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Attack on Titan REVIEW – A pleasant surprise, so take to the skies!

by Ron Duwell | August 26, 2016August 26, 2016 6:00 am PDT

Omega Force is back with yet another anime license to twist and turn into its generic hack n’ slash formula. The studio responsible for Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes is now tasked with recreating the popular anime series Attack on Titan.

You’d think that this would be my absolute nightmare of a game to review. Omega Force games are generally aimed at fans of the license they were working with and those who enjoy a lot of flash over substance to their game. Both Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes opened my eyes to the idea that maybe I’m just not that big a fan of its style.

Editor’s note from Joey: Please, dear readers, deal with Ron’s opinions on this anime that a lot of us love. He’s spot on with the game, and I’ll counter that he’s being silly about the show. Carry on, Ronald, man with bad taste in anime. Though, I agree with what he’s about to say about Shinji from Evangelion. JUST GET IN THE MECH AND STOP WHINING, SHINJI.

At the same time, Eren Yeager is the most intolerable character in an anime since Shinji Ikari, and if he would stop slobbering tears over the most minor of inconveniences for five seconds, I might actually be able to tolerate the show. I enjoy the lore. Several supporting cast members seem like solid characters, but I wouldn’t really call myself a “fan” of Attack on Titan thanks to troubled pacing and our central hero.

Editor’s note again: Ron, spoiler alert, Eren saw he’s mom literally eaten in front of him. You’d be “slobbering tears,” too.

Needless to say, this game was not aimed at me. Don’t like the studio, don’t like the show.

But, in a minor “dog days of summer” miracle, I really liked this game!

And good for Omega Force, too, because the very second it decides to break formula, it discovers that it has a talent for making a different style of video game. Not that it is overly complicated or anything, but Attack of Titan differs greatly from a typical product from this studio.

Gone are the button mashing days of repetitive combos. Omega Force replaces its epic attacks with nothing but a single deathblow move. Our heroes, because yes, a good many of the main cast can be controlled, even Eren if you want to, only have a single attack to bring down the hideous Titans. Fans of the show will know that one well placed strike is all it takes.

A typical Omega Force hero would fall prey to even the weakest of Titans because a barrage of weak-sauce paper-cuts do nothing against these guys. SLICE! Right to the back of the neck, at about shoulder length. The “nape,” they call it. One solid sweep of the sword and a lot of momentum, and that’s all you really need.

Now, the hard part is the excitement. How does Omega Force turn a “one attack” combat system into a full fledged video game? Easy! It turns to the show’s other claim to fame, the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. This idea was born to be in a video game. These tools fire out explosive wires that jam into the ground, and reeling them in a maximum speeds propel soldiers through the air, allowing them to travel great distances in a short time and maneuver safely around the hungry giants.

And when I say “born to be in a video game,” I mean it. Omega Force’s game perfectly captures the way that these should feel. Easy to control, feels great, and after small learning curve, you’ll be flying through the air like a professional. If these Vertical Maneuvering Equipment were any less fun to use, the game would be a disaster, but I’m having trouble thinking of a single time when they come up short.

Attack on Titan - 17

Maybe when the wires latch into a Titan and you revolve around them horizontally, it feels unnatural. That’s the wrong, lame way to play, though. The only proper way to bring down a Titan is to throw your wire into him as you fly past and slingshot back into his neck. I took down three Titans gathered into a small group, and yeah, I felt a bit like a badass.

And no, I wasn’t using Eren.

Even when Omega Force caves in to its poor judgement and adds horses to the fray, this mechanic is still able to elevate this pandering fanboy nonsense into a full-fledged “video game,” one worth checking out even if you don’t like the show.

I wouldn’t put it on the same level as Just Cause 2 “grappling hook and parachute” combo, but I would be lying if I didn’t say these fell in the same ballpark. I’m serious with the praise here.

Combat feels fresh and exciting, but as with most Omega Force games, it does tend to get a little repetitive. There’s no lie in saying that each and every Titan can be brought down in the same fashion. Omega Force’s only way to change the approach is to add material bonuses for taking down specific limbs.

Ultimately, in the tougher boss fights, it flat out denies a quick satisfying death by forcing players to take out specific limbs.

Yup, there’s only one real way to bring down the beasts, and if it didn’t feel so good, it would be more repetitive than a normal Omega Force game. Luckily… oh, it’s just so satisfying to bring the beasts down every time!

The rest plays out like you would expect. Action takes place on a battlefield with opposing meters. If the Titans kill too many soldiers, they start to run rampant, and the overall battle could be lost in spite of your personal performance. The meta-game is key here, just as much as the intimate killing of these Titans.

Sub-missions spring up around the map, which creates new allies and waypoints to stock up on materials. Closing out a battle grants experience points based on performance, and upgrades can be attached to weapons based on the raw materials. It’s all very basic.

And that’s just what Attack on Titan ultimately boils down to. A very simple action game that feels natural and satisfying. Nothing about it feels fake like the enormous combos in Hyrule Warriors that still leave enemies standing, and I really wish that Omega Force would take a few more risks and expand like this.

There is a quality gaming studio under there somewhere! It just needs to bloom, and Attack on Titan is the brightest bud we’ve ever seen!

$60 is fair for a fan. It might be a little much for someone casually interested in the series or Omega Force games, but like I said, this is one of the best the company has ever put out. I don’t blame you for being suspicious.

Buy

Joey chimes in: I basically agree with everything Ron’s said here, but I wanted to speak up as a fan of the anime itself. I watched it back when it was only being distributed in Japan, and I’ve been dying to see the second season much like most of you. Last I heard, Attack on Titan’s second season had been pushed to 2017, too!

Anyways, the game plays out like a recap of the show. Key moments are recreated in gaming form, and it’s great to take to the skies as Eren and company and slice the napes of some massive Titans’ necks. As a fan of the show, I’m really happy with this game. It’s not perfect, but it’s a blast. Ron pretty much nailed my concerns and compliments here. Fans would be alright with dropping $60, but those looking in on the show from the outside may want to give it a watch first. That’s not a bad thing, the show is fantastic. Get watching.

Disclaimer: We received two codes for Attack on Titan from the publisher for this review.


Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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