It isn’t very often I find enjoyment in fan made games of a certain type of game, show or comic book. They always seem to be poorly made, badly thought out and horrendously copied clones. But such is life another one is made and comes across my path; however, this one is surprisingly well thought out and well made.
The game in question is based around a manga/anime called Attack on Titan, also known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japan. Now for those who don’t know the story behind the manga/anime, Humankind has been attacked by monolith giants known as “Titans” which eat humans for no reason at all. Humanity has been forced to live behind a giant walled city to safeguard them all but then the Titans break through the wall and attack humanity again. Humanity fights back using this little gadget called “3D Manoeuvre Gear”, which acts like gas powered grappling hooks with sharp blades attached to the handles and the Titans weakness is the nape of the neck, one cut and they are dead.
Although it was originally a manga the anime adaptation was what boosted its popularity making it a renowned show and because of this fan have become inspired to recreate it as best they can it whatever form they can. For this example, indie game developer Feng, made a videogame.
Now, I am a fan of the show and the manga but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be giving this any special treatment and say it’s the greatest thing ever, this a review not a revealing of a masterpiece.
Attack on Titan runs on the Unity engine and has been updated several times, like Minecraft. Originally it was just you in a small sandbox city pitted against the Titans to kill. Through popularity it has gone through a few facelifts and features such as multiplayer LAN, a variety of levels including a training level and an actual menu screen, nothing fancy but it’s still nice to have one.
When beginning the game the first thing you’ll notice it has poor polygonal graphics and textures. I’m not going to hold it against the developer as it is an indie game, plus there have been some improvements in comparison to the older version so it can only get better.
The main strength of Attack on Titan is the actually taking control of the 3D manoeuvre gear, the main weapon and form of the movement throughout the game. Being able to hookshot from one square building to the next and onto a Titans neck before slashing it truly gives the game an almost authentic feel of the anime/manga. The movement of it is very smooth and fast paced which can lead to some skilfully made kills or faster ways of travel, if you’re good enough that is.
The controls are simple but also complicated at the same time, the 3D Gear, as it is now shortened to, has two grappling hooks that can be shot either one at a time or at the same time. As well as that you can dodge, jump, move on the ground (naturally) and given flares to fire, which seems useful in multiplayer. The buttons for the controls are all close and are in reachable places for your fingers, just having the dexterity and the reaction time to use them is the difficult part, meaning that there is a bit of a learning curve to mastering the controls. Another minor annoyance is that the aiming reticle, which is controlled by your mouse, is also the camera making it very difficult to maintain focus on all your surroundings and can lead to some frustrating moments when the camera angle messes up and it leads to your untimely death.
The most difficult and challenging part is actually attacking the Titans is because they vary in size as well as intelligence. It can be very hard to stab that small portion of the neck to seal the deal. Some Titans will actually run at you and try to body slam you; others will just walk slowly occasionally pounding the ground, or building, to splatter you into several bloody pieces or grab you to slowly bite of your head.
In my experience it is difficult taking down one or two without dying, despite the fact I had the difficulty setting on Normal, still the challenge makes it more enjoyable and reels me in for another round. On top of that you have to keep tabs on your equipment. Yes, the 3D Gear needs gas constantly or you won’t able to shoot the hooks to manoeuvre around the area and avoid death. Same goes for the blades the more you use them the blunter they get, but you can instantly reload them with a simple press of a button so it makes it just a little bit easier.
Attack on Titan is an amazingly crafted game that, hopefully, continues to improve into something bigger and better. It is original, and dare I say inspirational, for something that was fan made tribute to the show which continues to entertain. The camera angles, its learning curve and several deaths into the game may be a bit overwhelming but once you get the hang of things you can play with your friends and expand that enjoyment with a team, you even have five characters to choose from.