Review: Tackle one Titan at a time in Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is the best Spider-Man game I have ever played. Before you start leaving angry comments, I realize this isn’t a Spider-Man game. It’s an anime and manga-inspired adventure that sends folks out into the field to rappel around giants called Titans, hopefully slicing off bits and pieces of their bodies before swiping the napes of their necks. But, it’s also one of the few games to really accurately capture the controls and movements you’d expect when soaring through the air between buildings, trees and rocky crevasses.
That, of course, doesn’t make Attack on Titan any less tedious, but it certainly helps keep things interesting.
Attack on Titan is set in one of those post apocalyptic worlds storytellers are so fond of creating. A group of teenagers is, quite possibly, humanity’s last chance of defeating these Titans that infest the world. Our primary hero, Eren Jaeger, is unique in that he’s a Titan Shifter – a young man with the ability to transform into one of these Titans. The story begins within humanity’s last bastion, a city surrounded by three walls, as they attempt to hold back a hoard of Titans who’ve found their way through. Eventually, their crusade will take them beyond the walls and out into the world to handle new threats.
Attack on Titan isn’t exactly a Musou game, but rather a Musou-like.
This translates into hacking and slashing, but not the sort you usually get in Omega Force’s Koei Tecmo games. Attack on Titan isn’t exactly a Musou game, but rather a Musou-like. There are enough differences to set it apart and make the experience feel a little more unique and true to the Attack on Titan series. Unfortunately, the similarities are where the game begins to slightly unravel.
Titans are huge. They’re at least three meters tall, often quite taller, in the original series. These dudes are constantly moving and flailing around, and sometimes even their strolling around cities can get people killed. Not your character, of course, but the AI-controlled allies might be squished. You aren’t besieged by swarms of them, as in Musou games, but tend to only see one or two in the same area at a time. Attack on Titan encourages you to pick them off, one by one, a piece at a time.
Despite their size, these monsters are agile. To win, a player has to use the omni-directional mobility gear to get on their level. Once you get good at Attack on Titan, it’s possible to transition from standard movement to more focused controls that see you locking on to a specific body part for an attack. Once you reach a certain point, a visual trigger lets you know when to lunge in and strike, hopefully taking off an arm or leg or destroying the Titan’s neck. Taking out specific parts, which are marked, may result in materials. Any decapitated limb makes it easier to slow down the beast so it can be defeated. Thanks to tight controls and clear expectations, toppling Titans is a treat. The camera is the only thing that can get in the way, but it’s something you can get accustomed to. On the whole, I was honestly in awe of how entertaining and easy it was the first ten to twenty times I beat a colossus.
Especially since Attack on Titan requires you to tactically approach these situations. Blades get dull, hacking through these giants. You use up gas as you soar through the air with the ODM. Certain markers appear on the map, assigning you specific missions of varying importance. You need to prioritize your needs and plan out stops to refuel or sharpen weapons, recruit allies, issue general commands to the folks following you and use the Assault Signal to temporarily boost your strength and call for reinforcements.
Attack on Titan loses its magic when you’re doing the same maneuvers to take down ten or more Titans in a similar fashion in most missions.
The problem is, the feeling doesn’t remain after the glitter fades. Attack on Titan is an impressive game that works well. The first few missions, where you play as Eren, will blow your mind. Titan toppling is new to you, as is proper ODM usage, and it feels like a well orchestrated dance when you work out the timing and take down a foe in under a minute. Playing as Titan!Eren is entertaining the first moment it happens, since it puts you on equal footing with your foe. But, it gets old. Attack on Titan loses its magic when you’re doing the same maneuvers to take down ten or more Titans in a similar fashion in most missions.
There are times when that feeling resurfaces. If you put aside Attack on Titan for a time, then return to it either to complete more story campaigns alone or survey missions with friends online, it comes back. It’s impressive again. The key is parceling it out appropriately for maximum enjoyment.
Especially since you don’t necessarily want to get burned out on and abandon Attack on Titan due to the inevitable tedium that comes from Omega Force beat’em ups. The reason being, here we eventually get additional playable characters. They can function differently than Eren, our starter, due to skills they acquire when leveled up. Levi is especially great for people who like to get out there and attack, since he can chain together combos after his initial hit. You can get blueprints for better equipment, which can make missions that may seem impossible possible.
Attack on Titan should be savored in small doses. This is a game where it is very possible to get burnt out, even though soaring through the air like a post-apocalyptic, samurai Spider-Man is entertaining. As satisfying as it is to slice through Titans and take them down, it loses its luster when that’s all you’re doing. With proper pacing, it’s an entertaining game that does justice to its source material.
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