When I first saw Attack on Titan back at E3 2016, I didn’t have a very good impression of it. I thought the combat would be mediocre and the charm of swinging through the air with the omni-directional gear would be short lived. But it turns out I was only partly right with Omega Force’s Attack on Titan on PlayStation 4. It has some big flaws that stick out like the titans you bring down, but Omega Force does very well in capturing the essence and look of the anime and manga.
If you’ve never seen the Attack on Titan anime before playing the game, you won’t have to worry about feeling lost or left in the dark. The game focuses on the first season of the anime, with some extra original story as an epilogue based on the manga source material. Many of the cutscenes look and feel like complete recreations of shots you would see in the anime. Characters from both the anime and manga make appearances throughout, with a lot of them being playable at some point in the story, each with their own abilities and varying play styles. The main story took me about 15 hours to complete, which can change depending on how you approach each mission in the campaign.
Attack on Titan’s best feature is being able to swing through the air using the omni-directional gear from the anime. By hitting the Square button, you can shoot out a grapple that pulls you in any direction you point at with the analogue stick. Flying through the air is exhilarating and one of the cooler looking aspects of the anime and manga that translates phenomenally well into the game. The areas you play in are wide, offering lots of space to swing in and move around. It did take some time to learn how to control the swinging, but once I got the hang of it, I was flying through the air majestically. The game really shines when you’re swinging fast through the air towards any objective.
On the other hand, things take a turn when you start fighting against the titans. Combat is slow, requiring you to take your time attacking at the limbs of a titan before killing it with a shot below the back of its neck. You can target a titan’s neck for a quick kill, but it’s harder and made much easier only after you cut off the other limbs beforehand. The game offers helpful messages that explain when you miss an attack against in combat, which can be helpful when figuring out the easiest and quickest way to bring a titan down.
Cutting off titan limbs gives you items and money to buy upgrades to your weapons and gear for use in other missions. The titans themselves move around aimlessly on maps and attack erratically when you get near them. Aiming at a titan’s body part with your gear and swinging in for an attack is cool the first few times, but quickly becomes obnoxiously repetitive and boring the more that you do it.
What really impacted my experience were the bugs that popped up frequently during my time playing Attack on Titan. While playing through the campaign, there were a few moments where I saw titans get stuck in walls or phase through buildings on the map. This not only made it harder to kill them, but also bugged out their movement patterns completely. Other times I would find a titan that would constantly circle in place without ever attacking me or any of my companions.
The worst however, was finding a group of titans bundled in one area and watching them bug out together. It was difficult to distinguish any of the titans I saw, but also difficult to know exactly what I was targeting since the titans would phase right through each other. This could have been solved if there was a way the titans could clash into one another and have space in-between them, however that doesn’t happen at all and instead looks like a real mess.
A huge disappointment for me was the epilogue after completing the main campaign. The extra chapter after the main story is loosely based on the manga, but it’s padded with repetitive survey missions you must complete in-between each section. The survey missions are smaller side missions that take place in areas from the main story, but they are short and not very fun to play through.
I felt forced into these unimportant missions for only a fraction of the epilogue, which didn’t have a very good payoff at the end. You can play the survey missions with other players online, but the missions don’t last very long. Playing online is fun when you get into a mission with other players, which gives items and currency to use in your solo game, but they are still unimportant and lack the charm of the solo campaign missions.
As a translation of the show to a video game, Attack on Titan succeeds with some flaws along the way. Swinging through the air across a cityscape is great and made me feel like a titan killing warrior. The combat, while not the best, is an accurate representation of what you’ll find in the anime and manga. Unfortunately, the various bugs and overly repetitive sections will make this experience a little bit tedious for some to endure. Omega Force understands what is great about Attack on Titan, but there is a lot of room for some much needed improvement.
This review is based on a digital review code of Attack on Titan for the PlayStation 4, provided by Tecmo Koei.