Amongst all the other activities taking place at the recent MCM Expo, one of the highlights from a video-game perspective was Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom. Announced last year at Gamescom as a video game adaptation of the wildly successful comic and animated series, this Attack on Titan promised faithful gameplay and a challenging demeanour; from what I saw, both of those two elements hold true.
Upon picking up the controller, it was advised that I check out the tutorial before diving straight into the single-player mission that was on offer. And after running through said tutorial, it's easy to see why. Anyone who is familiar with the Attack on Titan series knows that the mechanics are rather tricky and also quite specific. The part is due to the Three Dimensional Manoeuvre Gear, the second due to how titans are killed.
The part of the tutorial details movement. By firing the grapple hooks out, you can use the momentum to propel yourself forward. If you want to go faster, you can also use the gas mechanism. If already in the air, you can then grapple onto specific targets to use any momentum to travel faster. It takes a little bit of time to get used to, but it feels faithful to the source material and after a short period it's not too difficult to adapt to this rather unorthodox system.
Incorporating this first lesson with attacking titans is then the next challenge. They start you off with targets, but there's nothing like the real thing to make you appreciate the size of the task. If you aren't familiar, although limbs, etc. can be chopped off titans, they can only be killed by attacking the back of their neck. Using the movement system to get to an advantageous position is therefore imperative to striking down the devilish titans that are on the loose. The end of the tutorial sees you looking to hunt down as many titans as possible in a wood, but there's another slight nuance that gets thrown in "“ resource management via logisticians. You do not have unlimited gas to propel yourself forward and your blades also become dull after a period of time. Not only do you need to kill the titans, you need to make sure you're resourced well enough to do so!
The mission itself is taken from an earlier part in the Attack on Titan story, with titans attacking the outer part of the city. It means there's plenty of places to explore with a rather large map afforded to players. You're able to find allies along the way to assist you, each with their own competency ratings, so it's not just you trying to take down titans alone.
Due to the movement system, traversal around the map was quite fluid. There are objectives in set positions to navigate to, but no corridors to trap you "“ only your ability with the Three Dimensional Manoeuvre Gear.
As you proceed, side-missions will crop-up where you can assist allies who're in serious danger. Due to their implementation, these missions feel like natural additions to the mission and were welcome, at least in the short period of time we played the game. To help add another dynamic, you can also get special resources from attacking titans in certain ways, such as chopping off their leg before finishing them off. Again, this adds an extra dimension to the gameplay if you wish to delve in, but it's by no means necessary to complete your objective.
To round out the mission, a boss titan appeared with considerably more health. To combat this, you can use the decisive battle meter, giving you and your allies additional combat abilities for a short period of time.
After getting to play through the tutorial and the time-limited demo, what was there, seemed decent. Although unorthodox due to the source material, the gameplay worked well after some practice and the mission had a nice flow to it. It'll be interesting to see how the game plays out when it releases in full towards the end of August in Europe and North America on PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and PC.