The Attack on Titan anime series is a gritty tale about the struggle of humanity against a nearly unstoppable force, which makes for an interesting story. And yet that sense of helplessness and grit hasn’t yet been captured in video game form too well, despite the first Attack on Titan video game on PlayStation 4 being enjoyable to fans of the series. Attack on Titan 2 is the sequel, and yet it doesn’t feel much like a sequel as it does a retread of the first and second seasons of the show. You’re put into the shoes of a nameless person representing the player who witnesses the events of the Attack on Titan plot, but not totally changing it’s outcome. Fans of Attack on Titan might enjoy being thrown into the world of titans and humanity’s near extinction once again, but this doesn’t do more than present itself as average fan fiction to an already established story line.
The gameplay of Attack on Titan 2 is nearly identical to the first game, but with a few more extra tweaks and changes that impact the overall game. The many titans you face this time around are more aggressive and have more actions to defend themselves against the attacks from you and your allies. This is good in some cases, but most of the time you’ll find yourself in the clutches of a titan who somehow distorts its body in a weird way to stop your incoming attack.
It doesn’t help that the hit detection on most attacks from the titans, as well as the surrounding buildings in the environment, can be wonky and inconsistent most of the time. This can be very frustrating in areas that are tight and have less room to move around when fighting a titan. If you’re going up against multiple titans in the same area, get ready to struggle against a bad camera that gets blocked easily and attacks from titans that seemingly come from out of nowhere.
An annoying change to the gameplay from the previous game is the forced emphasis on destroying the limbs of stronger titans. Whenever a powerful titan enters the area, you will have to bring it down by first taking out the stamina bar that appears below its health, which opens up the titan to damage when depleted. This greatly extends the time you have to take bringing some titans down, instead of like before where you can still attack a titan’s weak point and deal damage right from the start.
While it’s not hard to cut off limbs and stagger enemies before killing them, this change makes certain battles a bit more difficult and aggravating when other problems with the game begin to take hold of your experience. This is made worse when you have multiple titans with the same strengths and requirements to bring down attacking together, along with groups of other titans nearby.
Unlike in the previous game where you control characters from the series, you get to create your own original character that fights alongside everyone from the show. While this is good and adds something different to the game, it only goes so far and hardly impacts most of the story events you know from the show. Even the newer cut scenes and extra content that is supplemental to the main Attack on Titan story feels very meager, compared to what could’ve been if more effort was put into making you fight battles further removed from some of the more well-known events of the series.
Your original character can be customized visually and given various abilities as you complete missions, but once again this is very limited. The abilities you gain after hours of playing sometimes feel like they do very little to impact the overall gameplay, even when there are stat boosts and extra abilities that make attacking titans supposedly easier. It just didn’t feel that way at all.
Attack on Titan 2 has an extra multiplayer game mode called “Another Mode”, which allows you to control any character in the game, not just your original character, in multiplayer missions. These missions play out exactly as missions in the story mode, but can end up being much shorter in length depending on how many players you execute the mission with and the skill level of everyone in the party.
Like in story mode, you gain experience and materials to use for unlocking skills and creating new weapons. You can take one a sequence of missions together, where completing one after the other yields more rewards, which can extend the time playing multiplayer. Unless you really enjoy the gameplay of Attack on Titan 2, you might not find a lot to be excited about with the game’s multiplayer.
Attack on Titan 2 doesn’t feel like a true sequel to its predecessor. There is new content that fans of the previous game will appreciate and maybe enjoy, but retreading the same story from a mildly different perspective only goes so far here. The changes to the gameplay feel like unneeded padding for an otherwise good foundation, which dampens the fun of fighting the titans. Maybe when the next season of the show is finally out, we’ll get another game that feels more like a true successor and gives us something to be excited about.
This review was based on a digital review code for Attack on Titan 2 for the PlayStation 4, provided by Koei Tecmo.