Attack on Titan 2 (PS4) Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Action
 
Rating: MA15+
 
Release Date: 20 March, 2018
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


User Rating
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Positives


- It's satisfying to slay Titans
- OMD Gear is intuitive to us
- A new perspective of the story for fans

Negatives


- Gets repetitive
- Lack of any real challenge
- Titans are not as imposing as the source material
- Hard to follow conversations during battle unless you're fluent in Japanese


Posted March 17, 2018 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Koei Tecmo are back with another Muso spin-off game. A direct sequel to 2016’s Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, Attack on Titan 2 (or A.O.T 2boasts improved mechanics over the original and also extends its narrative to include storylines from Season 2 of the anime. Like most recent Muso games however, Attack on Titan 2 is a solid affair but ultimately falls short from being a standout title.

For those unfamiliar with the Attack on Titan franchise, it is set in a world where humanity lives behind three great walls in a boxed-in society. The walls protect humanity from the titular Titans, giant naked humanoid beasts who have a taste for human flesh. One day a Colossal Titan – a particularly large variety that matches the height of the walls – appears and kicks a hole into the first outer wall, letting other Titans invade and feast on humanity. The viewer is introduced to Eren Yeager and his childhood friends Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert, who join the military in hopes of getting revenge and ending the Titan threat once and for all.

In Attack on Titan 2 players will assume the role of their own custom made silent protagonist, viewing the story through “their eyes”. Like Eren and Co., the protagonist joins the 104th Cadet Corps and largely follows the former’s story. While you will be treading some ground covered in the first game, it does bring a new perspective that fans will appreciate. If you’re new to the franchise it’s still best to watch the anime or read the manga before diving into the game, as it often skips a lot of the political scenarios and lacks greater depth.

The gameplay is split amongst light exploration and action sequences. Between main missions players will have the opportunity to explore the local township and military bases. It’s here you can sell and purchase resource items to upgrade equipment, as well as chat with fellow Cadets and gain friendship levels. As your friendship is improved the protagonist collects notes on the individuals, revealing small biographies and their feelings towards them. More importantly, you will unlock skills which influence combat – such as making attacks more powerful, increasing speed or limiting the amount of gas you use for your ODM (more about this later). While it’s fun to interact with the cast from the anime, at times it drags on just a little too much and takes you away from the action.

Action sequences are the main meat of the game, and sees players fulfil their dreams of fighting the giant Titans. Battles take place in open areas, often townships or countryside areas with canyons. Players move around the stage by using their ODM – Omni-Directional Mobility gear. With a single button press, the ODM shoots out ropes that attach to literally anything nearby and pull the player in their desired direction. For comparison’s sake, think Spiderman shooting his web strings to travel around New York. It’s remarkably smooth and intuitive.

The game handles combat with a few easy button presses. The idea here is to lock-on to a Titan and press the action button to launch an attack. Your OMD will strike at the point you’ve selected, pulling you in to attack the spot with a sword strike. You have to get the timing and speed just right, which can take a little bit of time to master. Before long though it becomes second nature and you’ll be slashing your way to victory with ease in no time.

Titans will vary in size but have the same basic weak points. You can slash off their arms to stop their ability to grab and (potentially) eat you, while slashing off the legs leaves them immobile and flopping on the ground. The back of the neck is the sweet spot, killing the Titan in a sea of blood which is oddly satisfying and gives a sense of accomplishment. Like most Muso games however, repetition sets in within a few hours and what was once an amazing feat becomes stale grinding.

There’s a general lack of any real challenge as well. Stages have just simple objectives, requiring you to either defeat certain Titans, protect NPCs for a specific amount of time or simply reach an objective point. Titans themselves are also a little underwhelming, only posing any real danger when they become enraged, where they suddenly rush at you with increased speed and strength. To avoid getting killed you merely keep moving or, once confident enough, lock-on for an attack. The Titans just don’t feel imposing, which is a far cry from how they’re represented in the source material.

New to Attack on Titan 2 is the ability to command a squad on the battlefield. Squad-mates are assigned to you prior to a battle or join you as you complete objectives. Characters will have different abilities to utilise; such as attacking a Titan’s weak point of your choosing, double teaming with the protagonist to sever a Titan’s limbs, healing you or even capturing a Titan for later study. Admittedly it does seem like a bit of an afterthought as the mechanic can be mostly ignored if you choose to, but at the same time it allows players to take down Titans more efficiently if used wisely.

Aside from the main story there is a seperate Another Story mode which allows you to play as characters from the anime and also team up with other players online to complete Scouting missions. These are smaller battle scenarios which offer resource rewards to players. There’s also a competitive Annihilation mode where two teams of four players compete to score the most points by killing Titans and hindering each other’s progress. Unfortunately as we have received review code before Attack on Titan’s public release, we haven’t had the opportunity to go online and test the features properly.

Like most games based on anime, Attack on Titan 2 features cel-shaded graphics that capture the look and feel of the source material. It’s largely faithful and is a solid offering, though at the same time not really showcasing any dramatic effects that we haven’t seen in other titles. Unfortunately the game does suffer from framerate drops when there are multiple Titans on screen or when the action gets a little too chaotic for the system to keep up with consistently. Character pop-ins are also noticeable, particularly with Titans who sometimes don’t appear on the screen until you get relatively close to their position (thank goodness for the mini map!). I have reviewed the game on a normal PS4 console. Supposedly the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles boast enhanced visuals so these issues may be alleviated somewhat on the more powerful systems.

The soundtrack is very forgettable, just offering some background music to suit the situation. Fanfare notes play every time you slay a Titan, evoking a sense of satisfaction as blood from your kill splatters onto the screen. It’s also worth noting that Attack on Titan 2 is dubbed in Japanese only, which may detract you from the experience depending which version of the anime you watch. From a gameplay perspective, it was difficult to follow conversations mid-battle as it gets too distracting to read what characters are saying while also slaying Titans.

Attack on Titan 2 is a solid experience that builds on its predecessor. It’s satisfying taking down Titans, the OMD mechanic is intuitive and there’s fair amount of content on offer if you’re a fan of the source material. Just keep in mind that repetitiveness does set in after a few hours, the Titans themselves don’t feel overly imposing and at times the story can drag on a bit when you just want to head straight into the action stages. If you’re a fan you won’t be disappointed.


Joseph Rositano

 
While Joseph's main hobby has always centered around video games, he's also taken an interest in movies, musicals and traveling around the world. No one quite knows what Joseph's true motivations are, but rest assured he is always planning his next grand adventure!