I’m usually not one for anime-based titles, but there are a few exceptions, one of which is the upcoming Attack on Titan video game from Omega Force. It follows the events of the anime series’ first season, and some of the main characters are playable in the game. More importantly, this was my chance to try out the Omni-Directional Mobility (ODM) gear, the unique method that the humans use to ascend into the air in order to fight the massive Titans.
Before I could take on the Titans, I needed to learn about how to use ODM in the game. Surprisingly, it was actually simple to use. I could press a single button to activate the gear’s multiple wires, which would attach to an anchor point, such as a tree, rooftop, or even the Titan itself. Once the wires were hooked, I was launched in the air, and I could “fly” around the anchored area or catapult myself to another location.
Once I attached myself to a Titan, all I had to do then was target its nape. However, I also needed to make sure I was far enough from my target so that the ODM would propel me at a high speed towards it for a critical kill. If I approached the Titan slowly and attacked, the damage would be almost superficial.
As I practiced maneuvering with the ODM gear, I also had to manage the overall air pressure utilized by the ODM and the sharpness of my swords. The gear required air pressure in order to keep me airborne. After a while, I would use all of air stored in the two tanks attached to the gear, so I had to find another soldier who carried spare air tanks so that I could refill and get back into the action. That same soldier also carried new blades that attached to my sword, so I could swap out the blades on my sword to make it more effective in combat.
That’s it for game mechanics. It's simple and easy to master, which isn't always a bad thing. In fact, when I actually tried one of the missions, I was grateful that the controls and management were that simple to begin with, because the actual fight to come would be more chaotic.
The remnants of humanity built a large city with three layers of high walls to defend against the human-like Titans. However, these beings found a way inside, and they now threaten the citizens. With the evacuation underway in one of the city’s districts, I took on the role of Mikasa Ackerman, one of the series’ main characters.
The main objective was to keep the Titans from reaching the door to the next district, as people were using it to move to a safer area. With the ODM gear, I leapt from building to building, and in less than a minute, I found a small group of Titans and started to take them out.
Veterans of the Warrior series (also from Omega Force) will notice similarities with how the game was presented. There's a main objective as well as multiple side missions to further help out other allied forces. At times, it felt like a carbon copy of the studio’s other games, but setting and ODM mechanics were enough to make a difference. I hacked and slashed my way through each Titan, but I was so immersed in the gameplay as if I was part of the anime series myself.
As the battle continued, I kept moving throughout the district, taking out as many Titans as possible while keeping my friends alive. It wasn't difficult to find a soldier to refill my air tanks for the ODM as well as new blades for my swords. The entire demo was a simple process of: complete objectives, take out Titans, reload (if necessary), repeat. Some might think that it's too repetitive, but I enjoyed it.
The Hunt Continues
This is just an early chapter in the game, but it shows promise as to what it can deliver on release.
This is not to mention that it’s a bit outside of Omega Force’s comfort zone. The studio’s bread and butter is its historically-based hack-and-slash games, such as the Warriors franchise. Even though fans of the series will find many traits of the popular franchise in Attack on Titan, it’s still fun to play.
I had half an hour to play it at E3, and if I didn't have any additional appointments that day, I would have played it for hours until they kicked me out. There was enough to keep me hooked (no pun intended), and I'm sure that fans of the anime and manga series would enjoy as much as I did.