Attack On Titan is, arguably, one of the most popular Anime series’ of all time, alongside that of Sword Art Online, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Shonen staples like Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach. While it’s original Manga began in 2009, it didn’t receive any kind of mainstream attention until the airing of it’s Anime adaptation in 2013. The Manga scaled the best-seller charts alongside the rise in the Anime’s popularity, eventually coming to produce a gargantuan audience of die-hard fans. As you could imagine; the more beloved this series became the more people wanted from it, which has lead to both a Manga and Anime spin-off as well as, at this point in time, a couple of games.
The first game, Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains, was released in 2013 to a heavily below-average reception. It is now 2016 and video game development studio Omega Force have just released their very own take on an Attack On Titan game, one that boasts an enjoyable yet intricate control scheme that will ultimately prove to the Attack On Titan audience that developing a gratifying game based on such a series is indeed possible.
Thanks to Tecmo Koei who have provided us with an early copy of the game, which is now available across Australia and New Zealand, we at SnapThirty were given the chance to discover, first hand, the development might of Omega Force. Not only is this game out to prove that Attack On Titan can be translated well into a video game format but, more importantly, that Omega Force can produce more than simple clones of their previous games.
The story of the game is, to an almost exact degree, simply the story told in both the Attack On Titan Anime and Manga. Specifically, though, it is the Anime that this video game follows more closely. While there isn’t a great deal of difference between the content of the Anime and the content of the Manga, the Anime is still far behind that of it’s source material in regards to it’s placement in the story. Playing through Wings Of Freedom will not spoil anything past the Anime…to a certain degree. The final missions of the game’s story do take players to a point in the story that is just beyond where the Anime ended, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most Attack On Titan Anime-specific fans who are itching to get their hands on Season Two. Take this is somewhat of a teaser.
The story unravels quite well throughout Wings Of Freedom, but it is nothing, visually, compared to that of the Anime series. If you’ve never before experienced Attack On Titan then, for the most part, you will still understand most, if not all, of the events shown throughout the game, but for the greatest experience it would be best to have watched the Anime series. This game, though, is indeed for those of you out there who have experienced Attack On Titan, either in it’s Anime or Manga format, that much is obvious.
In a recent interview that us at SnapThirty conducted with the development team behind the game, it was mentioned that early Spiderman video games and the concept of “web-slinging” as a whole was used to influence the way in which Wings Of Humanity plays. The way in which the game has players zip around the battlefield, subjugating Titans, and rescuing fellows soldiers is so incredibly entertaining that it is almost beyond words. While the gameplay mechanics do indeed have a quite a level of depth that one can dig deeper into if they so choose, the game’s fundamentals allow for, simply, an incredibly enjoyable time. I found myself constantly returning to the game just so that I can, once again, experience it’s tight and polished mechanics, continually in disbelief of the gameplay’s striking high calibre.
Omega Force have developed this game to be difficult enough to worry players, but is accompanied by a slight learning curve that promotes instinct above tactical thinking. Each and every individual input which makes up the overall control scheme has been developed with a specific goal in mind; to allow for complete immersion. By the time you’ve completed the tutorial missions, which are incredible subtle in their layout, it feels as though the PlayStation 4 control has become an extension of your own being, and you begin playing the game is if it were second nature, thinking only of survival. If you had any worries regarding how this game would play, you can now put those worries to rest; it is near perfect.
It almost feels as though all of Omega Force’s work up until this point in time was developed in preparation of this game. While Wings Of Humanity features much the same layout as any other “Warriors-style” video game, the addition of Attack On Titan-specific mechanics makes it far superior to any previously-released title. I cannot remember a time wherein which I have had so much fun playing a game developed by Omega Force, and yet thanks to Wings Of Freedom I find myself constantly craving time with it. This is a strange feeling for me, but one that I am willing to welcome with open arms. Surely, Omega Force considers this their Magnum Opus.
Chances are, if you have ever played an Omega Force-developed title previously than you’re already very much aware of how Wings Of Freedom comes across both visually and auditorily. While the game almost exactly resembles the world of Attack On Titan, including it’s characters, it is still blatantly obvious that you are playing an Omega Force title. That is, despite what some may think, not a bad thing at all, simply worth mentioning so that you, the reader, gains a proper understanding of what it is I refer to. Animations are clean, smooth, and well-modeled, though the game doesn’t necessarily give you too much time to focus on anything, you will be too busy keeping yourself alive. While, at times, you will encounter strange model and environmental glitches, they’re not prevalent enough to ruin one’s enjoyment of the game as a whole.
Wings Of Freedom’s soundtrack is much like it’s visuals; reminiscent of previous titles. Yes, you’ll be able to spot some Attack On Titan-esque orchestral pieces if you’re a key listener, but for the most part the only sounds you’ll be hearing are heavy electric guitar riffs and the splattering of blood spewing from the open wounds of an enemy Titan. I would love to have heard more of the soundtrack but often it is drowned out by environmental sound effects. In the end, though, this allows for deeper immersion so you cannot count this entirely as a negative.
The release of a video game of this calibre at a point in time wherein which Attack On Titan’s popularity has begun to drop and public interest in Omega Force-developed games have begun to dwindle will surely do wonders for both sides. Playing through this game, you begin to realise a few things: Attack On Titan is a heartbreaking, high-octane series that translates well onto a video game format, and Omega Force are are development studio that actually know how to do more than what they have been these past few years. Wings Of Freedom gives players a refresher course on why these two entities became so popular in the first place, and all it took was the combination of them both.
Wings Of Freedom is a game that I would recommend to not only those who’re previous fans of Attack On Titan, but anyone looking for an extensive title that allows for moderate levels of freedom alongside heart-pounding action, and a system of gameplay mechanics that will have you practically addicted. It takes what the PlayStation 4 has to offer and pushes it to it’s absolute limits to bring you one of the most enjoyable “Warriors-style” games I’ve personally played in, well…forever.