gaming review

Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom

Review by Ben Pierson

I love Attack on Titan. Got the manga, the DVDs, Wings of Freedom on PS4 and a tattoo on my leg to prove it, so I was vastly excited to get my hands on the sequel to the 2016 game.

For those who don’t know, Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin (yes, I know, the translation’s a bit dodgy), is a manga and later anime series where humanity has been forced to survive living behind huge walls to protect themselves from the man eating giants that roam beyond, named: Titans. The Scout Regiment are a group of humans who venture out into Titan territory to try to learn about and attempt to reclaim the world, often with bloody, gruesome results.

Hitting Start drops us into an intro sequence showing off the titular titans and  characters from the popular Japanese franchise as well as some sneak peaks that fans of the series will already know. (WARNING: I’m not putting any spoilers in this. People that spoil things are dicks, end of.) 

The first time that the epic music swells, putting me in mind of Lord of The Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean, we take control of our character, hooded in the Scout cloak (because we haven’t made their face yet) and start fighting against one of the harder bosses from the last game. This felt a little unfair given I wasn't sure if I understood the revamped controls straight away or if the game was supposed to give me a hard time deliberately. As the screen fades to black and it becomes clear that this was foreshadowing, I decided that it was likely a combination of both.

The plot of the game itself follows someone reading from a book about/written by a nameless soldier. That’s us. A cool way to add a customisation character into a pre-established story but it doesn’t bode well for a happy ending but then, nothing really does in AoT… I promised no spoilers, so let's talk character building;

The choices regarding customisation are close to Skyrim level detailed, so expect some horrific combinations as you scroll through your choices of eyes, ears and noses as you find the ideal look for your Giant Killer. Whether you choose to recreate yourself or create a terrible monstrosity with zero dress sense, you won’t struggle to spot yourself in the crowd of the 104th trainees. 

Certain parts of the script and video scenes are almost identical to the original material, which is fun. In other cut-scenes you have dialogue options so you can decide how to interact with the characters you speak to.

Speaking of speaking, your fellow soldiers in training often have things they want to talk to you about and if you select the correct thing to say, it may well benefit you (Don’t worry, even with little to no knowledge of the characters, you can probably work out the right to say. If not it’s a 1 in 3 chance.) 

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By telling them what they want to hear you can increase their ‘friendship levels’. The conversation options you choose when you speak when chatting when you see them in the HUB world of the barracks influence your friendship level while helping them in side missions and fighting alongside them also increases their friendship, possibly increasing their effectiveness when out in the field? Either Way I wouldn’t get too fond of anyone character mind you… 

The combat itself is a little weak. In the first game, Wings of Freedom, the was a decent amount of purpose and *omph*, each move powerful and precise. In A.O.T 2 it feels slightly wet, more like a playground swing than rockets attached to your crotch as you blast across the landscape.

One hour was may not have been enough to get the full effect of the joy and terror this series has to offer, however, I personally don’t see myself sinking days and days into this. AoT’s unique story as it arcs, twists and turns need the fire, the urgency that this game seems to miss while the previous game captured so well. My love for the series remains untarnished but in all honesty, I’d always choose Wings of Freedom over A.O.T 2. If you do too, you’ll soon be streaking across the sky covered in blood with a string of gigantic corpses in your wake. 

It may just be me but maybe skip out on  A.O.T.2

Go play AoT: Wings of Freedom.

In Fact, go watch the anime, read the manga and thoroughly enjoy yourself.

Hajime Isayama, give me free stuff.

Spider-Man on PS4 Review

Review by Ben Pierson. # Spider-man; Spider-man; Hisbestgamewas thesecondGameCube Spider-man #

It’s true. None can deny it. Spider-man 2 on the GameCube was the best modern day Spider-man game, I can’t say of all time because I can’t quite recall the old 16 bit games but I think we’re safe in saying they probably didn’t hold much of a candle to it. Every time a new Spider-man game comes out, I feel that as a collective gamers and Spider-man fans hold our breath slightly. We know it’s probably not going to be great, the physics won’t quite hit the spot ‘2 did, the story may not have a satisfying conclusion because the game came out before the movie it was based on so they had to somehow finish it but at the same time leave it open because they didn’t have all the details of the movie it was based on and didn’t know if there was going to be a sequel. Will we be forced to deliver pizza? Are we able to save the balloons of crying children?

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It’s a hard time when a new Spidey game hits the shelves.

Spider-man for the Playstation 4 focuses on an older Spider-man so we’re spared the origin story. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Even the MCU made a joke about everyone knowing it in Civil War. No longer a 15 year old Highschool student, we’ve got a twenty something webslinger who’s got a firm grip on his super powers. His alias Peter Parker, however, is having to confront new obstacles in his relatively new adult life. Bills and breakfast and all that. The game begins with PP being woken by the news that Kingpin’s men are being dicks and blowing stuff up, showing off the fairly decent graphics of the game while also acting as a fun and good jumping off point for learning the basics of the game as you work your way across NYC and fight your way up a thug infested building. The combat, a la Arkham, gives it more of a Spider-man like fighting style than previous games but still quite jumpy, kicky, button mashy until you get your eye in.

Or maybe that’s just my playing style.

We have a little combo counter in the corner of our screen, the more you hit people, the more it fills with ‘Focus’. Focus can used to heal the Webhead when his health drops, or you can fill it up and use a knockout move on an enemy to incapacitate them in one go. Stealth also plays a part in the combat, the Vent Takedown pulls up an enemy from below and silently(?) sticks him to the ceiling inside the vent... Do you ever think Spidey does that and every so often forgets about them until the next day? Imagine that call to the NYPD…  I digress.

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You really get immersed in the game play be it from Spideys perfect one liners or the QTE where you have to mash square to lift the thing, I genuinely felt awesome and cried out "SPIDERMAAAAAN!" before realising that the windows were open and I just scared the neighbours cat. Spider Sense is akin to the ‘Eagle Vision’ pulse thingy from Assassins Creed: Origins and (speaking of Ass Creed) Spiderman parkour, is a thing I didn’t know I needed until now. That brings us nicely onto the movement.

I’m going to say something that I was honestly not expecting to say here. It’s as good as Spider-man 2. It’s not as physics based but it’s smoother. It’s fast, it’s seamless. It’s fun.

That’s the main thing that I want from a Spider-man game, hell, ANY superhero game. A solid plot is amazing, graphics, the prettier the better but none of that means a single thing if you don’t enjoy playing it. I think this may have done it.

I think this may be the first game for the wall crawler that matches up to Spider-man 2. If you don’t agree, that’s cool. If you do, that’s great, let’s hope to get some more games like this out there. 

Stop reading this, now.

Go play Spider-man.