Pledge your allegiance to the Scout Regiment and annihilate some titans while experiencing both seasons of the massively popular anime.
Attack on Titan 2 takes an interesting approach in relaying the story of the anime as you'd expect this sequel to take place after the events of the original Attack on Titan game. However, this game instead re-tells the story of the anime from the beginning albeit at an even faster pace than the original game did. It also adds a created character to play as, something new to the series. The original game put you in the shoes of several different members of the Scout Regiment to complete different missions but in Attack on Titan 2, you only play as your created character and instead watch the story unfold with your character playing a relatively minor role in the grand scheme of things.
While I like the concept and enjoyed playing as my own created character instead of shuffling between multiple characters with different abilities, I also had some frustrations with how the created character was handled. He or she has no voiced lines and feels very tacked on to most story segments despite regularly being referred to and called on to support other characters. His actions and thoughts are usually described in vague narrations and overall, he just feels unnecessary.
I also feel like telling the story of both seasons of the anime was too ambitious of a goal and the story ends up being way too fast-paced to fully understand what is going on, especially in the beginning. This is mostly because characters don't get any opportunity for development aside from some goofy vignettes between missions. If you've seen the anime, you'll surely recognize the major plot points covered throughout the campaign. However, if you're like me and you've never seen the Attack on Titan anime, the story is going to be hard to follow at times. Anyway, I found myself rather intrigued by the concept behind the story so I ended up reading episode synopses as I progressed through the story to help fill in a lot of plot details that the game didn't effectively convey.
While the story is hard to follow and moves too quickly, the actual gameplay is as addictive and exciting as ever. Equipped with dual blades and an Omni-Directional Mobility (ODM) gadget that allows you to sail across the screen, each mission tasks you with slaughtering titans to save your friends and fight for the existence of humanity. I can't say enough about how great of a job the developers did translating a rather complex movement system into video game form while keeping it smooth and accessible.
Using your blades and the ODM, your job is pretty simple: kill titans. The massive, goofy-looking titans have severable arms and legs as well as a weak spot on the back of their neck. Severing their limbs renders them less dangerous and mobile but you'll have to go for the neck if you want to kill them. Attaching to a titan using the ODM, swinging into position, hitting the gas, and going in for a massive slash is thoroughly satisfying regardless if it's your first or thousandth time doing so. Just keep an eye on your gas and blade gauges as you'll regularly need to swap both of these out to ensure you're doing maximum damage to the titans.
Each mission takes place on a battle map, generally within the city or outside in the wider mountainous and forested spaces. Many maps are recycled from the first game with small touches added but the overall map variety is pretty nice once you complete the overly long city segment at the beginning of the campaign. Maps are large but not so big that you're wasting significant amounts of time traversing them. They're also absolutely packed with titans and it's your choice to start slaying right away or to make your way to the map's main missions and side-quests. At the end of a mission, you'll receive a rank based on how fast you completed it, how many titans you executed, and how many side-quests you completed. To get an S-rank, you have to meet certain thresholds in each of these metrics, meaning you'll usually want to come back and replay levels with more powerful equipment if you want to S-rank every mission.
As you progress in the campaign, titans become much more powerful and new variants appear that are even tougher to take down. New to Attack on Titan 2 is a large abnormal titan who has revolving weak spots between their five attackable areas. By slashing these weak points, you'll work down its stamina gauge and once that is completely drained, you can then do significant damage to the titan. Luckily, you can power-up your character to take on these new and powerful titans. By collecting regiment funds and crafting materials during missions and from severing specific titan limbs, you can upgrade and craft new blades and improve your ODM stats. Character progress is primarily contained by the materials you find during your first playthrough of the campaign but as you get into the post-game content, you can start grinding out some super-rare materials to make some truly great gear.
Alongside your created character and new titan types, there are several other new features in Attack on Titan 2. While none of them stood out to me as revolutionary, they're all worth mentioning. The biggest is the introduction of friendship levels where you'll spend time speaking with more than two dozen different characters between missions while getting to know them and choosing dialog options that help to build your friendship levels with them. You'll want to spend time doing this as reaching new levels of friendship with different characters will unlock new skills to use in battle and also boost your combat stats like strength and health.
Wings of Freedom points are an additional type of currency that are awarded when you display good actions as a soldier. These points can be used to upgrade bases and gain temporary experience and ability boosts as well as permanent stat boosts. Bases are yet another new feature and can be constructed during missions to attack titans, mine for resources, or provide resupply stations across the map.
Along with the lengthy single player campaign, there are a variety of multiplayer options available in Attack on Titan 2. While none of the main missions can be played cooperatively, Scout Missions can be although they can also be completed solo if you so choose. These missions consist of a variety of smaller tasks involving slaying titans and are best played with a few pals since there isn't any story progress happening in them. On the other hand, one major drawback to Scout Missions is that only the host retains mission progress once the mission has successfully completed. All players will get to keep the experience and resources they earned but in their game, the mission will not show as complete which is a major annoyance for anyone aiming for 100%. The team is also disbanded after every completed mission so if you want to tackle another mission with the same team, you'll need to re-invite them all again.
Joint Development is a unique and slightly bizarre online option that allows you to put in a request for an upgraded item then wait around to see if any other online players are willing to craft it and send it to you. It's actually a pretty interesting way to acquire new weapons and power-up your character but the argument could be made that powering up too early will render the game far too easy.
Attack on Titan 2 is an interesting sequel as it chooses to retell the anime's story from the beginning and reuses a whole lot of assets and maps that existed in the previous game. While several smaller features have been added, it sometimes lacks originality. Fortunately, the core Titan combat is as satisfying and addictive as ever.
- + Movement and combat are super-satisfying
- + Tells both seasons of the anime's story
- + New friendship system adds some back-story and rewards the player with skill boosts
- - The story segments move extremely quickly and sometimes lack coherence
- - A lot of reused maps and assets
- - Co-op progression only counts for the host