Attack on Titan is a cultural phenomenon both in Japan, and in the West. The manga was successfully adapted to an anime, which has spawned various games, including 2014’s Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains for the Nintendo 3DS. But now Koei Tecmo and developer Omega Force have brought the popular IP to the PlayStation 4 (and PlayStation 3 and PS Vita) in a stylish, cell-shaded action extravaganza that follows the first season of the anime and gives players the power to topple the large, many-toothed, human-eating Titans in glorious 1080p and at 60 fps (on PS4).
Attack on Titan gives players to opportunity to bring down freakishly creepy monsters styled after naked giants, by slicing them up limb by limb, all while trying to hit their soft spots on their backs, at the base of the neck. It’s a thrill to use the Omni Directional Gear (or unit) kit to swing back and forth, controlling your speed and slashing at the right time to turn these monstrosities into cole slaw. While Attack on Titan does the combat mechanic so well, after an hour or so (of the eight hour Attack/Story campaign) of bringing Titans to their knees — or stumps, if you slice them right — the action does seem to get repetitive. Luckily, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo relied heavily on the manga/anime source material, giving players purpose with an epic tale of humanity against an almost insurmountable foe.
The story of Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and their friends, of which players get to recruit and play all 10, plays out well in Attack of the Titan. After a tutorial mission, players are given a certain amount of freedom in how they upgrade weapons and gear, and each chapter seems to unlock new characters and locales. Between action stages, players have a chance to buy new gear, collect side-quests, upgrade and sell old equipment. On the battlefield, it is important to watch the status of the blade weapon and sharpen it when needed. Gas is also a requisite to power the OD gear. Luckily, each level has a supply unit that can help you out.
The music is taken directly from the anime and the voice acting is not localized, so the full emotion of what is happening on screen is relayed as it was in the original anime, which means, in short, Eren screams and shouts — a lot. After an hour or so, I had to turn down the sound, which a shame, as the music is very solid.
The real beauty here is in the action. Omega Force did an amazing job of taking the art of Titan-falling and condensing it into a video game. Characters zip back and forth, and teammates work in union with the player creating a sense of team work. The action in Attack on Titan is fast. One of the fastest games I’ve played in recent memory. And it’s gorgeous, too. The cell-shading works splendidly here, keeping the character models from blending into the backgrounds when things get super busy — and they do get super busy.
The Titans swarm. Some lumber, others run. Waiting too long can see your teammates get hurt, so that forces the player to be just as fast and as agile as they can, and the game allows for speedy agility. I quickly found my stride in using the lock button to plan my assault, as I was actually in the process of assaulting. It’s a brilliant game design, and even after taking out hundreds of Titans of all shapes and sizes, I still find joy in lopping off an arm at the elbow, then swinging around, pressing the X button for a speed-up, and then quickly tapping the Triangle attack button to hit that sweet spot that drops a Titan for good. It may get repetitive, but it never gets old (if that makes any sense).
Attack on Titan is a great representation of a beloved property. I’m one of the few critics who enjoyed Humanity in Chains on the 3DS, and here, playing the story yet again — which, when coupled with reading the manga and watching all 26 episodes of the anime a few times — means that I’ve now seen/heard/played this story multiple times. I know the beats; I know who dies and when, I know when a wall is abut to fall, and what happened to Eren in his story, and yet still I play. That is a testament to how wonderful this version of the property is, and how well Omega Force nailed it. Even after finishing the Attack Mode campaign, there is still a lot to enjoy with epilogue-type quests that flesh out the game and the world of Attack on Titan. For fans of the manga/anime, or even new fans to the series, this is a great representation of why Attack on Titan is as popular as it is.
Attack on Titan is available now for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita. This review is based off a PS4 review code provided by the publisher.
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