|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, PS Vita|
|Dev: Omega Force|
|Pub: Koei Tecmo|
|Release: August 30, 2016|
|Players: 1-4 Players|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Violence|
At the completion of most missions, you are sent to a small hub area where you can chat with some of the characters and craft and upgrade your equipment. But don't get too excited, because the crafting system is relatively remedial. By collecting materials through cutting off specific Titan limbs and clearing objectives, you can create new weapons or enhance your blades, scabbard, and omni-directional mobility gear. The improvements bolster specific stats such as weapon damage, gas consumption, and anchoring distance, but the choices are somewhat simplistic. That could be seen as a blessing as well, since you can quickly tailor your gear and get right back into the action.
Apart from the campaign, there is an Expedition Mode that contains a sizable number of missions separate from the main storyline, which can be tackled solo or with up to three friends online. The tactics don't change, but the thrill of cooperative Titan takedowns and attempting to outscore your teammates is alluring enough to keep you sharpening your skills. It also helps that materials acquired and items crafted in the Expedition Mode can be carried over to the story campaign, and vice versa.
Character models and animations have made impressive gains in graphical quality with regards to Japanese art styles in video games of late, and Attack on Titan is a prime example of this. Considering most of the cast is outfitted in the same uniform, the superb work on facial expressions gives each character their own individual presence, and the fast and fluid combat animations combined with in-game cinematics add to the immersion into the dark fantasy. However, despite the near flawless character portrayals, the environments are substantially bland. Buildings are dull, gray and brown hued, and lacking any notable details. They mostly serve as barriers that shatter at the slightest touch of a Titan, but even the destruction animation lacks authenticity, looking more like something out of Blast Corps or a similar 1990s demolition-based game.
Attack on Titan's music score marries action and drama perfectly, instilling uptempo energy when engaged in combat, and tapping into the melancholic aftermath when the carnage and corpses are discovered. The dialogue is intense and well acted, but is entirely voiced in Japanese with English subtitles. As a presentation I rather enjoyed the original voice work, being able to keep pace with each character’s emotional state. However, having to divert my eyes during cutscenes to read the text, and pausing the game in the middle of a mission to read what my allies were shouting while I was focused on defeating a Titan, broke the pacing far too often.
There is no question why Attack on Titan is garnering such acclaim in many different media forms. It has an interesting cast, a gripping narrative, and is shrouded with questions that just beg to be answered. The gameplay, while repetitive, is enjoyable nonetheless. If you have even a shred of interest in the series, immersing yourself in this video game will satisfy your craving to be a part of story from start to finish.
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: August 26, 2016