Here’s to you, 2000 years from now: an age where gigantic humanoids eat people for reasons unknown. In this follow-up to 2016’s Attack on Titan, the fearless scout regimen once more don their omni-directional movement gear and slice some necks in a story closely following the events of the anime series. However, this time around, you aren’t controlling Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, or any of the established heroes from the Attack on Titan world. In Attack on Titan 2, we’re introduced to an all-new perspective through the eyes of a player-created character.
To call Attack on Titan 2 a sequel doesn’t quite give the game it’s proper due. The story starts at the same point as the manga and anime, with the Colossal Titan attacking Shinganshina, but seen through the eyes of another child in the attack with Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. This gives the player a behind-the-scenes perspective, while the main characters carry out the major story beats of the anime.
For example, while Eren is busy fighting, your character will be working with the other scouts to complete the mission around that event. Despite not being directly involved in the story, your player character is still worked into the events and lives of the cadets and scouts. Make no mistake, even if you’ve never seen the anime you will still get the full story in this game.
I can perfectly create a version of me that’s much cooler than me
The character creator in Attack on Titan 2 is very robust when compared to gaming contemporaries such as Dragonball Xenoverse. There’s a wide variety of options to assemble a character that perfectly suits you. Parts from every character such as hair and shirts are available to mix and match, as well as a variety of facial features like eyes, noses, and scars. Rest assured, you can create any character and it will perfectly blend with the anime-style that the game perfectly recreates.
Attack on Titan 2 follows the first two seasons of the anime from the viewpoint of a cadet that trains with the main characters and assists them on missions. You build up relationships with the other cadets depending on how much you work with them, talk with them, or give them gifts. It’s essential to lay down a foundation of trust with your teammates so they perform well in the field as well as give your character new abilities and skills. You’ll also be treated to some behind the scenes drama that unfolds between the cadets such as Jean being embarrassed by his mother or Conny lying to other cadets about his battle skills.
The majority of this character interaction takes place in the daily life overworld. In this section of the game your character can meet with story important characters, craft new equipment, or train their skills up. From this overworld you can choose to continue the narrative along or partake in side missions for the scouts to earn special crafting materials and valuable experience.
In the side missions and narrative missions your character is dropped into a battle zone with an objective such as eliminate abnormal titans or defend the scout team outposts. In these battles you have free range of movement with the omni-directional gear that is intensely satisfying to use as you zoom around buildings and forests and coordinate attacks on the titans. The movement is best described as a faster version of the web swinging from Spider-Man 2. You need to attach to anchor points and use momentum to swing around obstacles.
While the movement is satisfying the combat and mission structures leave something to be desired. The rules of the anime and manga state that Titans can only be killed by slicing the nape of the neck, which mechanically leaves very few options with how to take them on in a video game. You can slice off legs and arms, but it won’t do much but net some crafting materials which are already in great abundance. Certain boss enemies require a limb to be sliced before you can attack the weak point, but ultimately all battles lead to neck slicing. This very quickly becomes monotonous, especially if you invest time in doing the side missions. By the end of my time with the game I was just rushing through and getting the minimum requirements for completion because the combat just lost its luster early.
However, if the combat is compelling to you, you can take your skills to Another Mode. This is where you can select from any unlocked character in the story to complete side missions online with other scouts. These provide a bit more interest to the missions as the element of multiplayer draws more out of the experience. Teaming up for take downs feels more robust than tearing across slews of Titans in solo mode one by one.
If you’re a fan of the anime, you will find a lot to love about the story of Attack on Titan 2. The game puts a unique spin on the first two seasons of the show and tells the story in a way that gives you all the info you need while not just retelling it verbatim. However, if you are like me and read more of the manga than watched the show, you’ll be surprised with how many plot threads are left hanging at the end of the game. Granted, the game works within the confines of the show, but after it’s all said and done almost nothing gets wrapped up or finished that I expected to see. It felt like a very arbitrary stopping point and left a bad impression on me as I exited the game. Attack on Titan 2 gave me the rare reaction of audibly saying “Wait, that’s the end?” as credits rolled.
Attack on Titan 2 has a lot to offer fans of the massively popular anime, but the repetition and bland combat can begin to grind the gears of even the most diehard fan. The movement of the omni-directional gear is incredible and I would absolutely love to see and use more of it. Perhaps an Attack on Titan 3 will surround this wonderful element with more varied gameplay, as Attack on Titan 2 added some great ideas with the character creator and additional story depth. Despite the lack of gameplay variety, Attack on Titan 2 still works as a solid entry point for newcomers to the series as well as providing some interesting character development for longtime fans.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Fight for humanity
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Design - 8.5/10
Plot - 8/10
+ Follows the first 2 seasons of the anime
+ Excellent addition of a character creator
+ Incredibly fun movement abilities
+ A new take on the events of the anime
- Repetitive battles
- Lack of depth in gameplay elements