Review: Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains (3DS)

Attack on Titan gets chosen for the Survey Corps and comes out swinging.

By Shawn Wilkins. Posted 05/11/2015 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Immense fun; follows the anime well; subtitles (very important); character POV options
Poison Mushroom for...
Hard to control; clunky atmosphere; tedious at times; can be short

Attack on Titan is one of the biggest anime franchises across the seas. From Japan to America, the series has grabbed people in and gotten them hooked for reasons like its art style, its storyline, character development, and the darkness that lingers between all of that. Recently, Spike Chunsoft has developed Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains, with Atlus handling publishing duties for its US release. The hope that this game can excel beyond the success of the show is at an all time high.

Humanity in Chains is a translation of the updated version of the Japanese title Attack on Titan: Last Wings of Mankind. During its growing success in Japan, it received an update to make the game a tad bit more fluid and enjoyable, and, with that, it eventually saw its way over to America. Humanity in Chains chronicles the entire anime from the viewpoints of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, with Levi and Sasha Braus included as unlockables. While following the storyline of the game, you are given separate, yet somehow subtle, ways of advancing with each different character.

The main bulk of the game utilizes gameplay mechanics that are all too foreign to the average player. Even exceedingly hard games to master like Kid Icarus: Uprising were easy enough to understand, but here, it takes patience to fully absorb all of the new mechanics you’re about to learn. Learning how to use your ODM Gear will take time. Shooting a wire will take time. However, the best part about both of these is that when the mechanics are mastered, it feels fluid and almost as if it’s been second nature the entire time.

The range of each motion isn’t so cookie-cutter either. There’s been a seemingly massive amount of care put into making sure that fans of the series will be given an experience that far surpasses your typical movie or TV show tie-in. Depending on your angle, which way you are holding the Circle Pad, and how quick your reactions are, you may end up taking down a Titan with a quick slash to the neck, or a backward slash to the ankle, then a glowing twirl of death right on the nape of the neck. Again, mastering these techniques relies heavily on mastery of the controls, which are slyly taught to you in the game following the anime’s early storyline. It makes sense here– it’s not forcefully inserted.

You follow the main bits of the game in Story Mode, following Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, as well as a few additional characters who are unlocked throughout the game, albeit early on. Unfortunately, Humanity in Chains finds itself slipping into the realm of tedium at points. Slashing Titans, taking them down, swinging through woods, forests, large areas, towns– it all feels as if the goal is going to be so deliciously rewarding. And it is– the first time. When playing as one character, you may see some exclusive chapters, but there are also some that require playing the same thing over again as a different one. While this was fine, in essence, since the series itself is captivating and different enough to attract interest, it felt a bit like getting a high score in a game and then forgetting to save it.

While the overall gameplay of Humanity in Chains can easily be described as pleasurable, the game’s camera controls, the level design, and the way the game seems to get you stuck in the most idiotic of places created more of a headache than expected. Many times, during missions where time is of the essence, I found myself not only stuck between buildings, but also trying to get out of a corner that the game had set up in an attempt to keep you within the area of the mission. It was grating at moments, but when it didn’t happen, it was back to business. There was never a moment of pure rage, but it was as if someone entered a revolving door as another person was attempting to leave and neither were willing to let the other person out. It was frustrating, but there’s eventually a moment of realization and a way out becomes evident.

However, the game definitely manages to shine through these cracks. With the modes switching ever so slightly, the game adjusts itself and feels fresh throughout. In the city, you rely on swinging from buildings; in the forest, you swing from trees while riding on a horse (awesome); and while in open areas, you only have a horse (not so awesome). With each passing play through, it’s easier to find yourself immersed in something new and exciting that you can easily identify from the series. With full-on subtitled anime cutscenes, it’s difficult not to feel as if the world created in Attack on Titan is now fully accessible. While Story Mode feels like the main attraction, World Mode is where the game allows you to feel like the ruthless killer you were born to be.

In World Mode, there is no storyline that you’re bound to. You’re thrust into the role of either a low-level custom character or an incredibly strong main character (since you’ve just done a bit of Story Mode with them). Unfortunately, the mode floats between amazing levels of fun and immense boredom. The way Titans are killed in this game is more or less built around how fast a player is during quick-time events. There’s a red circle, you press X quickly enough, it becomes critical. It seems like a simple concept that shouldn’t induce much stress or strain, but it somehow does in a way that makes it boring. Quick-time events in Western games are usually in the form of a single or quick succession of events. However, here, it seems as if the usage of quick-time events is the entire game. Even so, while there are some moments of condensed loafing around, it is actually fun to play. Being able to kill Titans, run around, collect objects– it all has this weird sense of Animal Crossing meeting a dystopian world wherein you can’t go beyond walls because you might find yourself between the teeth of a giant humanoid creature. Something like that. Seeing as the game is multiplayer compatible, playing it alongside some friends or hopping online to play with people would simply heighten my level of enjoyment, though we haven’t had a chance to test it out for this review.

Humanity in Chains is a game that was made for Attack on Titan fans. It’s fun, visually stunning, immersive, and it’s essentially an entire anime made into a video game. At times, it can irk you, cause you to take a break, and even infuriate you, but behind all of the ugliness is a game that has moments of pure fun. You start out learning all of the moves and finding yourself almost quitting, similar to how Eren does in the series. You eventually learn the moves and have some fun. Then you turn into a giant Titan and can wreck absolute havoc. The level of enjoyment felt in this game is blemished by the fact that it can be occasionally grating, but once you get used to it, it can be hard to put down.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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