Shingeki no Kyojin: Jinrui Saigo no Tsubasa (JPN) Review

Shingeki no Kyojin: Jinrui Saigo no Tsubasa (Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind) is a Japanese 3DS game based on the popular anime series Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin).  If you follow the anime, you’ll know the general plot.  Humankind is nearly wiped out by the Titans, and society has designated some people to protect their last piece of walled land and some are required to go out of the walls to hunt and learn more about the Titans.  The anime features characters swinging and jumping and slashing their swords with the help of the 3D maneuver gear, and its clear that the 3DS game tries hard to emulate the slickness of these contraptions.

Import from Japan
Shingeki no Kyojin: Jinrui Saigo no Tsubasa is an import from Japan and currently available in the Japanese language only.  It is uncertain whether it’ll make it to North American shores despite the popularity of the anime itself.  Unfortunately there are no toggles for any other language, be it subtitle or voice over. This game does have quite a few cutscenes from the anime as well as some story boards.  The menus are entirely in Japanese as well.  However, it is not absolutely essential to know Japanese to play it.  If you’ve seen the anime, the cutscenes are some of the choice pieces from the show and the story board is basically a summary of the plot.  Menus are fairly obvious and with a bit of tinkering around you can get the controls quite easily.  Missions are also fairly straight forward, the objective always has a glow or indicator or some sort, so while it may be a struggle to appreciate the entirety of the package, it is definitely playable without knowledge of the language.

The game really shines in this department.  It is slick, it is different and it is cool.  When you play the game, you feel that it is uniquely made for Attack on Titan, it’s not another generic anime game with a few avatars slapped on.  The entire focus of the game is the 3D maneuver gear; a gas powered machine that shoots out grappling hooks left and right.  The 3D maneuver gear allows the characters to scale buildings, travel large distances and jump straight into the titans.  It is easily the trademark of the series that gives the anime a bit of a different feel in fight scenes.

It’s immediately obvious that a lot of effort was put into bringing the 3D maneuver gear into the 3DS.  The overall effect is stunning.  You are swinging from building to building, tree to tree, slashing and hacking at titans.  The ability to kill titans effectively is essentially to be able to swing and position yourself behind the titans to strike their necks.  Once you are directly behind them, you can grapple onto the titan itself and head straight for their weak spot.  At that point, you have to time your attack to land a critical strike.  It is a simple, but elegant system.

They’ve even managed to deal with the big hurdle of the story.  In the anime, one of the key sequences was an excursion by the Survey Corps.  They venture outside to open plains where there are no trees or buildings and exposed themselves to very limited use of the 3D maneuver gear.  They relied on horseback.  I’m surprised to say that the game did not skip over this segment, nor did they include a crippled version of the mission.  Instead, they also included a few missions on horseback that were well thought out and designed.

Short Story, Limited Replay Value
Unfortunately Shingeki no Kyojin: Jinrui Saigo no Tsubasa’s weakest point is the replay value.  The original story spans a few short quests for each of the story’s main protagonists, Eren, Mikasa and Armin.  The story mode can be completed in as little as 4 hours.  There are plans to release DLCs in the future, but I cannot imagine it being far longer than the mediocre length of the retail package.

To make up for the short story mode, the game includes a World Mode which allows you to pit a customized character in Attack on Titan gear to complete additional quests with your buddies or the in-game AI.  There are no additional story slides, but the World Mode will have you leveling up your character and buying new gear along the way.  It is quite lengthy, but truthfully, the objectives are shallow and repetitive and will not hold your attention for long.  The biggest problem is that the game’s cooperative missions are only available through local wireless and not WiFi, severely limiting the amount of players you can play with.

A Short But Memorable Experience
Shingeki no Kyojin: Jinrui Saigo no Tsubasa is a fantastic first attempt at bringing the colorful world of Attack on Titan onto a video game format.  It has succeeded in creating a unique experience that captures that atmosphere of the anime.  The stellar design simply enhances my disappointment at the incredibly short story mode and the shallow missions.  It would have only taken a few more stages to hit its mark.  But as it stands now, Shingeki no Kyojin: Jinrui Saigo no Tsubasa is a great game for fans of the series and gamers who want to try something new.  It was a pleasant surprise and will remain a memorable 3DS game for years to come.

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