Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains: Harder they fall

May 11, 2015


Attack on Titan has proved itself to be a popular anime and manga. With success both in Japan and with Western audiences, a game adaptation was inevitably. 3DS title Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains released in Japan in 2013, and has finally made its way to the West. Taking advantage of the 3DS’s local wireless and online play, is Humanity in Chains able to capture the exciting story and battles of the series?

The game closely follows the first season of the show. You follow the stories of Eren, Mikasa and Armin. The three lived a peaceful life in their hometown of Shinganshina, a town surrounded by a large wall that keeps them protected from external danger. They find their lives suddenly changed when the Titans, overgrown humanoid creatures who devour humans without any rhyme or reason, attack. Alongside the mindless Titans wreaking havoc, a 60-foot Colossal Titan and an Armored Titan cause specific damage to the defenseless town as if they knew what they were doing. Seeing his whole life crumble before his eyes, Eren vows to kill all the Titans and enlists in the military with Mikasa and Armin.

Gameplay begins with our three protagonists in the Military Academy learning the ropes of how to subdue Titans and learn how to use the Three-Dimensional Maneuver Gear in the field of battle. Once the basics are learned, then we get into the meat and bones of the game.


Split among the three main characters, the missions’ objectives range from subduing a number of Titans and rescuing fellow soldiers to retrieving items scattered around the enclosed battlefield. While there are a number of missions to do, they’re oddly short. Really short. The battlefield itself is fairly small and the Titans are usually grouped together, making it easier to subdue them in mere minutes. Sometimes even seconds. Due to all the buildings in the town, maneuvering from point to point becomes really easy once you get the hang of it.

Later in the story, you’ll find yourself outside the town and into the field, where Titans run wild. Here, you still have your typical slaying missions, as well as a new one in which you go from waypoint to waypoint on horseback to scout things out. Aside from one additional spoiler-filled mission type, you’ll either find yourself slaying or running. It leaves a little more to be desired, considering the scope of the source material.

After a certain point in the story, World Mode is unlocked. This allows you to create your own character and join the ranks of Military to subdue Titans and improve your character and the town around you by completing missions. Items and money earned in the missions can be used to upgrade your weapons to ridiculous-looking customizations or even unlocking more outfits for your characters, as well as upgrading facilities and recruiting better teammates in the single-player side of the mode.


Localization note

The Western release of Humanity in Chains includes all downloadable content from the original Japanese release. These include extra playable segments for two characters, Levi and Sasha.

The game does its job capturing the essence of the series, but fails to achieve depth in either the gameplay or the storytelling. The lack of continuity is troubling; most missions force you to succeed even if the canon story has that mission chalked up as a failure. There’s also little difference between any character. Eren is supposed to be the special, multi-purpose character, Mikasa the top-notch combatant and Armin the brainy one, but Humanity in Chains doesn’t take advantage of these areas of expertise. All of them can take down Titans with the utmost precision and ease.

The lack of mission variety hits this game pretty hard as well, especially since it’s just too easy to take down Titans. You clip an ankle to stop one from moving, then clip the back of the neck to kill. That’s it. Repeat as needed. There’s a difficulty spike here and there to raise the tension, but subduing Titans quickly gets old.

Most fans will probably overlook the shortcomings of Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains and simply appreciate the references to the source material. For anyone else, the lack of gameplay variety and the loosely-held-together story mode might leave some people in the dark or — even worse — bored. The series itself has really intense moments and epic battles, and the game does little to capture any of that excitement.

Pros: Maneuvering Gear controls are fun
Cons: Lack of story depth, weak visuals, lack of mission variety, missions are really short

Score: 2/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.