A.O.T. Wings of Freedom sees the player taking on the role of various characters from the popular Attack on Titan anime and manga series. For those who have never watched the anime, it takes place in a world that has been overrun by Titans – humanoid giants that eat people – leaving humanity on the brink of extinction.
The game’s main missions faithfully follow the first season of the anime, so it goes without saying that this game will contain spoilers for the anime. The game assumes that the player has seen the anime and already has a basic understanding of the world and the Titans that inhabit it, so any in-game explanations are glossed over pretty quickly. At times this can make the game confusing, and important events don’t have the same impact for players who have never seen the anime in comparison to those that have.
The game begins with the player learning the basic functions of the Omni-Directional Mobility (ODM) Gear, which is best described as a grappling system powered by gas. This gear allows the players to engage Titans in aerial combat, closing the height distance on the giants and making it possible to land a kill shot on a Titan’s only vulnerable point – the nape of its neck.
Using the ODM Gear outside of combat is extremely smooth, meaning that players can navigate around both cities and forests with ease. However, things get a little more difficult when a Titan is involved. I played the game on Xbox One, and the button combinations used to take down Titans in combat seemed extremely foreign. Instead of targeting a Titan’s nape and propelling towards it, I often found myself getting stuck by locking on to the wrong body part. This, combined with the at times strange camera angles, makes it difficult to successfully chain attacks. After playing for a while combat does get easier, however it may have just been the enjoyment of mowing down Titans that made me forget about the odd controls and camera angles.Wings of Freedom is divided into replayable chapters, ranking your performance after each mission and handing out rewards based on how well you did. These rewards can be used to upgrade both the equipment that you use and the characters that you play as.
As someone who loves the Attack on Titan anime, the highly stylised graphics of Wings of Freedom is perhaps my favourite aspect of the game, as it represents the series so well. The gameplay is fast-paced and so full of blood and gore that it looks like it could have been taken straight from the anime itself.On top of this, the original Japanese voice-acting cast from the anime is used, which delivers a much more authentic and immersive experience than the English dub cast could have offered. However, this might be bad news for some – as the game is in Japanese, you’ll be forced to read subtitles to understand the dialogue. It’s okay though, because subs are better than dubs, am I right?
Whilst Wings of Freedom wins on delivering fun, Titan killing action, it doesn’t offer much variety in gameplay. Apart from upgrading your ODM Gear and occasionally talking to other characters, most of your time will be spent fighting Titans. Although Titans come in all shapes and sizes and occasionally have special abilities to mix things up, the method to defeating them more or less remains the same.
Wings of Freedom isn’t breaking any new ground and, due to its repetitive nature, isn’t a game that you can play in marathon sittings without getting bored. But if you’re a fan of the anime and break up the game by playing a few hours here and there, you’ll get some enjoyable, bloody, badass, Titan slaying time and an Attack on Titan nostalgia hit to boot.
The Xbox One version of this game was primarily tested for the purpose of this review.