Attack On Titan 2 Review – Confident And Enjoyable Titan-Slaying

Omega Force’s first foray into tackling the Attack on Titan universe two years ago was a solid effort, marred by inconsistencies in narrative content and a general feeling of repetition hurting the overall experience. The team’s second crack at the whip, Attack on Titan 2, is a much more polished and refined iteration, fleshing out the series’ narrative over the anime’s two seasons and giving you your own personalised character to play as along the way. It isn’t always flashy, and, much like its predecessor, it dips into repetition a heck of a lot, but the new additions make it a damn joy to play — especially on the go.

Taking place during the events of Attack on Titan’s first two anime seasons, A.O.T 2 thrusts you into the dangerous world of Shingeki no Kyojin and the dire state the world has found itself in. Titans — large, naked human-looking beasts intent on devouring humans — have decimated most of the world’s population, and as such humanity have built three big walls and districts to settle into, which act as barriers for keeping the titans out.

The game’s story centres around the 104th Cadet Corps — more specifically Eren Yaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert, who watched their families die when the titans broke through the outer wall and consumed most of the district when they were young. Intent on revenge, the trio joined the cadet corps intent on taking out every titan possible, as well as figuring out the mystery behind the Colossal Titan — the one who broke through the wall and caused all the chaos.Unlike Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, you won’t be taking control of any of the aforementioned characters or any of the characters from the 104th Cadet Corps in the main story this time around. Instead, Omega Force have included a fairly robust character creation suite, and you’ll be playing as a mute protagonist throughout the game’s 15-hour duration. Much like Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, you also experienced the attack when you were young, and have grown up with them, also vowing to join the cause and help protect humanity.

The decision to include a custom protagonist serves A.O.T 2 well, as fans of the series are able to experience the events of the manga and anime through a different perspective. Similarly, newcomers to the series are given an in-depth introduction to the world of Attack on Titan, and a lengthy look into the goings-on of each district. As someone who’s spent a lot of time with both the anime and the manga, I really appreciated the way the game opens up new ways for you to experience the main story beats. It felt unique enough to keep me interested while opening up new avenues of understanding character motivations, and it, for the most part, succeeds in this endeavour. This is made better by the way you’re able to interact with most of the series’ main characters, building bonds and friendships with them along the way when you aren’t out slaying titans.

As you level up your character by doing main story missions and secondary scout missions, you’ll unlock more points to be used on skills, and this is where those aforementioned bonds come in handy. All of the skills you unlock in A.O.T 2 benefit you in some way or another, whether you get a boost of health or unlock a new way to take down a titan mid-battle — there’s reason behind taking the downtime in between missions to talk with others, and I appreciated the way this has been integrated into the game experience.Those familiar with Koei Tecmo’s slew of Warriors games will notice a recognisable gameplay loop when playing through A.O.T 2. You’re thrown into a fairly large map with a handful of goals to complete — ranging from escorting a group from one side of the map to another or weakening titan numbers — and are graded on how you did post-battle, relating to eliminations, time management, and so on. This gameplay loop underpins A.O.T 2, and after a few hours you’ll probably never feel the awe and dread like you did after those first few titan encounters, but it definitely works for the source material. That said, players who do tend to get tired of repetition will notice fairly quickly that A.O.T 2 leans heavily into doing the same thing a lot, and that can prove to be a bit of a barrier for some. I did tend to enjoy it, though.

This was down to the way that Omega Force has made sure the act of taking out a titan feels fun and fast, and I enjoyed this for the entirety of my time with the game. Controls, especially on the Switch, can be a bit cumbersome at first though, but it didn’t take me too long to get the hang of things.

Attack on Titan’s scouts use ODM gear — known as omni-directional mobility gear — which allows them to sift through the air at break-neck speeds in order to avoid a titan’s grasp and get in to flank it and take it out. Getting your head around using this gear isn’t too tough — as it’s mapped to only a handful of button presses at most — but it can be a bit overwhelming when the game introduces specific limb-targeting systems as well. Having to remember a slew of button presses in order to get around a titan, target its limb, launch yourself toward that limb, and then severe it can be quite difficult the first couple of attempts. However, after an hour or two I got the hang of it and I couldn’t think of an easier way to map this gameplay system out — it works for what it is, and mostly remains faithful to the series.
Things do get a bit more tedious when A.O.T 2 introduces ways of instructing recruited teammates to chop at a titan’s limbs, however. A few more button presses allows you to instruct buddies on when and where to take on a titan, and I consistently found my fingers struggling to hit the buttons at the right time in order to do this effectively and efficiently. I do appreciate that the option’s there, though, and the newly-introduced buddy actions are also a nice evolution of what was available in the previous game, allowing you to perform flashy moves to deal massive damage to a titan.

Speaking of, titans have also been revamped this time around, now having a detection gauge that will reflect their awareness of your presence. If you spend too long in one spot and a titan sees you you’ll likely find yourself in the ‘danger zone’, which will enhance the titan’s strength, in turn giving it a better chance of taking you out.

Chopping off a limb or running away was the best bet when faced in a predicament like this, but I just couldn’t shake the sense that the titans didn’t feel all that dangerous in the game. In some missions I’d rarely get hit or find myself in a bad situation, and I don’t think that’s a good reflection of the series in general, where any bad move can end in death. Of course, the game needs to remain fair, but it is a bit disappointing at how lacklustre and dumb they can be at times.That said, targeting limbs on titans and severing them goes hand in hand with something A.O.T 2 pushes wholeheartedly — upgrading and reinforcing gear. Resources are abundant across the Attack on Titan universe, and more often than not they’ll be extremely useful in crafting new items for you to take into battle. Similarly, chopping off highlighted limbs on titans will also yield new materials for you to rework your gear, allowing you to become a stronger and faster scout. While I wasn’t so much a fan of this at the beginning, I really enjoyed going out and making an effort to get new materials so I could rework the gear I had, and it gave a bit of replay value to the game after all was said and done as well.

While A.O.T 2 makes significant strides in being a much better game than its predecessor, it’s still filled with some weird issues. Almost every time I loaded into a map I’d notice most of the characters I could interact with wouldn’t load in until I was really close to them, and this would transition over to titans as well, meaning I’d see their detection gauge and indicator prior to actually seeing the beasts themselves. For a game focused around taking out literal big-bads, it was disappointing that I couldn’t see titans in the distance — which would have added a sense of atmosphere and dread to proceedings. Similarly, the game’s mini-map would sometimes load in as a blurry mess and wouldn’t fix itself until I went to another area, which was frustrating.

The game’s framerate tended to dip pretty badly when I’d be caught up in a big battle with a handful of titans and a lot of teammates were around me as well, though I’m not sure how all of this translates over to the other console or PC versions of the game. Having played the Switch version for the purposes of this review, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that most of these issues have been rectified due to the fact the Switch’s power doesn’t match up with the aforementioned platforms. Even so, it did take away from the experience.

A.O.T 2 is a significant step up from Omega Force’s first foray into the world of Attack on Titan. It’s a confident game filled with things to do and titans to kill, and I’m confident that fans of the series will get a kick out of what’s on offer here. It’s definitely dragged down by some noticeable technical issues alongside some serious repetition, but neither significantly takes away from what is a really enjoyable experience.

Attack on Titan 2 is a great dive into the brutal world of Shingeki no Kyojin, and is a blast to play on the Switch. While held back by some annoying technical bugs, what’s on offer here should be enough to appease both series veterans and newcomers alike.
Newcomers and series fans alike can enjoy what’s on offer
Customisable character adds new perspective to the series’ main plot points
Music is fantastic
Gameplay systems in place are great
There’s quite a bit of content to mull over
Repetitive from the offset
FPS dips regularly on Switch version
Some weird technical glitches take away from the experience