Attack on Titan is a massive global hit thanks to the success of the original manga and the anime series that is based on it. The original Attack on Titan game tried to recreate the magic of the show by putting players into the shoes of its main case. Depicting the events of the first season, with some side adventures added along the way, it was a fun game that drew in players with its action. Since then we’ve seen a second season released of the show, but the biggest problem with Attack on Titan is how slowly everything is released. The games are coming at a blistering pace though, and it shows with Attack on Titan 2, a game that doesn’t really fix the issues with its predecessor, while adding some of its own.
Attack on Titan tells the story of the last remnants of humanity. Surrounded on all sides by seemingly mindless hordes of giants, humans have barricaded themselves into one huge walled city. The events of the series kick off with the outermost of these three walls being breached for the first time in a hundred years, with humans once again under threat of death by these giant creatures. Our heroes are there for this attack and take inspiration from it going forward, joining the Scouts who venture beyond the walls to take on the Titans directly.
You may be wondering why I’m describing the basic story of the first season, since this is a review of Attack on Titan 2, which would theoretically jump ahead to the second season, possibly beyond. But that’s not the case here, at least for its early chapters. Attack on Titan 2 doesn’t pick up where the last game left off, instead deciding to retread the same territory that fans have surely relived over and over again in the long wait beyween seasons of the show.
Attack on Titan 2 lets you craft your own character, which of course presents a challenge
The first Attack on Titan game had you playing mostly as series star Eren Yeager, with forays as other popular characters from the series. Attack on Titan 2 lets you craft your own character, which of course presents a challenge. How do you fit this character into a story that has already been told? The answer that Omega Force came to was the same one we’ve seen in other media. They introduce us to the new character that players create and then spend the rest of the game slipping them into the important events of the series.
It’s not a huge failing of the game, as the story isn’t really why people are playing a video game adaptation of a popular TV show, but it is jarring and odd. So despite spending a couple of hours exploring every member of Eren’s class, this guy was there the whole time? The battle for the Trost District, a pivotal moment in the series, hinged on the actions of a guy we’ve never met before? If you can ignore this then Attack on Titan 2 will be a better game, but for those that can’t, settle in for some annoyance.
More than annoyance though, the real crime of Attack on Titan 2 is that I’m even mentioning these events from the first season. We watched these play out on the show and played through them in the first game, so why are we doing it again? Is there a unique spin on the battle to retake Trost? Nope. You just play it as this new character instead of the ones involved in the more pressing moments. You do have some standout moments, but it feels very much like you’re controlling the B-squad here, despite the many times characters will talk about how wonderful and amazing your character is.
The main thing that seems to make your character so important is his ability to rally others to his side. This isn’t unique though, as you could recruit other characters to your squad in the last game, but it’s mentioned a lot. Without any real shifts in the gameplay or story you’ll watch the original Colossal Titan attack, go through training alongside the characters from the show, help retake Trost (a battle that is split across multiple chapters that will last for a full hour or two), then finally spin off into some new content. This new content isn’t totally new though, instead it’s just stuff that you didn’t experience in the first game, like capturing the Titans seen in the first season of the show.
Well over 2-3 hours into the game Attack on Titan 2 will still be introducing you to side mechanics of the game
It feels cheap, and is really disappointing since you can’t just skip this stuff. Despite having already put multiple hours into the battle for Trost you will play through it all over again for the first large chunk of the game. Even if you get into some new stuff later, this detracts from the overall experience of Attack on Titan 2 as you get less and less interested in what it has to offer. And man, does it have a lot to offer, though little of it actually enriches the experience.
Well over 2-3 hours into the game, and a good percentage of the way through the main story, Attack on Titan 2 will still be introducing you to side mechanics of the game. You have Friendship meters that track how much each character likes you, Titan catching which is an interesting collect-a-thon, different types of bases you can build on the battlefield, weapon enhancements, optional side missions (which invariably end up being “kill these Titans”), and much more. The game is chock full of mechanics that seem aimed at enhancing the player experience, but almost all of this can be ignored as you mow down Titans by the dozens.
That’s the core of Attack on Titan 2, and it’s what you’ll be doing for 95% of your time with the game. How much you enjoy it is the key to whether the game is something you’ll enjoy or not. Despite being incredibly repetitive in its execution, it’s still fun to swing through the massive battlefields, methodically and efficiently taking out Titans, but it’s no better than it was in the first game. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s slightly worse.
Using your omni-directional mobility gear was some of the coolest stuff from the first game. It was like being Spider-Man, but even more capable. That carries over here, but there’s an odd thing where your character doesn’t quite move as well. They’re almost always too low to the ground, even sliding around on it for long stretches of unnecessary time. You slam into the side of buildings more often than you will want, and getting around just isn’t as easy or as fun as before. I loaded up the first game just to be sure I wasn’t crazy, and it felt so much better for some reason.
This is also a bigger flaw because it impacts the multiplayer, which is a fun diversion from the main game. If the repetition of the gameplay and your objectives wasn’t too much for you, you probably had some fun in Attack on Titan’s multiplayer, which lets you team up with friends and random players to take out Titans. That’s back here, with no real major enhancements. If you liked it before, you’ll like it again, though the worse movement mechanics will be a downer.
Attack on Titan 2 falls prey to the same problems as the first game, but worse. The story is less enjoyable, as it covers very well trodden ground. You play as a new character that doesn’t fit into the narrative without feeling forced. And while the core gameplay remains the same, it has a few added faults that really detract from the experience. This feels like a sequel that didn’t know what it wanted to be, so it just became a retread of the first game. It’s unfortunate, as the first was just fun enough to be a real fan pleaser, but Attack on Titan 2 falls flat where that one soared.
Attack on Titan 2
- Available On: PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Switch, PC
- Published By: Koei Tecmo
- Developed By: Omega Force
- Genre: Action
- US Release Date: March 20th, 2018
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Quote: "Attack on Titan 2 falls prey to the same problems as the first game, but worse. The story is less enjoyable, as it covers very well trodden ground. This feels like a sequel that didn't know what it wanted to be, so it just became a retread of the first game. It's unfortunate, as the first was just fun enough to be a real fan pleaser, but Attack on Titan 2 falls flat where that one soared."