Game Review: Attack on Titan (PS Vita)

It’s always difficult to adapt source material to a new medium. Films are said to always be worse than their book counterparts. But what happens when you adapt a successful Japanese IP into videogame form? Let’s find out in my review of Koei Tecmo’s “Attack on Titan”.

Let’s begin with the story: I have to admit that I’m not familiar with the Attack on Titan canon. I’ve seen it pop op on my Twitter timeline all the time, but I haven’t really had the time to dig in (even though it’s available on Netflix). Nonetheless, the game presents the broad-strokes of the AoT universe really, really well, specially during the introduction of the game. While there is some character development later on in the game, it does become more about the gameplay the further you get into it. However, fan of the series will be served with a great game to enjoy, and people without prior knowledge of AoT lore will get an introduction into the story that is sure to spike interest, inform them and lead them to watch the anime at the very least (I know I will).

Post-intro, the game becomes gameplay-centric. Thankfully, it plays rather well.

Speaking of the gameplay: it plays really, really well. There are two modes: one for moving around, and one for attacking (aptly named “Combat Mode”). You basically use grappling hooks to move and attach yourself to Titans (the main baddies, in case you were not in the loop) and then use sword attacks to chop body parts off. The whole affair is rather gory and bloody (as it should be considering you’re dicing and slicing limbs) but you can turn the gore level down in the options menu.

Attacking is a bit difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be catapulting yourself into Titans all the time. There are Titan parts that are more sensitive than others, and attacks that are stronger. It’ll depend on your mastery of the skill (in terms of timing) of sword-wielding to see how long it takes for you to bring a Titan down.

Another cool aspect of the game is that it allows for an “Easy” mode which provides players with a less challenging environment, making the story the main protagonist. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can up the ante in the Options menu.

Overall, the gameplay is smooth, if a bit repetitive in long bursts. It reminds me a lot of the Spiderman games of a few generations ago. It works really well, but choose your time spent with it wisely.

Stills don’t do the game justice. It looks good and runs amazingly well.

 

Presentation is a huge plus for this ARPG: It’s incredible, seeing how well this game runs on the Vita, to think that there are ports being sold on the system that aren’t as graphically demanding and yet run at 5fps at times. I know KT has a bigger budget than most indie devs, but to see what can still be done on the handheld is a joy. The stills don’t do the game justice: one needs to see it in motion to realize how the fluidity gets rid of the drabness of the background and allows for an immersive experience. The cutscenes in particular are gorgeous, making it a sure thing that we’re in the presence of as close to a Triple-A game as we’ll get this late in the Vita’s lifespan.

Voice acting is, as usual with KT releases, absolutely fantastic. The characters are brought to life with Japanese gusto (which is my favorite flavor) and, while I’m unfamiliar with the source material, seems to do justice to the legacy of the original IP.

In summary, “Attack on Titan” is a really, really good game. You can sink a few dozen hours into it without an issue. It looks great, runs very smoothly, the acting is top notch. The gameplay can become a bit repetitive, and the stationary moments look a bit drab. The main problem is actually an economic one: for a Vita game, “Attack on Titan” is rather expensive, specially once you get into DLC. It has to be said, though, that it does feel like you’re paying up for a quality product. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to those willing to shell up for it, “Attack on Titan” delivers a near Triple-A experience on a handled that has very few of them.

At a Glance:

  • Title: Attack on Titan
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Format: PSN Download / Physical Card
  • Multiplayer: Yes
  • Memory Card Space Required: 2.9Gb
  • PlayStation TV Compatible: TBC

Vita Player Rating - 08

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