Title: Attack on Titan 2
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed), PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Xbox One: £55/$60
Nintendo Switch: £55/$60
Release date: April 17, 2018.
TL;DR: David versus Goliath, Titan slaying hack and slash.
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Humanity is on the brink of extinction, under attack from Titans; giant humanoid looking creatures that have an unquenchable bloodlust for human flesh. Attack On Titan 2 lets us enter this universe and join the heroes of the popular Japanese anime based on the manga “Shingeki no Kyojin,” by Hajime Isayama. Helping to stop the titan menace and uncover an underlying conspiracy that could affect the very existence of humankind.
Following the story from season one and two of the Attack On Titan anime series, you are able to play as a fellow recruit from the 104th Cadet Corps, the same class that produced the stories main characters Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackermann, and Armin Arlelt.
Once you’ve created your hero, you are seamlessly injected into the story as a comrade of all the main characters; it even gives you some backstory, as you come from the same decimated village as our three heroes. Obviously you have no real impact on the course or outcome of the main story, but the game does a great job of making you feel like you are making a difference on the results of the war and also, by letting you interact with the main protagonists, makes you feel like “one of the gang.”
The look and feel of the game are amazingly close to the actual anime itself, incorporating beautiful, high-resolution cell shaded graphics, giving it an animated feel. I reviewed this game on the Xbox One X, making use of an enhanced graphics update, and it looked great. The frame rate was consistently smooth and looked crisp in 4K.
One of the first things you will notice once the cutscenes kick-off are that the game is pretty much fully voiced, albeit in Japanese with English subtitles. I couldn’t find any options to change this, but for me, this was not an issue. Along with the character voicing is the epic music that goes perfectly with the tasks that you are performing; chatting with your pal, the music is mellow, but when you go into battle, the pace and drama are emphasised by the musical score.
As far as the adventure goes, you follow a main story quest throughout the game over five chapters. The chapters are further split so that you get the opportunity to interact with your compatriots between story missions, giving time to complete side missions like “Scout Quests,” and talk to your friends and colleagues to level your friendships with them. This, in turn, unlocks extra skills and buffs for your character which are granted every time a colleague ranks up, making you that little bit more powerful. A lot of these extras makes the game feel more like an RPG than the hack and slash feel of its predecessor.
The meat of the game comes in the form of its combat system, with you being able to go up against the lumbering behemoths with your Omni Directional Mobility (ODM) gear, which is a gas powered harpoon system that allows you to swing around the target and environment to make it easier to hone in on your opponent’s weak points.
The combat is repetitive but satisfying as you start off. As you progress through the game you encounter different Titans and an increase in difficulty. The environment also plays a huge part in how to approach combat. You use your ODM grappling system in built-up areas like gorges and city/town buildings, and in the more open areas outside the city walls, you get the use of a horse.
Completing side missions in the engagements grants you tokens to build towers, which can be anything from resupplying depots to manual or automatic cannon turrets. They sometimes even get you to buddy up with the soldiers that you have rescued, enabling them to fight with you, under your command. Each soldier buddy can have different commands and abilities to help you slice and dice your giant foes.
In between missions, you can craft or upgrade new weapons, ODM’s, and scabbards. The crafting system is quite simple; you collect materials from the maps or from the Titan parts you sever off, and also from quest rewards and use these to upgrade your gear. But to stop you farming materials for the best gear early on, the materials are gated behind story progression, so you will find that the weapons will stay on par with the content you are doing unless you chose the easy difficulty, where all weapons are viable.
Once you join the Scout regiment, it opens up new quests and the training area, where you can level up some skills through three really annoying cut scenes that you have to repeat over and over again. You can also capture and play as Titans once you unlock the Titan research base. One of the mini-games has you eat people and destroy the base/town before Eren and Levi show up to dispatch you.
There is an online mode that offers some 4-vs-4 competition killing Titans and some co-op play through the story mode, but it feels like more of a bolt-on to the main game. Yes, it breaks things up a little and certainly can speed up some of the missions if you have some good teamwork, but I found I enjoyed single player more. But the option is there, which just makes this game feel more complete.
To add to the already existing game, DLC is available consisting of a shit-ton of costumes and some extra “episodes,” in the Daily Life Section of the story mode. These are very short and do not consist of much content, but they seem to be priced accordingly and aren’t very expensive at only around £1/$1 per episode.
Fans of the anime are much more likely to buy this title and people that have watched the show will be able to understand what’s going on more than a newcomer to the franchise, however, those not familiar will notice that the story comes across as a little disjointed, as large portions are cut and sometimes the story scenes are jumbled so they don’t really make much sense.
Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of this adventure, and it really did the anime franchise justice, creating just the right amount of immersion to keep me hooked. I loved the way the combat became progressively more engaging as the story progressed and how more content opened up with that same progression. On completion of the first playthrough, a new Inferno mode is unlocked, giving some replayability and more-challenging content. Don’t forget! Always watch until the end of the credits for those hidden endings.
What I can say about Attack On Titan 2 is that this game left me feeling like a goddamn hero, and I’m left wanting more.
- Feels like you’re actually playing a character in the Attack On Titan anime.
- Crisp graphics.
- Atmospheric musical score.
- Combat is a little repetitive.
- Lack of English voice acting.
- Contains all spoilers, if you haven’t seen the anime.
ESRB: M (Mature) and PEGI: 18 (Violence)
This game does involve the hacking off of body parts and the Titans chomping up your mates. There is an option to turn down gore, but it’s not the best game for the younglings.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by Xbox UK for the purposes of this review.