When the first Attack on Titan game from Omega Force dropped in 2016, fans of the gruesome anime and manga series were thrilled to find how true to source the title really was. Though the campaign was dreadfully short, it played very much like an overview of the entire show's first season. Attack on Titan 2 will place the player right back into the thick of it, though from a very different perspective.
The second game would have players feel like it takes place exactly where the first title left off. That's not necessarily the case and though the sequel has players basically relieve about 80% of the first game, it still felt incredibly fresh because you aren't one of the well-known scouts from the series, you're you! But don't worry, season 2 fans ... that wild ride is still very much a part of this adventure as well.
First jumping into the game, I was curious as to how they would implement creating your own character. Some games do this and it comes off forced, completely obtrusive, and unbelievable. That definitely wasn't the case with this game. The introduction of the character as you was so fluid that you believed it as part of the canon story. Though many of the events and missions were re-visited from the first title, it didn't feel repetitious because the change resided in the perspective. Your perspective. This was done incredibly well and made it even more immersive by the intricate character creation mechanics when building a custom scout.
(My scout, who looks looks like a huge jerk ... I love her)
My titan hunter had Hanji Zoe's hair but with the silver-ish hair color I have IRL. I totally tricked her out to look like some rebel goth hero with the traditional garb dyed black with a deep purple hoodie underneath. That level of customization right off the bat gave the sequel something the first game didn't have which in turn, made it feel more like a game rather than an interactive episode.
For those unfamiliar with the Attack on Titan narrative, it centers around the war between humanity and Titans - a race of humanoid like creatures (which is a whole other story that we definitely recommend you checking out the show for) in a battle for survival. As humanity struggles to find their foothold in a seemingly diminishing existence, it's up to the Scout Regiment to keep the rest of mankind safe while trying to uncover the secret to this threat that blankets life itself.
Once the character is created, you'll find yourself in the training line-up alongside Jean, Connie, Armin, Eren, and other familiar faces. This scene will be familiar for both fans of the first game and the anime. This was the beginning of Eren's journey, the protagonist of the show, and so it has become the player's starting point as well. The game takes players through the usual training grounds, which was actually enjoyable and done in a way that didn't feel dumbed down, to allow familiarization with how all of the gear works in-game. This includes weapons, the gear that allows for swift movement, and how to hit that sweet spot on a titan just right.
For fans of the anime, the plot of the game is very closely related to both season one and two. For those unfamiliar with the show/manga, it's still incredibly easy to grasp what is going on and doesn't hinder the immersive nature of the gore and thrill of not only surviving, but thriving.
Early on in the game's progression, it may seem a bit "do I have to do this" but that feeling quickly fades. The amount of character growth not only in the player's character, but witnessing it in the surrounding NPCs is engrossing. Once again, this theme is also incredibly evident in the show; innocence doesn't stay innocent for long and the game itself definitely reflects that life lesson. The emotional responses to the missions, the incredible trials you will see characters go through, and more is difficult not to get sucked into.
The sequel also revamped a lot of what it had to offer by supplying means of crafting, character interaction, and relationship building. Speaking with the other characters and responding in a certain way will gain favor and closer ties with those around you. This is another way of creating those emotional bonds, something that veteran AoT fans know is not necessarily a good thing to do. In between action-heavy combat sequences, heading back to the base to level up gear and friendship is important. Keeping those stats and skills up to date is incredibly important and something that could easily be passed over through the day-to-day character interactions. LEVEL! It could save your life!
The combat was very familiar to the first game. A little tricky at first when it came down to the perfect maneuver and for the uncoordinated (hi, that's me), the seamless transition from the ground to air is not so seamless. That being said, the developers definitely improved upon the first game's mechanics to make those transitions faster-paced and more fluid. A common complaint with the first title was that the combat controls felt significantly less controllable, and that wasn't the case with the sequel.
Having the familiar voice actors back into the fray gave this game even more familiar life and everything about the sequel was very true to the organic story from the manga's creator, Hajime Isayama. From the combat sound effects, to the voices themselves; everything was exactly how it should be from the audio perspective and paired nicely with the familiarized aesthetic in relation to the anime series.
Overall, Attack on Titan 2 may have had a slow start but the build up was definitely worth it. It was a sequel that was a clever repackaging of the first game without feeling like a repetitious buy. This title is the perfect jumping point for getting into the franchise as well, especially with out close it tied into the first game. From the fully immersive nature of gameplay, to the incredibly enthralling narrative ... Attack on Titan 2 is a must have for any anime fan looking for a solid gameplay experience.
WWG Score: 3.5/5