Although a few years have passed since the anime aired, “Attack on Titan” is still showing it has a lot to offer, from movies to merchandise and of course, video games. This time we got a second game for Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PSVita titled “Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom” in what I expect is part of the pre-hype for the second season.
I know that last bit had a spiteful tone to it, but to explain myself, the game follows the events of the first season of the anime, including the OVA “Ilse’s Notebook”, serving as a recap. This is one of the strong points of the game. As it follows the story closely enough that if you watched the anime, you could play without subtitles and still understand what’s going on. The game also comes with Japanese voices and English subtitles, which are deeply appreciated, with the original voice cast coming back –including minor characters that did not last long, like Mina and Thomas- in all its glory and outstanding performances.
So, what about the gameplay mechanics of the game then? Well, Omega Force seems to have put quite the effort into making the 3D Maneuver Gear mechanics to be as authentic to the show as possible. As they are truly fluid, fast and dynamic, and that makes flying around the stage very fun in itself. Which is great! And as quick as you move around you could find a titan and switch to Attack Mode, slice its extremities and nape and then continue on your way just as fast. However, be sure to observe the terrain you are on. Because if you find yourself in a place like the plains, the 3DMG will be pretty much useless. Furthermore, it will slow you down when you´re doing escort missions or trying to reach a partner in need.
Another thing to keep in mind is your gas and blades gauges, as they deplete as you move around or kill titans you need to change them, and even then you may find yourself with an empty inventory and no gas or blades. Fortunately, there are soldiers scattered all around the stage who will give you items (sometimes partners or people you rescued will lend you gas as well). Whenever you are in critical health, there will be a window moment to escape (called Focus Time). However, these are limited so it is not a good idea to rely on them too much. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you have killed sufficient titans or completed enough side quests a gauge will fill up. And you will be able to use the Decisive Battle Signal, which a super mode where your blades and gas gauges will not deplete, and your partners will focus their attacks on the titan you target.
The crafting system lets you develop, upgrade and fortify new blades, canisters and 3DMGs with materials you have gathered from your expeditions with the funds you also earn from them. Development is directly related to regiment level, which you raise as you complete the story or do expeditions, allowing you to get brand-new equipment, buy materials and access to better horses. Characters level up as well, gaining abilities as they do, like doing vertical kills or double-boosting speed.
Sadly enough though, it gets repetitive after a while: kill some titans, aid some comrades, kill some more titans, bigger titans show up; rinse and repeat. This is where online play kicks in. As the expedition Mode lets you play with up to four people either Ad-Hoc or online, the host picking the expedition you will do. This is the best way to finish the side quests expeditions, level up characters and regiment as well. However, where the game truly shines is in Expedition Mode a.k.a co-op; I can say I spent a whole day playing online just because it was so fun to see who had the most kills by the end of the round, also making the task of completing the massive expedition list and leveling up characters much easier –my bias for Levi showed when I reached his level cap in a day.
Unfortunately (despite the fact that I had a lot of fun with the game),“Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom” is far from flawless. You see. Wings of Freedom is a game that was originally developed for PS4, and it shows. As the downgrade for it to run on the PSVita hurts the game in several key aspects. The most glaring example is models and textures: with the former objects like buildings look like cardboard boxes with not-so-good painting, and they even lose the little details they have if you see them from afar; backgrounds suffer the same problem, with textures on both looking like something out of the PSX-PS2 era. Character models do not get it easy, either, with them looking stiff during in-game cut scenes and almost no shades to give them some detail. Sometimes titan models will not show up until you are close enough, which is quite a problem when you consider these are, well, titans.
Performance-wise “AOT: WOF” also has its problems: lots of clippings through buildings when a titan falls, making it difficult to cut extremities or even its nape. Lots of framerate issues when there is a lot going on onscreen, like several titans going after you or the slow-mo shot when you kill one…And this can be very detrimental to the gameplay experience with for some. Nevertheless, “AOT: WOF”is most definitely worth getting if you´re a fan of the series.
+ Amazing OST with Japanese voices
+ Fast gameplay and fluid mechanics
+ Fun to co-op with people online
– Poor textures and graphics in general
– Clipping everywhere
– Framerate problems when there is too much going on onscreen
Replay Value: 3/5
All in all, “Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom” is a fun game that I would recommend for both fans of the anime/manga and people who want to play something with friends online. However, I will suggest you to buy the PS4 version to get the most juice out of it, graphics and performance-wise. Furthermore, that version can easily gain a couple more extra points out of my rating.
Title: Attack on Titan Wings of Freedom
Developer: Omega Force
Release date: 2016-08-26 (EU), 2016-08-30 (NA)
Spent time: 20 hours
Average grade internationally: 70:00% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: 18
Price: 59.99€ / 49.99$ USD via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by Play-Asia.
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