The Attack on Titan franchise is quite special to me so it was really disappointing when the first game I played based on it was the mediocre 3DS release. When Koei Tecmo announced AOT: Wings of Freedom, I was a bit skeptical because Omega Force being involved made me picture a Warriors or Musou style game. Thankfully the final release was great and despite its flaws, a fantastic game for fans of the series. It truly made you feel like a badass. After watching Attack on Titan season 2 (the anime), I needed a new game and Koei Tecmo have basically delivered.
Unlike the original, you begin by creating a custom avatar here. While the customization is basic, you can create something interesting. I managed creating Chie Satonaka on Switch, but went with something random on PS4 just playing around with the faces and attire. You can move things around slightly and change colours, but it is quite limited. So instead of actually playing as characters like Mikasa or even Potato Girl in the story mode, you play as your custom avatar. Story mode is split up into daily life segments akin to the Persona franchise where you just walk around and interact with people and build relationships through dialogue. The missions usually revolve around you going on escort quests, titan slaying quests, or protecting a certain location from titans. Even with what is repetitive gameplay on paper, AOT 2 manages to make you feel great throughout.
Instead of playing through the story of Season 2 of the anime as one would expect for a sequel to a game based on the first season, you spend a lot of time going through the story of the first game before getting to the new stuff. While this is great for newcomers, people who played the first game will get quite bored in some sections in the opening. Thankfully this is mostly rectified by the various new gameplay additions and changes. So while you can’t control characters from the show, you can recruit them to help you out and they have assists skills you can trigger. This helps quite a bit in gameplay. There’s also a base building mechanic now that lets you build bases that replenish supplies and even combat ones. Combat and a majority of your gameplay is still using the omnidirectional gear to fly around and slay titans.
Outside of the story mode where you play as a custom avatar, a weirdly titled “Another Mode” has you doing scout missions as characters from the show. You unlock more characters to play as in this mode as you progress through story mode. This is also where the online can come in. Annihilation is superb and you can play against others trying to take down as many titans as possible in a time limit. You can even play co-op here and speaking of co-op, the story mode can be played in co-op after playing for a bit. While you’re actually in a scout or story mission, expect random distress signals to appear and helping out people nets you useful rewards.
Visually, characters look great and the art style is excellent, really bringing the manga characters to life. The only downside is how bland some environments are and how poor some of the environmental destruction looks. Slicing off titan body parts results in a bloody finish with a lot of visual feedback, and gameplay has been smooth on the PS4 Pro in all situations for me. One other area that could have used work on both the PS4 and Switch versions is the visual pop in for things in the environment and people around you in the Daily Life segments. This is much more pronounced on the Switch but it is a random issue on the PS4 version as well.
Sadly, there’s still no Sawano music or an English dub. While I watched the anime with Japanese voice acting, I know there are loads of people who have done so with an English dub. This isn’t even some small anime licensed game that gets a budget release where a Japanese only audio track is fine. Koei Tecmo needs to invest more into some of the audio aspects because given its popularity, an Attack on Titan game should have not just dual audio options with the same voice actors who voice characters in the anime but also the actual anime score from Hiroyuki Sawano.
Outside of the visual issues, the story recap of the first game taking up a lot of your story mode time instead of continuing it is a big issue. I feel like they would’ve done a better job by taking the Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 route where the Switch version gets story missions from the first game as DLC and the other versions don’t because they have access to the first game already.
AOT 2 builds on everything I loved from the first game and fixes a lot of the issues resulting in a much better experience. It plays like a dream on PS4 Pro and often looks gorgeous in story segments. It has been interesting seeing how Omega Force built upon a great base from the first game to deliver an essential game for Attack on Titan fans. I just hope the next entry has the Sawano music because that plays a huge part of why the anime is so great and memorable. For everyone else, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the definitive game based on an anime, but for me it is most definitely AOT 2.
Looks and runs great
Gameplay is super fun
Online is fun
Builds upon the first game well
Visual pop in