Attack on Titan 2, developed by Omega Force, is the direct sequel to Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, the first video game adaptation of the hit anime and manga series that swept the West by storm (not counting the lesser known 3DS titles). After playing Wings of Freedom on its insurrection back in 2016, I heavily anticipated a sequel that followed season 2 of the anime as so much of it could be built upon and improved; my predictions were correct.
In the story mode of the game, you play as a custom character of whom you create using the new character creator and start all the way back at the beginning of season one. At first, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to experience the story of Attack on Titan as beloved characters, like series main protagonist Eren and his female protector, Mikasa. The plot is a clever extension to the story fans will be familiar with as your guy (or girl) is compelled to join the Scout Regiment after witnessing Eren’s famous vow to take down all Titans after seeing his mother eaten by one. It is ultimately disappointing that you’re unable to play as familiar characters in the story mode (although you can play as them in other game modes, such as multiplayer). The decision to make the main character a custom one was a brave decision made by the developers, and it certainly made the Attack on Titan experience more immersive for fans and non-fans alike. The new first-person viewpoint in the cutscenes and new perspective of the original story really added to the immersion and overall experience while playing, and the visuals have been given a huge bump up compared to its predecessor. The Titans, huge humanoids with an appetite for people, look and feel creepier than ever, complete with unsettling grins on their faces and unpredictable behaviours. There are also a lot more character models for the Titans; therefore, you are not encountering identical Titan twins every few minutes.
The newly added gameplay mechanics, like base building and ever-risky sneak attacks, are excellent additions to the game and fit in smoothly with the subtly tweaked mechanics pulled over from Wings of Freedom. Travelling around the impressively large mission areas using your ODM (Omni-Directional Mobility) gear feels smoother this time around, which feels exhilarating as you catapult and swing towards your next target without hitting the frame-rate. Taking out Titans involves locking onto one of the five points on their bodies, rotating around it for an ideal striking position then zipping in for the strike. It is seriously satisfying when timed right, and once you have got the hang of the controls, it is a genuinely fun experience.
Attack on Titan 2 is a magnificent addition to the Nintendo Switch’s ever-growing collection of third-party titles (but expect some strange looks if someone catches a glimpse of a Titan while you’re playing on the bus). There is now also another mode called…. well, “Another Mode” (creative, I know) which, as I mentioned before, allows you to play as characters from the TV show and either work together cooperatively or compete against each other in a new online mode to see who can get the most Titan eliminations in a certain amount of time.
However, the game does have its faults. For example, the first few hours of the game are all season one storylines and therefore, if you played Wings of Freedom, it can be too much of a familiar slog. The cutscenes in the first half of the game are identical, which seems lazy. I feel it would have been much more worthwhile if the writers wrote some story arcs based on the player’s character, other than watching and playing through something that Attack on Titan fans have watched already. Another problem was that there isn’t much variety within the gameplay and therefore, it can get a bit tedious if played for an extended amount of time due to repetition. The new RPG-like friendship mechanic also seems like a tacked-on feature to the game and just feels like an unnecessary way to unlock new skills. The BioWare-like dialogue choices also feel unnecessary and, overall, don’t make any difference to the story proceedings. Although the frame-rate stays smooth most of the time, it does take a significantly noticeable hit whenever there were more than two Titans being fought at once, which ruins the immersion and gets annoying after a while.
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 15th March 2018