Known to gamers worldwide, Japanese publisher Koei Techo is the studio behind a lot of big name franchises in the east with the likes of Ninja Gaiden, the fantastic Dead or Alive series and Dynasty Warriors – a series developed by Omega Force, a division of Tecmo. The studio behind Dynasty Warriors would be tasked with bringing popular anime series Attack on Titan to home consoles for the first time in the popular shows history. With only “Humanity in Chains“, released for Nintendo 3DS back in 2013 to speak of, games based on Attack on Titan had been in short supply, something Omega Force aimed to change with the first release on Xbox, PlayStation and PC for the franchise with A.O.T. Wings of Freedom.
A.O.T. Wings of Freedom: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: 26 August 2016
Price: £49.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
A.O.T. Wings of Freedom starts out extremely well. Its opening scene featuring the large, naked Titans breaking through Wall Maria runs close to the same scene from season one of the anime, but yet feels different at the same time, offering newcomers to the beloved series a fresh perspective while keeping with the source material for fans of the show. Later scenes such as Eren Yaeger stopping a cannonball by biting his hand and partially Titan Shifting are recreated in the game and look utterly amazing, A.O.T Wings of Freedom hits all major plot points as it closely follows the show’s first season.
Wings of Freedom features so many positive elements within its gameplay such as the core mechanics for the ODM Gear, feeling akin to that of a Spiderman game, more specifically Spiderman 2 in terms of it’s unique swinging mechanics while Wings of Freedom‘s combat system allows players to target individual limbs on each towering Titan before anchoring that targeted limb and attacking using the speed at which you are reeling in to determine the amount of damage you will deal. While this may seem very simple, because on paper it is. Unfortunately, in practice, it is not all there. As you sever the Titan’s limbs they will react in certain ways as you would expect.
Cut both legs off of a Titan, it will not walk. Take both arms away and it will not grab you out of the air. Seems like a well executed and simple enough combat system, right? Well, that’s where there is a lot of room for debate. In Wings of Freedom when in combat mode, (which you can shift to using RB on Xbox One) there is no real camera option during intense battles. If you are anchored to a Titan and wish to adjust the camera you must first detach the anchor and then go to ground in order to rotate your camera, as you may not use the ODM normally during combat mode . The reason for this is that the only real camera control available is on the right analog stick, however, that particular stick is being used to select which specific limb you are targeting on the Titan and thus can make things slightly messy. Players will end up relying a lot on luck to get throughout fights, while it might feel like a slight hindrance for new players to the game, it can be overcome with practice and perseverance.
Moving away from the fast flowing combat of Wings of Freedom is the games excellent crafting and upgrade system. The system used in Wings of Freedom to upgrade your loadout resembles that of past Platinum Games titles Transformers Devastation and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where players finishing each level would gather materials to place into the games various upgrade slots, in a sense you are always making progress which is certainly a deserved feeling and is certainly a great feature in A.O.T. Wings of Freedom.
Whilst the game is undoubtedly fun to experience with fast combat and large birthday suit wearing Titans to square off against, Wings of Freedom has a tendency to become overly repetitive, particularly towards the end of the story. Around the third chapter, I felt an overwhelming feeling of repetition as I was thrown onto the plains once again to run around without full use of my ODM, all in all, it felt tedious and time-consuming. By that point, I was taking out every Titan around by attacking the Nape first and only the Nape, delivering a killing blow to even large Titans with just one simple hit.
Wings of Freedom follows a very similar structure to that of TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan with players thrown into an area, able to complete side missions until the main objective becomes available, however, sadly it just makes the game feel too similar. At the end of each mission, after completing enough objectives the player would be challenged to a short boss fight, and just like MiM these boss fights are nothing special and become more of a slog over time. I don’t believe that Wings of Freedom is by any means worse than Mutants in Manhatten, you can merely draw comparisons between the two titles based on the previously mentioned features.
Omega Force has attempted to keep things fresh with Wings of Freedom by offering players new characters to play with, there is sadly only one difference between each playable character and they feel nothing like their counterparts, which is a shame because despite its minor flaws I consider Wings of Freedom to be an example of a game based on an already established franchise done right.
I do not for one second hate A.O.T. Wings of Freedom, nor do I dislike it. In actual fact, I am quite fond of what it presents and offers players with its fast, frantic combat and amazing art style. Nothing quite beats seeing Levi’s spinning sword in the wonderful art style used in Wings of Freedom. For all the games shortcomings Wings of Freedom delivers in even more ways, with great potential. I will be eagerly watching out for Koei Tecmo’s plans with the franchise but for now, I would have to say that this is a great first outing for the Attack on Titan franchise. It certainly has a promising future.