Sadly, the best part of the game is the opening video.
I was actually excited when I got the code for Attack on Titan, even if I thought it would get me pigeon-holed as "the Atlus guy." The developer made some of my favorite games of recent years, and although I had some misgivings about the source material, I thought it would translate well to the video game realm. After fighting with a bad camera, frustrating slowdown, and maddeningly inconsistent AI, I can now safely recommend that Spike Chunsoft stick to visual novels. If Humanity in Chains is the best they can do for an action game, we're all in trouble.
The game starts out well with the original anime opening song, but then it's all downhill. You're presented with a story mode that hops between three main characters from the anime who are thrown into various missions that involve killing the titular Titans. This is supposed to be accomplished by slicing the back of the neck of the Titan in a two-stroke process of attacking another body part to swing behind them, then dropping down and inflicting the finishing blow. In practice, this is marred by a rather squirrelly camera and slowdown that is supposed to be for dramatic effect, but is so inconsistent in when it appears that timing the button press is nearly impossible. The quick-time event ranges between mortally slow and ultra-fast, sometimes even in the same attack, and becomes even more pronounced when the 3D effect is turned on. Later stages with multiple Titans add the additional fun of missing attacks completely because your character will get stuck behind a completely different enemy or the corpse of one you just killed since they take 15 seconds or so to disappear, in a stage with a time limit of six-to-eight minutes. In stages with partners, whether or not they are able to help is completely down to luck, as a majority of the time the partners would end the stage with no kills or assisted kills. Even if they do help, it's usually one partner who gets one or two kills.
The story mode somehow manages to be simultaneously short and repetitive. It's short in that you hit the major milestone of unlocking the World (multiplayer) mode in about two hours, and I managed to roll credits in just under five. It's repetitive because you're simply doing the same missions at almost the same points after four training missions, with the frustrating Titan killing interrupted by a stage or two of point-to-point horseback racing around open areas. The two extra characters added on for the North American version – previously DLC in Japan – just add some fetch quests that don't let you fetch anything because you have to kill Titans to keep the mission from ending in failure, under a too-short time limit. The only benefit is that the exciting portions of the anime serve as your mid-mission cut scenes, and there's some decent battle music.
The main draw of the game is the Monster Hunter-inspired World Mode, in which you create a character and take on more of the missions to build up its equipment. Trying to do it alone results in near immediate failure – attempting the first mission with a fresh character took about twenty attempts before I finally brought down a single Titan. You can use your cash to hire bots who also earn experience from the battles, but they suffer from the same issues at low levels that the single-player partners do. You can play World Mode online, and there weren't any connectivity issues in my limited testing, but the core gameplay is so repetitive you probably won't be able to keep one player online for very long.
I really hope this was a contractual obligation game for Atlus, as this is a rare misstep for them. My initial expectation was that it would be similar to Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment for the PlayStation Vita – a mediocre-to-decent game based on an anime franchise that sells a boatload at $40 and is only available digitally. What I got is something that you should have no business playing, and I look forward to reclaiming over 12,000 blocks of 3DS memory very soon.