a titan, you can propel yourself towards either its nape or, in the case of larger titans, your choice of limb. Cutting off arms stops the titan from grabbing and killing you, while amputating legs drops it to the floor making for a much easier kill target. Titans will soon regenerate their limbs, however; the only way to kill them is a good strike across the nape of their neck.
Once you’re used to how combat and target acquisition works, titan slaying is remarkably, and perhaps disappointly, trivial. Chaining from one titan to another, slicing through necks and watching their lifeless gargantuan bodies slam against the ground is satisfying, but it feels like the grand sense of incredible danger the titans pose isn’t quite captured here.
The third-person camera has a few issues here and there, too. Swinging around corners or encircling large titans sometimes gets the camera caught up on terrain or inside another nearby titan, briefly making it impossible to tell what’s really happening. It’s not gamebreaking in any sense, though having a titan’s naked butt fill the screen as you’re trying to focus on saving the city is interesting.
Outside of the main story mode, you can embark on expeditions — scouting missions beyond the walls for supplies and general titan slaying. Expeditions feature virtually every area you’ve seen in the anime, from Stohess to the Forest of Giant Trees, and are a great way to collect materials for crafting and improving your weapons and movement systems.
Materials and funds are shared between expedition mode and story mode, meaning that if you’re having issues in the main storyline, jumping into some expedititions can help get additional upgrades to get an edge on those titans. Expedition mode is also the multiplayer portion of Attack on Titan, allowing you to venture out in a squad of up to four players.
Attack on Titan is a visceral, polished game that accurately captures the angry brutality of the original material. Its 15-20 hour campaign captures each key moment in the anime so far, with combat feeling fluid and natural, though it can get a little repetitive on prolonged playthroughs. Fans of the manga or anime should definitely give this a look.