Title: Attack on Titan - Wings of Freedom

Platform: Windows, Steam, PS4, Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Action RPG, Hack n’ Slash

Players: Single player, Online Co Op (1-4)



Written by Whistler 20th September 2016


















While I’m sure there are still arguments in regards to the hype surrounding the Attack on Titan series, you have to admit that the show and in turn the manga is one of the most popular newer works of fiction in recent years.

Sure the whole ‘humanity taking a last stand against a seemingly unstoppable force’ has been done before, but the combination of elements really helped Hajime Isayama’s story stand out. The horror of something knocking us down the foodchain, the utterly fragile state humanity could be reduced to and the terrifying concept of an unknown force of nature bring together some fantastic narrative that dives deep into our primal psyche.

It’s not for everyone but Attack on Titan was so immensely engrossing in its depiction of humankind as the underdog, delivered in a surprisingly grim and yet inspiring style. However can Omega Force, the developers behind the generation spanning Musou series, bring about the same engrossment in their adaption: AOT - Wings of Freedom?


Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom follows the first season of the anime relatively closely. For over one hundred years humanity has managed to survive behind three behemoth sized walls (Maria, Rose and Sina) that protect them from the gigantic humanoids surrounded in mystery, the Titans. The world painted is a rather bleak one as humankind has been reduced to the thousands and just as we thought we were ‘safe’ a Colossus Titan breaks one of the once thought impenetrable outer walls.

Tragedy strikes which forces our protagonist Eren Yeager to swear an oath of revenge.

























Normally a human would be severely outmatched against their giant enemies and so utilize specialized grappling hook-like technology that allow the user to propel and reel themselves through the air to gain a mobile advantage over the Titans.

Quite possibly the greatest achievement in Wings of Freedom is how accurately they have translated the manga’s iconic Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear. Straight from the game’s tutorial level you get to swing around Spiderman style as you hook onto nearby structures and throw yourself into the sky. I’d honestly go so far as to say Omega Force have done a better job recreating that exhilarating sense of wonder and speed than almost any of Spiderman games. It can occasionally be awkward as you chuck yourself face first into a building, but this works in its favour in regards to the original source material. Once you’ve mastered it being able to dart around the map hunting down Titans is an absolute blast.


However it must be said that while admirable, Omega Force’s dedication to the source material also serves as a one of Wings of Freedom’s biggest flaws. While combat is enjoyable for the first couple of hours it becomes painfully obvious that the game’s formula has been stretched rather thin as it attempts to occupy the space of a full title. Avoiding some repetitive digs at Tecmo Koei for their, well, repetitive nature; Wings of Freedom is stupendously repetitious. Similar to the Dynasty Warriors franchise, missions are fairly identical to each other as you make your way through the stage slaying Titans, helping comrades in need and occasionally defending a structure or escorting an objective. How you slay a titan is simple, once within range you can lock onto several choice limbs and their achilles heel below the neck. Now in the theory this means you have to strategically target other limbs in order to weaken the target, such as being able to limit their movement by chopping off a leg. But in actuality the game is so far removed from any sense of challenge that you can in most cases go straight for the nape with ease. Cranking the difficulty up to Hard mode provides little additional challenge by increasing the depletion of your blade and gas gauges, which doesn’t fix how easy it is to slay the rather sluggish Titans.

























The repetitive structuring of the gameplay and watered down difficulty dilute the overall experience for those expecting something to be enjoyable in long bursts. That being said it’s still enjoyable in shorter play sessions which is complimented by the Wings of Freedom’s visual presentation.

I’m sure we’re all sick to death of the cell shaded style used for every manga adaption, however the combination of lighting, textures and smooth framerate really bring the characters and action to life (though this is covered up on occasion due to the constant plastering of text boxes and visual information displayed on the UI). While somewhat lacking impact for certain scenes it’s still a wonder to see some of our favorite moments presented in 3D with good accuracy. On the PC front there were also little to no visual hiccups and all round silky smooth 60fps to keep the action flowing.


Wings of Freedom does try to keep things fresh with an assortment of the cast you get to play during the story mode and a handful more in free mode.

Players can fill the boots of Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Hange, Jean amongst a total of ten playable characters with small differences. Mikasa and Levi can utterly decimate titans with multiple attacks, though physically weaker Armin can direct his squad to attack on command and Eren can eventually transform at will.


The biggest problem AoT is how the later half of the game is so aggressively padded out. Once you finish the main campaign that clocks in at maybe 4-5 hours, should you want to see past the first season of the anime you’ll need to slog through something around ten or so scouting missions in order to play the next story related one. These scouting missions play much like the story ones excluding any semblance of story where the grind really sets in. I honestly couldn’t muster the willpower to playthrough anymore of them after the 2nd scrap of additional story was thrown my way and it almost sours the initial enjoyment. Now you can play these scouting missions online with friends which could alleviate the grind, but given the lack of initial challenge, co op only goes onto to compound that issue further.

























Omega Force even while anchored heavily by the manga’s narrative limitations, have crafted an awesomely enjoyable hack n slash that fantastically replicates the source material. It’s as close as we’re ever likely to get in terms of a video game adaption but does find itself lacking in substance. The feeling of empowerment as you zip around buildings slaying giant foes is an absolute thrill ride for AoT enthusiasts and the game can serves as decent entry point for those looking to get into the series. However it is hampered by poor attempts at padding it gameplay length, lacklustre challenge and lack of variety. Wings of Freedom isn’t a perfect anime title, but once the prices drops a bit it’s certainly worth playing.




Pros:

Accurately adapts the source material,

Enjoyable gameplay in short bursts,

Maneuvering feels fantastic.


Cons:

Limited in variety due to the source material,

Padded out late game,

Bombardment of UI clutter tends to ruin the visuals,

Repetitive gameplay.

 

Final verdict,

Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom scores a 7 out of 10.

 

Written by,

Whistler

 

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