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Swinging mechanics that would make Spider-Man jealous? Check. Massive, grotesque monsters with a convenient weak spot at the back of their necks? Check. A main character who yells a lot? Check. Yep, the upcoming Attack on Titan game certainly lives up to the source material, giving gamers a chance to take down one monstrosity after another in rapid succession.
Coming from the development team at Omega Force (Dynasty Warriors) and the publishers at Koei Tecmo, Attack on Titan looks to be a pretty fun take on the over-the-top action the popular manga and anime franchise has become famous for. I had an opportunity to get some hands-on time with the game during E3 2016 and, while the proceedings seemed a bit easy in the early goings, I left my play session wanting to see what else the full game has to offer.
To be fair, I only had the opportunity to tackle a tutorial mission and a mission that had me battling about a dozen titans that were invading the city. In other words, it's not surprising that taking out the baddies wasn't that big of a challenge since I was playing content from the beginning of the game. Also, despite the fact that you're taking on massive monsters, the characters in the series slice through a handful of towering beasts in a single charge so, despite their size, they probably shouldn't be too challenging in order to keep with the feel of the show.
The tutorial was set in a massive forest where my only opponents were a collection of wood dummies made to look like titans. The controls are actually pretty straightforward. You can hit the grapple button to swing into action anywhere there's a tree or tall building in range. Once soaring through the air, a tap of the button will see you shooting out another tether to keep you swinging. Again, think Spider-Man and you've got the idea.
If a titan is in range, a red arrow will pop up showing you the direction of the threat. When you're ready for a fight, you can tap on the right trigger to enter combat mode. This mode gives tether priority to the nearest titan, so you can latch onto their various limbs and begin your assault.
Once you've hooked up to a titan, you can choose a different limb and try to tether to it instead, or tap the dash button to swing in for an attack...on titan. Sorry, I couldn't resist. The only thing left to do at this point is land a big blow before you collide with the titan and deal some damage.
This is going to sound crazy, but I actually preferred the way the 3DS Attack on Titan game handled this particular mechanic. That game utilized a timing mechanic that rewarded hits and extra damage for careful button presses. It's a small difference, but it made the attacks feel a bit more involved than what's on offer in the console version. But again, things might get more interesting as you go deeper into the game and upgrade your characters and gear.
The main mission was set in the city where titans were starting to invade. Once I got into a rhythm, it was pretty neat to swing from one titan to the next, dishing out attacks to cripple the invaders and, when the time was right, going for that sweet spot on the back of their necks.
I was occasionally pulled away from the main objective by an ally or villager who was under attack, and had the ability to send up a flare to call in backup when the level's boss got sent in. There were also resupply units stationed throughout the city, giving me the ability to pick up extra fuel or blades when I was running low.
I'm sure additional mechanics and titan types will be in the main game, and there was a section of the demo I did not have time to play wherein I'd take on the role of a titan myself. Kind of bummed that time was running low, because that certainly sounds like a lot of fun.
From what I saw at E3, it seems like Attack on Titan will be a fun romp for fans of the series. Here's hoping there's a bit more meat on the bones, and a bit more challenge, when the final build ships on Aug. 30 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and PC.