Short Version: It’s pretty darn good! I have found myself struggling to stop playing it on my PS Vita because of how addicting it is. It’s very true to the anime, almost to a fault. Titan killing is really fun and has a great punch to it, but it’s pretty much the only thing you do in this game. Graphics are great and so are the music and the cutscenes retelling the anime. The controls take a bit of getting used to, but you’ll get the hang of it. If you are an Attack on Titan fan, you’ll enjoy this game quite a bit.
Long Version: As a viewer of the Attack on Titan anime, I had concerns about this video game adaptation. Since it’s a fairly common situation to see licensed games based on movies or TV shows not live up to the same standards of quality than conventional, more original video games. I was concerned that the Attack on Titan game might suffer a similar fate to the previous 3DS release Wings of Liberty, which was met with middling to negative reviews. Fortunately, after playing through the game, seeing the credits roll and still have many more missions to complete, I can safely say that Attack on Titan does not disappoint and will leave you wondering where all the time went as you realize that it’s 2 in the morning and all you’ve done is play this game.
Build A Wall
Attack on Titan is an incredibly popular anime series revolving around humanity trying to fight against these giant and very disturbing Titans. Through military training, our young main characters set off to defeat these hungry monsters by using a maneuver gear that allow them to swing around the environment in a very Spiderman-like manner, then slashing their weak point with blades, which is the nape area of their bodies. Of course, there is a significant amount of character development and other happenings in between that, but that is the general idea of Attack on Titan and the bigger focus of the video game adaptation.
As you start your adventure, you will be met with many well-made cutscenes telling you about its world and introducing all the main characters. The 3D aesthetic translates very well and immediately gives off the same style and feel of its source material. Obviously, the game will never go into the same level of detail as the anime or manga, but it shows all of the more important set pieces of the series with the amount of reverence that one would expect. Of course, all of the original Japanese voice actors are here along with the same memorable music and art style that the series is known for, which makes everything all the more enjoyable. There is no English dub, but a good job was made in translating everything. This is fine, since most Attack on Titan fans would rather consume this series in Japanese anyway.
Though it seemed pretty clear and easy to understand for me, there are still many other details about the story that the game leaves out, particularly in most of the character’s backstories. Though this game is very faithful to the series, I would probably recommend newcomers to watch the anime first, and then play this game. Besides, most of the excitement of playing will come from understanding how this world works and finally being able to be in the shoes of one of the characters and defeat Titans with your own hands, which brings us to the gameplay.
It feels great to kill Titans in this game, which is something that I’m very happy about, considering that 80% of what you’ll be doing will be precisely that, while the other 20% is watching the story unfold and buying upgrades. As described before, the story lets you jump from one character to the other and use them to swing around buildings, eventually latching on to Titans and cutting them up until they fall over. This is done through a pretty unique control scheme in which you target specific part of a Titan’s body to latch on to, then stop moving the analog stick to zip forward and time your attack correctly in order to deal more damage. This style of doing things can take a little bit of time to get used to, since this form of fighting is unlike anything I have ever played before. After completing a couple levels, you will definitely start to get a groove going. Before you realize it, you’ll be quickly zipping around from one place to the other, killing Titans while barely ever touching the ground, making you feel like the coolest person in the world.
Never Taught To Fight Alone
The only problem that I’m finding with this experience is that there really isn’t much else to do other than that. Granted, you can purchase upgrades in between levels, fight in different environments and even ride a horse, but it still boils down to more of the same Titan killing. It feels incredibly satisfying, but it can inevitably feel a bit repetitive. I can always respect games that are capable of doing one particular thing very well, but I would’ve appreciated it if they had added more things to do such as dialogue options, deeper exploration of the characters or even being able to create an original character of my own to play around with. That way, I could fight alongside the main cast in some sort of original story made for this game. There are simply so many ideas that come into mind that make me feel even more baffled to find that this game only has the one form of combat gameplay, regardless of how addicting and well-done it is. I like what this game offers, but it wouldn’t have hurt to have some more stuff in between all the fights.
Speaking of which, I would like to address the graphical aspects of this game, particularly on the PlayStation Vita version, which is the one I played for this review. Personally, I had a great time with it and didn’t mind most of its shortcomings, which involved some pretty harsh looking textures, a ton of pop-in and frame rate issues. I have always been pretty open and honest about the fact that I am not a person that concerns himself with specs or gets too fixated about frame rate and stuff of that sort, especially if the game is fun to play regardless of that; if I was, I would probably just play PC games exclusively. However, just because that’s how I am, that doesn’t mean that everyone else will think the same. I would like to point out these issues since I am very well aware that many people will see that as a problem, which I completely understand, but they weren’t for me.
There were many moments where a Titan was supposedly right next to me, but then it suddenly popped in like magic, which took some time to get used to. Also, whenever you kill a Titan, there is some slow motion involved, but on top of that, there is a lot of slowdown and frame rate drops, which don’t go away until the Titan is done falling to his death. These among some other smaller details will make players consider the game unplayable. In my experience, I got used to it and still kept on having a lot of fun playing this with a PlayStation TV, where the game adapted to my controller and changed the control scheme accordingly, which I found to be an awesome and considerate attention to detail. Heck, even the color of the buttons change on screen when the game realized I was using a Dualshock 3 to play this game, which is not a thing that most developers ever worry about. In any case, if these things bother you, and being able to play Attack on Titan on the go is not a good enough selling point for you, then I recommend you play this is on PC or any of the other more powerful consoles.
Enough Blood For Everyone
Either way, it is important to talk about what the game is, rather than what it isn’t. Attack on Titan, in a nutshell, is a faithful and fun recreation of the popular anime that hits many right marks, but not all of them. I like to think that most of these things I wanted to see in the game will be left for further sequels, which will inevitably be the case, considering the ongoing series’ massive popularity. Playing the game in a portable device was great for me, but has some technical issues that might enrage anyone else. However, no matter where you play it, the faithfulness and love put into making a good Attack on Titan experience is palpable, which serves as a decent entry point for newcomers and a refresher course for hardcore fans. Whether it’s on PC or on a Vita, I recommend it.