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

Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains Review

First and foremost, I would like to thank Atlus for providing me a free review copy of Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. Honestly, if the game were not graciously given to me, I don’t think I would have reviewed. When I first heard of the title’s release in Japan and the negative reviews that followed, I immediately lost all interest in the game. I didn’t even think it would be localised for North America. But as you can see now, I was wrong about the English version being a reality. And after playing the game for about 15 hours, was I wrong to trust all of these review sites that claimed the game was horrendous?

Well, to be honest, I have very mixed opinions about Humanity in Chains. Upon booting up the game, you are greeted with two different modes, the story mode, and the world mode. As always, let’s begin with the story mode. And if you have watched Attack on Titan, there is nothing new here. From my understanding, the game just uses animations from the show as cutscenes, which come across as really lazy. Although I love the animation and the show as a whole, I would have prefered that parts from the show were not just shoehorned in. In fact, the entire story just feels like it’s there for the sake of having it. The Attack on Titan storyline works well so I imagine the developers figured “IF IT AIN’T BROKE. DON’T FIX IT” and just copy and pasted important events into the game. As for the narrative itself, it’s like I said before, it works. You can choose from 5 different stories starring 5 different cast members, but they all, excluding one, revolve around the same premise. It’s not the story of Sonic Adventure where each character has their own, sort of separate plotlines. Each character’s stories tie in together. In the beginning, you are told that titans have forced humanity into a city protected by 3 walls. And over time, numerous titans have infiltrated the city, breaching the outer walls in the process. Why they want to kill all of these humans is never explained in the game. There are so many questions that need to be answered here and these holes in the plot only get accentuated as the story progresses. These mysteries are never answered and while mystery can be a great plot device, I don’t that is the intention of all of these questions I have. I know I am getting ahead of myself, but why can I kill a titan with a critical hit to the nape, but not the throat? Anyways, the titans are rapidly approaching so the special navy seals of the city must go around and defeat them. And leading the corps is a young man named Eren with his foster sister Mikasa and friend Amina… and eventually comrade, Levi. In Eren’s story, Eren has to battle titans and eventually discovers that he himself can transform into a titan… for reasons I guess. In a way, I guess this is the main story as everything sort of revolves around what Eren is doing. For instance, the whole point of Mikasa’s story is to protect Eren and the same can be said for Armina’s story. As for Levi’s story, it’s generally the same, but he doesn’t start out with Eren. Spoiling anything else would be spoiling the entirety of Attack on Titan so I will refrain from doing that. I will say that the writing here is pretty good, but it’s just straight from the show. The whole story mode just feels like a way to cash in on the Attack on Titan fanbase, and while I don’t mind subtitles in Anime, I would have preferred English voice acting. It works in the show, but in a video game, it once again comes across as lazy. Not to mention, the story mode is incredibly short. I understand they didn’t have much source material to work with to prolong the plot, but it is really lacking for a 40 dollar game. I think Humanity in Chains suffers from being an adaptation of an anime show as the series is still running and there really is not much content there to make a full-fledged game out of it.

Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

The same thing can be said for the gameplay. It seems really unpolished and rushed. See, the whole game is centered on you killing titans, and that’s pretty much it. Sure there are some opportunities to rescue downed soldiers or just get to a checkpoint, but you can imagine all this gets fairly repetitive fairly fast. Fighting titans has as much depth as a puddle. You take control of a human, for the most part, who is equipped with dual blades, a gun, and a gas canister that causes you to get thrust into the air and swing around like Spider-Man. Now this all sounds really amazing, it’s just the execution that is poorly done. Each time you encounter a titan, you can either casually jog over to it and spam the X button to attack its feet or fly into the air, using the Y button and the power of gas, and try to defeat the titan that way. While in the air, you can press X and be prompted with a simplistic quick time event if you want to get a critical strike. To further your damage output, you can rotate the circle pad to do a spinning aerial attack, but really if you get a critical strike with either and strike the titan in the nape, it’s bound to die. So in all actuality, whether or not you rotate your control pad does not matter, it’s only that critical strike on the nape that matters. This makes the combat really shallow. With only one sure way of killing a titan, the gameplay got monotonous quickly. The first two titan kills make you feel like a complete badass, but then that satisfaction gets almost immediately taken away. You kill titans only because the game tells you to. There is no reward for doing any of it, except progressing the story. It sort of lessens the feeling of being engaged in a fight between man and giants. Then there are the abundant problems with the gameplay. For one, the camera is absolutely wretched. Moving it around with the D-pad feels clunky at all times and putting the camera in front of you with L feels remarkably slow. For a third person action game (regardless of the system), a good camera is paramount for combat. I haven’t gotten around to playing the game on the New 3DS, so maybe the problem is fixed there, but on the original 3DS, it could not be more imprecise. Then there is the fact that half of the time, the QTEs don’t even work. So as you can see on screen, a thick red circle appears and you have to land your reticle inside it to get a critical attack. Sounds simple and easy right? I mean, how could they mess up something as simple as pressing a button when a circle is inside another circle. Well, somehow they did. Sometimes the reticle will just suddenly speed up causing you to fail the QTE. The speed is just really inconsistent and it makes it almost frustrating to get used to. Not only is the QTE system buggy, it also causes the combat to get even more repetitive. This also leads to another problem, the game’s difficulty. And it remains at a stagnant “Easy as cake” level throughout. Once you get the whole QTE minigame down, you can destroy any titan you come across with little to no effort. At the beginning of the game, you are told these things are unstoppable, man-killers, but I seem to be doing a fine job of making short work of them. This also makes the game incredibly uninteresting and bland. If I am given no challenge then what is the point to even replaying the game. Of course, then there are the titan sections where the gameplay can be summed by spamming x over and over and over. It’s tedious and not entertaining in the slightest.

Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

That’s about everything the story mode has to offer so let’s move on to world mode. Here, the developers actually added something unique! You can create your own character, albeit with limited desgin choices, but hey, at least it’s something! Anyways, in this mode, you can embark on several missions to get money and various rewards. You actually get something for killing titans and running errands this time! Rejoice! Plus, there is some added multiplayer where up to three other friends can help you on missions. The mode is really just a series of challenges that yield no reward but making your own character stronger. But the multiplayer is fun for some time, then gets really boring once again. It’s a common trend throughout the whole Humanity in Chains experience. Everything is just so drab and repetitive. Not even this mode can redeem the game from being not rewarding and not fun. And it’s a shame considering how much potential this game had. It does not match up to the quality of the series at all.

Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

So overall, Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains is not a good game. In fact, it is a mediocre game. The only thing remotely decent about the title is the presentation and that is not even that great. Some visuals look really muddy, but all in all, the graphics are fine. I like the character model designs and obviously the cutscenes have amazing animation. There is also a bit of variety to the backgrounds and world, which is nice to see. It’s just the titans look oddly goofy and kind of disgusting. They look so abnormal and creepy, and sure that’s sort of the intention, but I don’t remember the titans looking this terrible in the show. But of course, the music is really catchy and the main theme, as always, sounds spectacular. With all this being said, I would advise you to not purchase this game for 40 dollars. Don’t even buy this one at all, unless you are a diehard Attack on Titan fan. If the latter is the case, wait for a sale of about 20 dollars or less. There is virtually no replayability and the combat gets repetitive in the matter of less than 2 hours. And while the story works, it feels lazily implemented. Oh and did I mention the game is incredibly short? The story only lasts for like 5 hours, which gives me even more reason not to recommend the game at retail price. So if I had to give Attack on Titan; Humanity in Chains a score, I would award it a 5 out of 10.

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