Attack On Titan 2 Review
While many have pointed to the Attack On Titan franchise as being oversaturated, I still have a great fondness for its high-stakes storytelling and explosive moments that can hit hard. I expressed as much in my positive review for the previous Attack On Titan console entry I covered a couple years ago. It may have offered only the important story beats from the source material, but I still had a complete blast with the kinetic combat and stark visuals. As I will explain, these feelings remain true in the sequel.
The big difference this time around is you will no longer be jumping between the lens of the major actors from the series. Instead, you start off by creating an original character. Thanks to an in-depth customization system, you can adjust everything from the facial and skeletal features to your outfit and color scheme, letting you create someone entirely your own.
While this existed in the earlier game for those who wanted to play online, it’s a welcome addition to the single-player mode. My only beef is that you sort of feel like you’re being projected onto a blank slate with no real personality to speak of - you’re mostly there for the ride.
From there, you’ll be able to play through the entire story from your own perspective. Those who were hoping for an entirely original narrative will be disappointed. Most of the game retreads the same exact plot as the previous game, though from a different view. It’s only when you’re near the end of the story that events from the second season start to appear.
Much like the story, the combat is largely the same as the original. You’ll be swinging around like Spider-Man, hacking away at the napes and limbs of Titans while looking incredibly proficient in the process. All the while, you’ll be completing objectives and side missions for compensation. This is more than acceptable because it was already executed well previously - it was the peripheral content I had taken issue with.
The only key difference in the field is, instead of relying on random people to grab new blades and refuel, you’ll be building makeshift bases on the battlefield to aid with the war effort. There are several types to choose from, including a supply base that replenishes items and an armored artillery base that peppers the enemy with cannon fire. Outside of that, Omega Force didn’t fix what wasn’t broken in the first place, so that’s a good thing.
Speaking of gear, you are able to craft new equipment using materials gathered from chopping up the Titans. While some of these systems are carried over from the previous entry, I still had plenty of fun decking out my created character with high-level tools.
By the end of the game, I felt like a total badass who wouldn’t let the threat of mortality get in my way of carrying out a Titan massacre.
You even have an opportunity to capture Titans using nets, though some require their limbs to be chopped off before they’re willing to comply. This, in turn, upgrades the Titan Research Facility, granting new skills to make you more effective against the towering monsters. A nice dose of strategy, if nothing else.
At the end of each mission, the game will evaluate your abilities out in the field and provide an appropriate amount of experience points. As you level up, you earn skill points used to unlock and equip new abilities, bringing a nice dose of progression which made me want to find new ways to improve myself.
When you’re not beating up those behemoths, you’re roaming around town in what the game calls “Daily Life”. Here, you can shop for items and talk to folks to go discuss current events There are plenty of opportunities to communicate with the team as well. Whether it’s through references to the original story or unique dialog, there are intriguing conversations to be had.
This leads me to another interesting new feature, and that is the ability to make friends with your team members. If you decide to chat with or go on a mission with certain people such as Mina, Christa, or Armin, their friendship level increases.
Once the bar reaches its maximum amount, you are able to deepen your friendship with that person, thus improving their effectiveness in battle with new skills (like having them use less fuel).
They also begin to treat you differently around town. Some of them gave me a cute nickname while others came to me for counsel, with special cutscenes thrown in as a benefit. It all adds a nice degree of dimension to the story while giving me a good reason to change up my crew to maximize our capabilities out in the field. This is crucial when the difficulty spikes later on in the game.
Let’s talk about the visuals for a second. I am covering the PC version of Attack On Titan 2, and while Koei Tecmo is typically known for producing rather poor PC ports of their titles, here it felt more than serviceable. You get your typical options between full screen, borderless window, and window mode.
There are also options on whether to turn video playback on or off, adjust the audio settings, V-Sync (have it on since there is screen tearing aplenty), and a wealth of graphical settings to adjust such as textures and shadows. While you won’t be able to get down into the granularity like other games provide (most of the settings are simply an On/Off toggle), you can go all the way up to a 4K resolution if you so desire.
The biggest problem I faced with this is that there is no easy way to change the graphical settings in the game, which can be important if you’re dealing with PC performance issues. You will need to go back to the main menu in order to do so.
Even that isn’t always a simple task as you first have to return to camp if you’re on a mission before quitting all the way out - a pet peeve of mine.
Although you shouldn’t expect anything mind-blowing, the sequel has experienced a nice graphical bump that brings a better level of sharpness to the visuals. On a related note, I can’t fully speak for the performance due to my aging rig, but for what it’s worth, I never really ran into any serious framerate issues unless things got busy on the screen.
The same goes for the sound design. Each main cast member is voiced by their original voice actor, and they all do a serviceable job portraying their roles here. Nothing surprising considering how well the last game got this part right.
Much like the preceding Attack On Titan game, you would do yourself a favor by catching up on the anime before playing this game. Thankfully, the story revisits many of the introductory events to deliver proper context. Also, since you’re playing a created character, you’re going through your own tale (even if you still play second fiddle to Eren and crew’s journey).
Despite all my qualms with some of the design decisions, Attack On Titan 2 is still a hell of a lot of fun to play. While most of the game is retreading old territory, I appreciated seeing things through another pair of eyes. And when you’re done with the single-player campaign, online multiplayer is available to boost the replayability factor.
That energetic feeling in the first game of swinging around buildings and taking out Titans with a well-placed strike is still incredibly satisfying. Complemented by a solid PC port, and you have yet another highly entertaining licensed product by Omega Force well worth checking out. This is how a sequel should be treated.