(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 3.5 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 2 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 2.5 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 5 Stars
- Bottom Line
- For Fans Only
Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains
- Street Date:
- May 12th, 2015
- Reviewed by:
- Elizabeth Henges
- Review Date:1
- May 14th, 2015
- Game Release Year:
- Spike Chunsoft
Digital 3DS version reviewed.
If you're at all interested in modern anime, then you've heard of 'Attack on Titan'. The grimdark anime that features humanity fighting against giant Titans really hit it off in both Japan and in the West, and with any popular show comes merchandise to keep fans happy until more episodes of their favorite show comes out. From that we've gotten our first 'Attack on Titan' video game in the West, the 3DS title 'Humanity in Chains'.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
’Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains’ follows the anime’s plotline for its Story Mode. The story follows Eren Jager and his friends after their home is destroyed by a Titan attack. Determined to get revenge for the indiscriminate slaughter, they join the military in hopes of fighting and gaining back the land that’s lost. However, fate has other plans.
’Humanity in Chains’ follows the anime from five different perspectives: Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Sasha, and Levi. While the story itself is set in stone, each character has different missions to partake, with only a little overlap, so many of the missions are somewhat unique.
That said, the overall mission objective is usually the same: Kill Titans. Even when the objectives change, such as protecting a target or surviving for a certain amount of time, the key focus is to defeat Titans. As such, all of the gameplay revolves around this concept, and how to make Titan combat interesting.
Most of the combat focuses around the Three Dimensional Maneuvering Gear, which can somewhat be compared to a grappling hook. Using the Gear, players can quickly move about the field and climb buildings, as well as latch onto Titan parts and try to slice into them. While Titans can only be killed by slicing through the nape of their neck, players can also slash the shins and faces, temporarily stopping the Titan to allow for a clean hit, without the risk of getting grabbed.
Much of disarming and killing a Titan revolves around scoring critical hits, which involves timely button pressing. Landing consecutive critical hits in a row makes it easier to land more critical hits, and therefore makes it easier to dispatch Titans quickly and get higher rankings.
With all the moves at the player’s disposal, ‘Humanity in Chains’ has a bit of a difficulty curve that must be overcome. However, once all the moves are understood and implemented, combat can be fun, as zipping around Titans and taking them down quickly and efficiently, without being grabbed or hit out of the air, it quite rewarding.
There is one big flaw though, at least for original 3DS users. The camera controls are relegated to the D-pad, which makes moving the camera around extremely difficult. With the original 3DS, it’s nigh impossible to move both the character and camera at the same time, which spells a lot of trouble if you’re trying to maneuver around Titans. On the New 3DS, camera control can be changed to the nub, which helps a lot to mitigate this issue, but original 3DS owners beware.
On a gameplay perspective, ‘Humanity in Chains’ is surprisingly competent. The title is pretty short, and does not overstay its welcome. It felt as though there could have been more variety (either in mission objective or how the different characters play), but there is enough here to placate fans of the anime.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
All in all, ‘Humanity in Chains’ doesn’t look all that great. Character models are blocky and ultimately interchangeable, having no personal flair for any of playable characters. Areas and buildings are passable and mainly serve their purpose as arenas, although there isn’t much else to say. Titans look just as absurd here as they do in the anime, but when players get to missions that open up the draw distance, they’ll find that the Titans’ framerates while far away are also comically absurd. Naturally, it's hard to ignore knowing that ‘Humanity in Chains’ could have done far better graphically on another system.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Unlike the graphics, there isn’t really much to say about the audio. Character voices remain in Japanese, and while they sound fine, most English-speakers won’t understand what the characters are saying. The music is a bit hit-or-miss, with one of the vocal tracks sticking out in my mind as particularly bad. Still, the audio overall is a bit of a ‘take it or leave it’ situation, with little else that’s stand-out about it.
One thing that ‘Humanity in Chains’ does have going for it, however, is its replay value. While the main story mode is relatively short, as it spans the twenty six episode anime, the World Mode provides a lot of content for those that enjoy the gameplay. In World Mode, players can craft their own avatar (based off of a variety of preset models) and take on missions, earning money and slowly building up a base.
Players can also craft new and better equipment, as well as participate in online co-op. There is really a lot to dig into in World Mode, and fans of the series and the gameplay are bound to be pleased with it, and find many hours of enjoyment beyond the main campaign..
'Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains' is certainly made with a specific audience in mind, which are fans of the anime. While the gameplay is enjoyable on its own, it's very hard for anyone that's not a fan to get legitmately excited for it. On top of that, the fact that the game tends to carve out massive chunks of the anime in favor for the action scenes, and while that makes sense for the title, it also leaves some holes in the plot that aren't explained within the game. The game's short length makes it pretty easy to try out in depth, and at that point, the robust World Mode is there for those who decide to stick around.
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