*Note: there are story spoilers in the video.*
I can't say I have spent a lot of time with Attack On Titan as a property. Sure, I read several volumes of the manga and the first dozen episodes of the TV anime, but I still don't know much about the characters or the overarching plot that was introduced after I had already given up on the material.
Walking into the Koei Tecmo closed meeting room at E3, I noticed the giant poster adorned on the wall to promote the upcoming release from the company's subsidiary, Omega Force, best known for their Dynasty Warriors games - a series I am a huge fan of.
After hearing the lukewarm reception for the only other video game in the franchise, Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains for the Nintendo 3DS, I wasn't sold on the idea. But hey, I was way into Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, another Omega Force game, so I wanted to give this one the benefit of the doubt. I am super happy that I did.
The controls take a little getting used to. The tutorial was very thorough in getting the basics down, offering different sizes of titans through the use of effigies for players to understand the type of enemy they will encounter out in the field.
There is a button your press that puts the player in and out of combat, acting as a lock-on mechanic similar to Z-targeting in a Zelda game. Once you go into this mode, you can flick the right analog stick to move between different major body parts.
By letting go of the left analog stick, Erin (in this case) soars his way towards the designated area. By hitting the attack button at just the right moment, Erin can land a blow to that region of the titan. Through the use of the speed burst button while locked-on, you can deal critical damage. Through the use of the grappling hook, you can continue to land blow after blow to the different body parts.
It felt kind of awkward at first trying to rotate around a wide area, especially when the camera couldn't keep up at times with the velocity at which the character is moving. I also couldn't get a sense of how good the AI was since it felt like I was doing most of the work in the short amount of time I had with the demo.
Once I got the controls of the Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear down, I had an incredible time. It reminded me of the Spiderman 2 game that Treyarch made years ago. I was soon able to glide gracefully through the air, locking on and taking down a titan in an almost-seamless fashion.
The sound design is also top-notch - that thunderous sound of winding up and striking an enemy at just the right moment was very satisfying. Not only that, but the visuals themselves are gorgeous, nailing the look of Wit Studios' animation down to the small details.
As you can see in the demo footage above, I also got a chance to try out the Titan Mode, which lets you take control of one of those massive beasts and run around causing wanton destruction in your wake. While it felt a little too simple thanks to its low difficulty, I imagine the challenge will ramp up in the later parts of the game to the point where you probably don't want to be throwing your fists around recklessly like I was in the video.
Attack On Titan (known as Attack On Titan: Wings of Freedom in Europe) feels like a faithful adaptation of the property that fans and newcomers should garner a lot of appeal for. Omega Force has had a lot of success in this realm in the past with Hyrule Warriors and Arslan, so if anyone can pull this off, my money is on them.