A different approach was needed from Omega Force when they took on the task of adapting Attack on Titan into a videogame. This is an anime franchise which quickly shot to fame thanks to its unconventional setting, disturbing imagery, and mature tone. Humankind is on the brink of extinction, cowering behind huge walls that keep the towering titans at bay. It’s a compellingly dark story, and a tricky one to do justice.
For a studio like Omega Force, which has built its legacy on high octane action romps, honing its expertise to meet the demands of Attack On Titan fans must have been a difficult task. It’s not uncommon to see developers struggle when bringing stories and settings from other mediums to videogames, but Omega Force is no stranger to adapting popular anime. They’ve released a regular stream of tie-ins loaded with huge set pieces and fan service for the likes of One Piece, Fist of the North Star and Gundam.
Attack on Titan features a world in which humanity isn’t simply outnumbered, but completely outmatched by the sheer size of the Titans that have become the dominant species. Humans are so easily crushed beneath the gigantic presence of the Titans, so easily torn limb from limb, so utterly inferior.
As a result, the game doesn’t nurture the same “1 vs. 1000” philosophy Omega Force has continued to iterate on for well over a decade. Instead, each skirmish is made up of dozens of single encounters – there are no screen-clearing combos here or a magic button press to wipe out an incoming warband.
Even if you’ve only seen a few snippets of the television show, you’ll have a rough idea of how things go down when battling a Titan. Using the rather nifty omni-directional gear, soldiers catapult themselves into the air, latching onto buildings, trees, and other vertical structures to gain momentum.
These same hooks will embed themselves into a nearby Titan when locked on. When this happens, players reel themselves towards their foe, striking at just the right moment for maximum impact. It gives the combat gameplay a strange yo-yo feel as you press several buttons in rapid succession while also targeting body parts with the right stick. Intuitive may not be the first word that comes to mind, yet it actually works. More importantly, it manages to emulate the same kill techniques as are used in the anime.
With enough kills under your belt, you’ll become a whirlwind of death, zipping from one Titan to the next without even touching the floor. That is until your characters run out of gas to power their gear and their blades dull from use. The game likes to keep the player in check, pushing you to make use of the more advanced features, such as recruiting new squad mates and upgrading equipment, so as to combat the ever more powerful Titans that you face.
Though it’s generally quite fair in terms of difficulty, some of the places where Omega Force ratchet up the difficulty feel a bit cheap. Remembering the necessary inputs while wrestling with the target lock is tough enough when facing two opponents, let alone a dozen at a time. Sadly, the game and the controls aren’t designed in a way that allows players to deal with these situations, and so you either fall back and lure out individual Titans or let them kick you about like a fleshy football.
Combat may feel like a complete departure from the Warriors franchise, but many of its other familiar features have crossed over. As ever, each mission is represented as a sprawling battlefield, populated by two warring forces. In typical Warriors fashion, one event will appear before another diverts your attention to the complete opposite side of the map. It’s a problem that’s starting to cripple the Warriors games, but thankfully A.O.T’s enhanced mobility alleviates this, especially when horses come into play.
Beyond the story-driven campaign, there are dozens of smaller side missions to partake in. Although completely optional, they dish out handy resources that can be spent on better blades, saddles, and omni-gear upgrades. You’re largely doing the same things throughout, and with missions that have you travelling back and forth, it gets to feel repetitive. Of course, the grind is much more tolerable when playing with others, and Wings of Freedom allows you to play side missions with up to four players in a session.
Much like One Piece Pirate Warriors and past adaptations, Omega Force has absolutely nailed that trademark anime look. At times you’ll forget you’re even playing a game and not watching an episode from the original series, the presentation is that on-point.
This is hands down the best Attack on Titan game you’ll find anywhere, though that in itself doesn’t make it a must-have. Whether or not it clicks depends entirely on whether you can get to grips with the finicky combat, and how easily you deal with doing the same thing over and over.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4