Review: Attack on Titan (PS4/PSV/PSTV)

attack-on-titan-review-banner-yr10

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Attack on Titan
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (PS4 20.36 GB) (PSV 2.99 GB)
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Original MSRP: $59.99 (PS4), $49.99 (PSV)
ESRB Rating: M
Attack on Titan is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and PC.
The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita download versions were used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Attack on Titan is an anime that took the world by storm in 2013 and has become one of the most recognizable franchises in recent memory. Now it has been adapted into a video game.

The premise is that humanity has been devastated by the appearance of giant sized humanoid creatures that have driven them to the brink of extinction. Now, backed into a corner, the survivors have built three walls to protect themselves from the titans.

The story revolves around three friends, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin who have joined the military’s effort to fight the titans. Eren, who witnessed a titan eat his mother, is out for revenge and his best friends Mikasa and Armin are joining him to protect each other.

Attack on Titan_20160825230948 Attack on Titan_20160823172524

The game is an adaption of the first season of the anime and it includes a lot of the major plot points and key moments. I do not feel like I need to spend a lot of time explaining the story, especially since those interested in this game are very likely to already have watched the anime or read the manga.

With that said, we can focus on the gameplay which is surprisingly well done. I say surprisingly because I was worried that this would just be a cash-in on the name which has already come to be plastered on everything.

The fight sequences in the manga and especially the anime always looked cool. They’re fast paced, acrobatic, and visceral and the video game captures that look and feel. You control one character each mission with some being from the series and others being original.

… Zipping around the battlefield is a blast …
Gameplay is built around the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear. For those unfamiliar, this is gear that gives soldiers the ability to zip across the battlefield and fight titans.

Capturing the look and feel of the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear is essential in making Attack on Titan work as a game and the developers absolutely nailed it here. Zipping around the battlefield is a blast while moving with a great deal of fluidity. It’s easy to travel across the large maps and attack the titans. I have not felt this exhilarated while flying around a city since the early Spider-Man movie games.

Combat uses the Mobility Gear to fling your character towards a specific limb of the titan and strike them using the blades. Limbs are targeted using the Right Stick and often each limb of a titan has to be destroyed before a final blow to the back of the neck can be achieved. Fighting is simple and most titans are dealt with rather easily. Where the game can get challenging is by throwing many titans and objectives all over the map.

Attack on Titan_20160826144208 Attack on Titan_20160826024217

The game breaks things into missions that take place in large areas. Throughout the area will be dozens and dozens of titans to deal with and a handful of people that need help. The main objective of a mission usually involves going to a specific point and clearing the location out before a final, larger enemy appears and is dealt with.

Most missions can be finished quickly and efficiently though your score after the match is based on helping allies and killing titans. That’s about it though. It’s a very “rinse and repeat” style game with little worthwhile variation in between.

Players will control various characters that each play in a slightly different way. For example, Eren is a rookie so his skill set is limited while Mikasa has a more advanced skillset. Then we have Armin who is not much of a fighter, but he is a great strategist so his skill is directing A.I. characters. And finally we have Levi who is just a pure badass, the most skilled of all the characters, and my personal favorite character in the anime and the game.

… the game felt repetitive …
There are some light RPG elements with characters leveling up after each mission and collecting resources that are dropped from titans. These can be used to power-up gear. Outside of learning a new move or two, the ability to improve gear is slight and in my initial playthrough it seemed unnecessary to advance in the story.

I never felt underpowered and rarely felt the need to improve my gear. It feels more like an addition to the game made to pad out the experience or it’s possibly needed on the highest difficulty. But even so, I have doubts.

After a bit of time the game felt repetitive. The story only took me around seven hours and despite that length, the experience felt like it was padded to fill time and I was growing bored of it towards the end. There are side missions that can be completed and I dabbled with them, but doing so made the repetitive nature of the game even more apparent.

Attack on Titan_20160826022537 Attack on Titan_20160825234642

Visuals:
Attack on Titan makes a pretty good transition to video games with some solid visuals. The game does have the appearance of “budget” title or at least a game that was made for the PlayStation 3 and brought over to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

The style of the anime in video game form is still eye catching with major scenes being recreated using the game’s engine and maintaining the look and feel of the source material. Character models look fantastic and the titans remain the creepy naked monsters people adore.

The game looks of a lesser quality within the environments. They sometimes look bland with muddy textures and a lack of variety through the course of the game. Honestly, the lack of variety is a theme with franchise, but it is hardly the game’s fault, it is more the limitations set by following the story so accurately.

… some framerate issues popping up …
Season One really only sticks to the town and forest so the game was limited to those locations. The developers chose to stay true to the source material even at the expense of diversifying the experience.

There are a few issues with the camera as it tends to freak out when a lot of titans are on the screen, even more so when trying to keep up with the auto-targeting. This was especially true when I found myself surrounded by many titans in small spaces. It was frustrating when it happened, but solved easily by zipping out of the situation and luring them out one by one for the kill.

I spent the vast majority of my time on the PS4, but I did play the Vita version which looks nice though it suffers from the same issues as the PS4 with some framerate issues popping up more frequently.

Attack on Titan_20160826022518 Attack on Titan_20160826015508

Audio:
The game features the original Japanese voice cast with English subtitles and as far as I can tell it is mostly the same cast as the anime. I am happy they decided to use the Japanese voice actors instead of doing an English dub because I am more familiar with the series and its Japanese cast.

The music also appears to be a lot of the same music one would expect from the show and it doesn’t deviate much from the source material. Overall, from the acting to the music it captures the tone and sound set by the anime and that’s what I wanted. Fans should be happy with this.

… a pretty successful transition to video games …
Online/Multiplayer:
In Expedition Mode, players can link up with their friends to take out titans. This is basically the Survey missions from the story so you and a friend can have fun taking out titans aimlessly over the internet.

I only connected to a handful of players during my review time and it all went fine with the sessions running smoothly. Mindlessly wiping out the titan population can be fun with others, but there is not much here to bring people back for more.

Attack on Titan_20160825223728 Attack on Titan_20160829023412

Conclusion:
Attack on Titan has made a pretty successful transition to video games. While the experience over time becomes repetitive, it’s still a fun experience. When I first watched the anime I wanted to play a video game version because of how cool the action looked. This game does a great job of capturing that.

I just wish there was more done to switch up the gameplay every now and then because it feels like a one trick pony that’s stretched from time to time. The story being restricted to Season One might have something to do with the gameplay limitations because that season is pretty restricted in terms of locations and the variety of fights.

For fans of the franchise, this game is a dream come true because they can finally zip around like Mikasa and Levi and feel like titan-killing badasses. However, those looking for a deeper gaming experience will be disappointed.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook