A.O.T. Wings of Freedom - Review

From Koei Tecmo and Omega Force comes the game adaption of cult classic anime Attack on Titans. Titled Attack on Titans: Wings of Freedom (AOT), it is a video game based on Hajime Isayama's manga series of the same name released for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita in Japan. It was released on February 18, 2016, in Japan, and is now available in the western world on said platforms.

The narrative behind AOT retells key moments from the first season of Attack on the Titans anime series and includes all the main characters. To surmise, at its core it is man verse evil scenario where the evil are at times gigantic humanoids with an insatiable hunger for humans and destruction. We pick it up at a tutorial where we learn how to use all our anti-titan weaponry in a very military style arena.

Various combinations are used in combat in this title but the most significant are your grapple hooks situated on either hip, your gas filled canister for greater movement speed and your chosen blade. The grapple hooks are one of the most unique movement systems I have come across, requiring two anchor points upon which to attach and then propelling you in a forwards/upwards motion. Trees and buildings are the most prominent forms of anchors in the game. The best thing I will say about this mechanic that stops it from feeling generic is the fact they will not attach to nothing, thus requiring a level of skill and anticipation.

Once in the vicinity of a Titan you can attach yourself to a chosen limb with these grapple hooks and with the use of your propulsion device on your back you can choose to immediately attack or hover around to a better angle and swoop in for a more efficient blow. Now this all sounds very strange and I must admit when I first tried to tackle the tutorial I at times had my fingers all tied up. It is one of the very few control schemes that has a setup where releasing a button can generate an action usually associated with pressing a button. This generates a massive element of timing and skill to be efficient, this being said once the controls are mastered and a general understanding of movement is obtained, it really does become a very free flowing fluid combat system.

Of course the other major factor and arguably the most important piece of gear in your arsenal is your sword. As with the gas canisters for your propulsion, your blades also degrade throughout each battle. This being said the better your timing and ability to pick the best time to attack, your weapons durability can easily be maintained. Both your gas and blades can be replaced mid battle but do require you to have the required elements in your inventory. These can be collected from fallen soldiers and allies out in the field of combat. By selecting different limbs on the Titans they can go from a considerable nemesis to an easily dealt with nuisance, for instance removing legs will slow them down and removing arms hinders their combat ability but it is the killing blow delivered to the back of the neck that is most exhilarating.

Titans come in many shapes, sizes and varieties and all require you to learn the best method of disposal. You can take down a regular Titan in a single blow, but when there are many with varying sizes and abilities one must survey the battlefield, Request help from allies and prioritise targets accordingly. You can have up to three team members at any given time in the battle phases and you have the ability to issue a few very easy commands from defend, attack together or fan out. You can select from more capable allies on the battlefield upon helping or rescuing them in turn making you a stronger force as you push towards the main objective.

The Koei Tecmo pedigree is strong with AOT with a very polished stylised cell shaded graphical finish and the ever powerful Japanese voice acting. Those familiar with games in the Dynasty Warriors franchise will recognise a few similarities here from character interactions, mission setup and timed missions on an expansive style map. It is easy to see why this setup has be polished and recycled because it works and adds all the essential elements that are required to maintain feeling and speed.

There is a fair amount of lore to digest in this title especially if you're unfamiliar with the anime/manga series but I can happily report that it is delivered to you in a few different ways throughout the game, but most notably is the load screen presentation where you can read relevant lore to your current situation or objective. Choosing when to continue your game instead of being forced out upon completion of the next chapter loading is also a very helpful touch.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this title or your experiences with anything else AOT related. I can be contacted below in the comment section or across at our Facebook page.   

SCORE: 7.5 out of 10
·                  Fast paced and rewarding combat
·                  Excellent voice acting
·                  Visually impressive
·                  Steep learning curve
·                  Can get repetitive 
Platforms:  PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Genre:  3rd person hack and slash
Initial Release:  August 30, 2016
Developer:  Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo

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