Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom Review
Humanoid monsters that seem to dwarf Godzilla, who actively seek out human meal replacements, there is something deeply unsettling about the oversized Titans from the well-known anime: Attack on Titan. War, the destruction of humanity and a fear of the unknown are the central themes, the character death rate sometimes gave me Game of Thrones flashbacks. This series has a cult following due to its intense story line and incredible graphic design, so the game had very big shoes to fill. Having never seen the anime, nor read the related manga I went into this game blind, and that was something that really hurt my experience.
In an alternate reality humanity has been fighting a losing battle against the demon like Titans. Several years of resistance was achieved by the humans with the aid of three large walls, separating civilisation from the barren wasteland that somehow spawns the Titans. Soon enough the gargantuan predators find a way to break through the walls, once again feasting on the flesh of terrified and helpless citizens. This was as much of the story I managed to glean from the beautiful scenery that whizzed past my overwhelmed eyes. Not being able to understand the finer details of this complex story was frustrating and distracting as I tried to decode the visual cues and the cut scenes.
Trained and ready to save humanity are a small military force, the Omega Force, soldiers who fly around, grappling trees and rock structures to speed through the air. You feature as one of these flying Omega assassins, hacking and slicing through giants who have the speed and intelligence of a drooling baby. Making this process even easier is a targeting system for Titans’ weak spots, landing a lethal slice is literally a few buttons away. Gliding from rock to tree soon transitioned into face planting rock and tree, simply because the third person camera angle bounced like it was in the back of a jeep on safari. This bouncy camera coupled with mandatory subtitles (the audio is Japanese) meant that my eyes flew over the screen faster than my character did. This all culminated in a school like ranking system, S is the coveted rank and was sadly easy to achieve, revealing WoF’s fatal flaw: the gameplay is too easy.
Equipment doesn’t last forever and could be replenished using support characters on the battlefield and through drops from defeated Titans. Red and white dots plagued the mini map like a bizarre mix of chicken pox pimples, the red dots for Titans, white dots for the support characters. Items looted from combat could be crafted into bigger better things, but this was almost completely ignored because the basic items were already too effective on the hardest setting of the game. There are 60 side missions that can be played for even further bonuses, however you’d have to enjoy the game and its combat system far more than I did to traipse through them.
So much of this sounds negative, which is unfair because if you’re a fan of the series this game has a lot to offer. Referring to friends who were Attack on Titan fans it was interesting to see how easily they could explain things barely understood, and how excited they became over features that had been adapted from the show. Character weapons, equipment systems and the story lines that Koei Tecmo wove into the game ignited a childlike spark of wonder in these people. This does not negate all of my criticisms, but it suggests that people who are familiar with the series will find much more enjoyment from the game.
Visually Wings of Freedom was stunning but my aforementioned speeding eyes were too busy focusing on the important parts of the game to take in the world that had been crafted. Attack on Titan had a beautiful presentation, stunning graphics and terrifying character design, Wings of Freedom has replicated this admirably. Cut scenes could have been plucked from the anime (for all I know they were) but all of this was lost on me because I have never seen the show. Fully understanding the story was impossible because so much of it was told using visual references, in the end I had to ask someone who had seen the series so that I could understand what was happening. Wings of Freedom wasn’t a bad game, the repetitive ease of the gameplay was subtly confidence building but it is truly lost on people who aren’t already invested in the anime.
About: Sarah Rigg
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