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Attack on Titan 2

Attack on Titan

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#1 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:22 PM

Attack on Titan 2 is less a sequel and more a re-telling with refinements. This game does not pick up where the first one left off. Instead it starts at the beginning of the story, with the Colossal Titan and Armored Titan breaking part of the Wall.

This might sound strange, covering the same material as the first game but there is a twist. In the original game you played characters from the anime like Eren or Mikasa or Armin, etc. Here players design their own character and that character is then inserted into the story as another cadet who befriends Eren and the rest of the Scouts.

It is an odd choice, granted, but I think it works. I am finding it a little annoying to be covering the same ground as the first game and in some instances seeing the same cut scenes and even doing some of the same missions but it doesn’t bother me too bad because they have made some improvements to the core game play.

The story more or less follows the anime, starting with the attack on Shinganshina and the player’s character fleeing with Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. They all join the cadet corps and go through training. Three years later they are ready to join the Survey Corps, Military Police, or Garrison Regiment. Obviously, the player joins the Survey Corps just in time for the Titans to breach the Wall again.

There is a lot to love here, even with it being more or less the same story for a good portion of the game. It does cover season 2 material, however so it isn’t just all old material.

Designing your character is fun. It’s a deeper process than I was expecting but it doesn’t beat some of the high end RPGs out there. Still, there are a lot of choices. I made my character a male and gave him a nerd chic look. Later I wanted to a more badass design so I re-designed him and gave him a black and red outfit with a face mask. I loved being able to re-design the character at any point of the game.

The core game play is designed around fighting Titans. In many ways, this hasn’t changed too much from how it was in the first game though it has been improved. Flying through the air with your ODM gear feels more refined, and I haven’t been getting stuck on buildings as much as I did in the first game, though it still happens.

To fight a Titan you lock onto it and then pick one of the limbs or the nape of its neck to attack. Once you choose you press Y. That makes your character latch onto that limb. You can then maneuver your character to an advantageous position and launch yourself at the Titan. If successful, you slice off the limb or cut the nape, killing the Titan.

Once you get the hang of it fighting Titans is a lot of fun, though it can be hard. They are constantly moving so a lock that seemed perfect to slice off a limb a second ago could instead result in you making a glancing blow instead. The Titans will also try and grab you. Fighting also becomes more chaotic with more Titans on the screen. It can be hard to line up your shots, and a Titan next to the one you are fighting could grab or stomp you.

An improvement to combat from the first game is the squad. In both games you can have a four person squad backing you up. In the original game all players could do was tell them to focus, guard, or spread out. It made them rather superfluous.

In this game though you can have them attack the Titans directly. There have been times I have directed them to cut off all of the limbs on a Titan and then I moved in for the kill. Not all characters do the same thing, either. Some will heal you when asked, or send up a flare to distract a Titan. Other characters initiate a special attack that can see Titans losing both of their limbs or a lot of life. Levi’s special attack is pretty amazing. The attacks do have a cool down timer. This feature makes combat better and makes choosing who is in your squad a more tactical choice.

Later, you can have squad members that can turn into Titans. Their special attack is to turn into a Titan and then you get to control them. I love that aspect, because in the first game if you played as Eren you could turn into his Titan form. Here you can be the Female Titan, Jaw Titan, Armored Titan, and Colossal Titan as well as the Attack Titan. Unfortunately you don’t get to play as the Colossal Titan. He just drops down from the sky and obliterates everything in his path. Still pretty cool though.

Another new feature to combat is the inclusion of bases. On the battlefield there are spots where you can set up any number of bases. You can create a supply base, an automatic turret, a manual turret, a mining base,  a flare base, a base that makes it easier to kill Titans, and a detonation base (it explodes when a Titan attacks it) just to name a few. To create a base you need a flare and you get those by doing side missions around the battlefield, mainly saving characters. You can also get more by placing a flare base on the map. I usually set up a supply base, flare base, and a mining base early on and then will create automatic turrets in Titan heavy areas. All of the bases can be upgraded to give more supplies, fire more cannon balls, mine more resources, etc.

In the first game your health potions, extra blades and gas, flares, etc. were in a side scrolling menu and it was annoying to use in battle. In this game the health potions, blades, gas, and flares are assigned to the D-pad making it easier to replace blades or gas or raise your health. It is a welcome improvement.

There are more RPG elements in the game as well. Your character levels up and gains skill points. You earn various skills (extra health, agility, leadership, combat moves, etc.) and you can equip them so long as you have enough skill points. It is a good way to level up your character and makes you think about where your priorities are.

You earn money and resources from doing missions as well as setting up mining bases on battlefields. These can be used to buy new equipment and upgrade existing equipment. There is an excellent selection of blades, ODM gear, and scabbards.

There is also currency called Wings of Freedom points. You earn these by doing Scouting Expeditions (side-quests that are not part of the main story but are worth doing to level up your character, get more money and resources, and get WoF points) in between main story missions. You can also earn them by talking to other soldiers and citizens around you. These are spent on upgrading the bases as well as giving stat bonuses to various characters.

Unlike in the first game, there are areas to explore and characters to talk to. There are shops in these areas to check out as well as people to talk to. It makes the world feel a little bit bigger being able to go to these other cities and areas.

You definitely want to talk to your fellow soldiers. You have friendship standings with all of them. When you reach a new friendship level you acquire a new skill. It can be tedious at times, especially since sometimes it is hard to know which reply will gain you friendship points, but it is worth it for the skills and to get to know the various characters.

During missions you can capture Titans, whether they are normal, abnormal, or bizarre. Once the mission is over you can go to the Titan containment center and turn the Titans over. You get points that lead to rewards for doing this. You can then play as a Titan. You are dropped down in a city and tasked with eating as many people and destroying as much stuff as you can within about 2 minutes while avoiding the Eren Titan. I found it to be fun and the different variety of Titans control differently enough to make me want to try them all out.

Finally, there is Another Mode. I know, imaginative name. Essentially this lets you play as just about every character from the game (once you have unlocked them) and go on Scouting missions with them. These characters level up and acquire skills as well.

If it isn’t obvious from this big review that I’ve written, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It improves on everything from the first game and introduces a lot of new material that helps ease the annoyance of playing through some of the same missions again. If you are on Attack on Titan fan I recommend getting this game.
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