The first Attack on Titan game was a solid retelling of the first season of the popular anime in video game form. Now the sequel is here, and it is also a solid retelling of the first season of the popular anime. If you played the first Attack on Titan game and enjoyed it, then there's a good chance you'll enjoy the sequel, because while it continues to provide a lot of fun gameplay, what it doesn't do is a great deal new.
Attack on Titan 2 follows the events of the popular Japanese anime. Humanity lives in a city guarded by a succession of large walls which exist to protect it from massive creatures called Titans. Titans look like massive, naked humans, though not anatomically correct and with some pretty extreme facial features. They attack the walls of the city with little apparently driving them beyond a desire to eat people. Protecting humanity are soldiers who, via the use of a personal grappling hook system, have the ability to fly through the air in order to attack titans vulnerable spot at the nape of the neck with swords.
The first game basically retold the story of the first season of the anime and while the second season has come out in the interim, only a fraction of the game's campaign deals with it. Instead, Attack on Titan 2 decides to retell the season one story again, only this time with the player viewing it through the eyes of non-canon character you create. This character apparently left a journal behind which explained everything they saw, except apparently the character's own gender. While you have the ability to make your character male or female, the voiceover telling the story only ever refers to you as "our man."
Gameplay is pretty simple. You use your omni-directional mobility gear (ODM) to Spider-Man swing up to a Titan, latch on to them, and then time your sword swing for maximum damage. Do enough damage at the base of a neck to a titan to kill it, lather, rinse, repeat. That's really about it. The game changes things up only by changing the scenario in which you are killing titans. Sometimes you have to escort NPCs from point A to point B, sometimes you have a limited amount of time to kill them before they irreparably damage a stronghold. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same thing over and over again.
When your gameplay is that one-note, it had better be good, and that's the good news. There is absolutely something addictively fun about taking down titans. While it took me a bit of time to figure out the timing of the ODM gear, once I did I found myself flying through the air with the greatest of ease and taking down titans with massive swings. Titans can also have their limbs in removed, and while attacking anything other than the neck is only required for certain enemy types., doing so will sometimes give you material which you can then use in between missions to fashion new items or improve your existing arsenal.
The latter part of the campaign opens up and goes outside the walls of the city and the openness helps the gameplay. The camera has a tendency to get a little rough when it tries to navigate the close quarters of the city which can get frustrating, but there are no such issues when dealing with more open environments.
Each mission grades you on titan kills, missions completed, and time taken, and then you're awarded experience which gets turned into skill points. Skill points, in turn, are used to equip different bonuses and special abilities, the majority of which you are awarded by becoming friends with your squadmates, made up of familiar characters from the anime. By helping them out in missions or making the right dialogue choice in a conversation between missions your friendship increases, unlocking these abilities. These unlocks are the only reason to bother with conversations, as they add little to the game overall.
Attack on Titan 2 does add some new flourishes is the game, including a new online co-op mode and a competitive mode where two teams of two race each other to kill more titans during a set time limit. You also have the ability to build forts which can be used to replenish supplies to create turrets to attack titans.
With the repetitive gameplay, it's difficult to recommend Attack on Titan 2 to any but the most die-hard fans, and they were likely to want to play it anyway, but if you do find yourself with a reason to pick it up, there are worse ways to spend your time.
This review was done with an Xbox One version of the game provided by the publisher.