Attack on Titan - PS4 Review

Attack_on_Titan_PS4_cover_Image

  • System: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, and Steam
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo
  • Publisher: Omega Force
  • Rated: M
  • Release Date: August 30, 2016
  • Pricing:$59.99
  • Genre: Musou/Adventure
  • Official Website: http://www.koeitecmoamerica.com/attackontitan/
  • Japanese with English Subtitles

Who it Caters to

Attack on Titan - PS4 Capture Image 1
Even non-anime fans are not immune to the giant Attack on Titan wave that rolled through Western and Japanese pop culture the past few years. As a result, Koei Tecmo took notice and partnered with Omega Force once again to create an amazing game that both fans of the show and those unfamiliar with the franchise will love.

Before this new game was created, Spike Chunsoft had a go with their game Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. While the game had some potential, players soon moved on due to some of the game’s flaws, including a messed up camera and mission repetitiveness that drove away anyone who wasn’t a hardcore fan of the series. Now, Omega Force seems to have taken these complaints into consideration with their new game.

Omega Force is best known for the many Musou games it has created and is no stranger to adapting anime to the genre including Gundam and Fist of the North Star, but can Attack on Titan be successfully adapted? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, one of Attack on Titan’s strong points is that it stands alone as a great Musou game for those that aren’t even fond of the anime or manga. The game is fun and fast-paced keeping Musou fans on their toes thanks to the unique control scheme which gives this game a twist to an iconic genre.

What to Expect

Attack on Titan - E3 Trailer

Expect a lot of blood and a lot of gore. There are a lot of times where the player’s character will be covered in blood, so for those who are queasier around the red stuff, Koei has given the option to remove the gore.

The game will also ask players if they wish to start on Easy Mode. For the sake of getting through this review on time, I did play this on Easy but switched to Hard Mode for online. The difference is by leaps and bounds. Do not venture into the harder modes until characters are maxed out in skills and gear otherwise players WILL die constantly, or at least be critically injured for the majority of the mission, which is not fun at all. Resources also become quite scarce, so be careful not to use items carelessly.

Story *Spoilers Ahead for the Show/Manga*

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After decades of hiding behind three giant walls, humanity has come to terms with their new hidden lifestyle, that is, until one giant threat in the form of an abnormal titan begins to break down the outer walls, allowing its smaller minions inside to feast on the humans residing within. Countless victims fall prey to the titans’ hunger and survivors retreat to the second innermost wall in order to recuperate and develop a way to protect themselves from future attacks.

Enter Eren Yeager, whose mother was eaten alive by one of these giant brutes, and his adoptive sister, Mikasa. Both decide to join the military service, particularly the Scout Regiment branch, in order to find answers and seek out revenge for their loved ones. Though they are determined, will they survive the harsh realities the world has thrown them into?

The story not only stays on the same course as the original, but it actually develops faster allowing the game to move at a nice, crisp pace. The first three chapters cover all of what season one of the anime has touched on, but the Epilogue will go beyond the anime and into manga territory. For those anime watchers who wish to avoid spoilers, it may be best to delay this part of the game until the second season starts off. The Epilogue isn’t easily accessed since Koei makes players work for the extra content.

Gameplay

Koei and Omega Force are well known throughout the gaming world for their strategic Musou games that have dominated the genre, thanks to their popular Dynasty Warriors franchise. So it is no surprise that the developer took the same direction towards its new Attack on Titan game, but with some unique gameplay that throws players for a loop.

The main mode is the story driven Attack Mode that follows the timeline of the anime through the eyes of various characters. As the story progresses, the game will put the player in the shoes of Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and even, Levi, as they set out on missions to rid the world of the flesh-eating Titans threatening humanity.

Unfortunately, the player has no choice in choosing a character before the Epilogue (I played it all in one giant session, so I am uncertain if this is entirely accurate), which can be annoying at times when wanting a certain character’s skills, but makes sense considering certain points in the plot focus on different characters. The visuals do an amazing job as well. The characters are in a 3D cell shading style, a technique that now seems to be standard in most anime games, but the stages do not get the same treatment. It isn’t particularly noticeable when you’re fighting titans, though.

The controls are something really unique in that players are given the freedom to swing from tree to tree or building to building one minute and then, smite the neck of a titan with ease the next. While traveling, the player uses only two buttons, anchor and forward, to fly through the cities or forests with their Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. The option for a boost is given but uses gas that will eventually need to be restored via a Logistician on the ground. Blades that become dull after repeated use will also require replacement at some point in time, depending on difficulty level.

Once a titan is found, yellow markers will appear and indicate that the player is close enough to switch into Combat Mode by pressing R1. Once in this mode, the controls scheme changes. Players can choose a body part to anchor onto the titan by using the right thumbstick. After the player has anchored, they can choose to wait to attack, be knocked off, or use their boost to move quicker and gain momentum for a more powerful attack. Each character has different abilities as well; Mikasa and Levi can attack multiple times while Armin can order his party members or people he recruited, to take down the enemies for him. By attacking several body parts and completing side missions the DBS bar (Decisive Battle Signal) will fill and players can then utilize increased speed and more powerful attacks by unlocking the Decisive Battle Signals. The only exception to this is Eren, who transforms into his titan form and destroys everything.

Eren’s titan form is unique in that he can take down or severely damage even the toughest of enemies, but he is also slow and can easily miss fast moving targets like the female titan. Regardless, he can wreck weaker enemies so it’s best to save his ability for either a boss or when a player is ambushed by dozens of titans. The ability doesn’t last very long, so you'll have to use it wisely.

Attack on Titan - PS4 Capture Image 3
The game is divided into missions with the main objective of either protecting a location, escorting a character, or simply killing as many enemies as possible with a boss titan showing up at the very end. Several side missions will be available throughout each stage to allow players opportunities to recruit better comrades or gain items and unlock Logisticians on the map. The stages are usually quite large and give players free reign to pick and choose their priorities within the larger mission.

Time management plays a key role here, though. Most stages will utilize the VME to travel, but later in the game when Eren joins the Scout Regiment, a horse will be obtained allowing players to travel open landscapes and to anchor titans straight from their mount! Once the battle is done, the horse will return to the player so they may continue on their journey.

Titans vary in difficulty and most are defeated by slicing the back of their necks, but some may take a little more oomph. In order to expose their necks, players must attack various other body parts or use weapons such as flash grenades and sound grenades, before the enemy becomes vulnerable enough to attack their weak point. The only exceptions are some of the more story based bosses, but those are spoilers for anyone wishing to play the game.

At the conclusion of each mission, players are graded on their performance and given bonuses accordingly. Playable characters, skills, and outfits for Expedition and Attack mode may be unlocked with a good performance, and players are able to go back and play these missions in order to gain a higher score to potentially unlock more rewards.

In between these missions, players will be transported to different key areas depending on where their last mission took place. They may upgrade their equipment by purchasing new items, forging several items together, or enhancing the equipment already on hand by using materials obtained during missions, or by purchasing them from another shop. New horses are also available at the stable master and for some odd reason, players may also choose to display giant statues of titans they have previously defeated. Don’t worry about equipping different characters with different items, as all characters share equipment and money throughout the game.

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In between battle preparations, players are also able to interact with NPCs and revisit old missions, or take on Survey Corps missions in order to farm materials and advance their characters. While many may be tempted to power through the story based missions, it is highly recommended that players take on several Survey Corps missions in between story missions. They will be handy later on in the Epilogue when players are unable to progress without clearing entire areas in the Survey Corps missions. These extra missions are also available for play in Expedition Mode, so feel free to fly through these with friends!

In addition to the extensive story mode, the game also offers Expedition mode that allows players to play online with their friends by choosing stages and characters to finish various Survey Corps missions or special Expedition missions that may reward players with rare items and outfits. Up to four players can meet online to play together adding a whole new level of fun to the game, though it seems that local multiplayer is unavailable. The absence of split-screen is somewhat understandable due to the rapid movement and giant enemies, and could prove to be a giant headache.

Attack on Titan - PS4 Capture Image 5

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

While the majority of the game ran quite smoothly, sometimes battles with a giant titan could become quite frustrating due to camera issues. One of the biggest problems occurs during combat mode is when players have no control over the camera. This is when the right stick dictates what body part the anchor will attach to, leaving the game in charge of what the player is seeing and becoming quite confusing when a titan decides to pile drive a building, obscuring the view of the player. The player will even be kicked out of combat mode, sometimes changing the control scheme and causing players to end up flying away from the enemy, only realizing their mistake after the damage is done.

The only indicators of combat mode are the red markings on the joints of the titan and the small icon at the top of the screen which displays what body part is being focused on. This is all fine and well, but in the heat of battle, many of these tiny features on screen melt away, shocking players when they have been thrown from combat mode. This tends to happen more in the town settings, but it can ruin the rhythm of a player.

Honey's Pros:

  • True to Source Material
  • Online Four Player Co-op
  • High Replay Value

Honey's Cons:

  • No Local Multiplayer
  • Have to Grind for Epilogue
  • Sometimes Knocked out of Combat Mode

Honey's Final Verdict:

Koei and Omega Force’s Attack on Titan is a solid game that provides players countless hours of gameplay through both online and story missions, while also allowing players to customize the way they play. Thanks to the ingenious creators, players can swing from tree to tree and really feel genuine like they are in the game, something that even non-AoT fans can get behind. Attack on Titan is a good way to introduce gamers to the franchise as the story is paced out rather well and keeps players on their toes, thanks to challenging missions with mixed objectives - something refreshing in a Musou game.

The only thing missing from the E3 demo was Titan Mode, where Eren remained in his titan form to complete missions. Perhaps this was only in the demo to demonstrate Eren’s ability to use his alternate form, but it would have been an amazing feature had this been an actual mode included in the final version of the game. The lack of a Titan Mode didn’t deter the positive experiences with this game, though. In the end, the game is well balanced, isn’t lacking in content, and is definitely something both Musou and anime fans should check out, whether they know the story or not.

Nikki Flores

Writer

Author: Nikki Flores

You may know me by my witty and excellent prose, but I assure you there is a real person underneath this brilliant exterior. As a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan in search of the One Piece. Together my crew consisting of a white dog named Yuki, an evil cat named Kyubei, the wise feline Pickles, and my ever supportive husband Aaron, we travel the globe seeking life’s greatest treasures. Oh, and I’m sure one day I’ll eventually meet Trafalgar Law in the New World. I hope. Please? *pout*

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