Attack on Titan 2 – Final Battle Review (Xbox One X)
To be honest, I’m not sure what I just played… Hopefully the video below will give you an idea of what to expect when you enter the land under constant threat from the Titans. And unless you are have seen the Anime series of the same name I’m willing to bet that you will have the same ‘What the hell?!?!’ moment I had. I guess you could could call A.O.T.2 – Final Battle the ‘Lady Gaga in a meat suit’ of gaming. It is pretty good at what it does, but really? What are you thinking???
So if you are still reading after watching that then you are either a fan of the Anime or laughing so hard and want to know more. As you can expect from a Japanese Anime the story and characters are interesting to say the least. Actually the story at its core is pretty standard fare, giants threaten humanity, humanity builds big walls, elite military groups defend walls and humanity vowing to defeat giants.
Except the elite military force consists of kids, most of whom wouldn’t last in the boy scouts let alone the military, oh, and the giants have no clothes…. or skin…. or genitalia….
Having never seen the A.O.T Anime, or any Anime really, I am not going to say much about the story or setting because as weird as it seems to me apparently it is very faithful to the source material and follows the first two seasons of the show. Which is great news for fans. The game itself has you playing as a recent orphan with a vendetta against the giants, or Titans as they are referred to in the game, for killing your parents. Joining the military group known as the Scout Regiment you begin your training before taking on the Titans with the more known characters in the show.
Because of the source material your character interaction with NPC’s is quite in-depth. Selecting certain responses in conversations will have beneficial results to the friendship rating of individual characters. Have them like you enough and you will get bonuses to combat skills. But again, thanks to the source material, many of these interactions are just strange to a non-Anime person like me. It is definitely different, not in a bad way, just in a hamburger from a vending machine kind of way.
So lets get into the meat of the core gameplay, which is a high flying hack and slash style which is almost Spiderman-esque to me. You start out in a base camp or town which has the standard weapons shop and trader for exchanging items so you can upgrade and build equipment, this is also where you do the majority of your interaction with the other members in your squad. Once you head out on mission, you strap on your Omni-Directional Mobility Gear (OMG), think Spiderman meets Ironman in a Steampunk kind of way. Selecting either your ranged weapons or blades completes your kit out.
Both cut scenes and gameplay are done with an animation look to them which I have no problem with, and it is done well although the areas are a bit bland and lifeless at times. On the downside, there is no English dub for speech so you are stuck with subtitles throughout. And even though Anime puritans will go on about English dub ruining the experience, I prefer not to have to concentrate on reading and to be able to take in the visuals.
The gameplay mechanics here work really well, with you firing your OMG and using it to propel you in your desired direction. It does need to attach to something to work at its best though. You make your way to your objective and then attack. Titans can be have any of their limbs targeted allowing you to take out their legs if they are making too much progress and then come back and finish them off, although I found just going for the head with a decent strong attack worked more often than not. You can give orders to other squad members as well so the tougher Titans can be taken down a bit easier.
The lack of variety here could be the only downfall. After several missions you can’t help but feel that the story is the star of the show here, which sort of makes sense.
Attack on Titan 2 – Final Battle, is a strange one. At its core is a solid game, on its surface is one strange-ass Japanese story. I am really torn between whether I like it or not. I think for me the combat and upgrade systems are great but having to deal with the often painful character interaction and not be able to empathise with them because of the over the top emotions is a bit much. There are other game modes to try but most require you to finish the Story Mode first, which could be pushing it.
One for a niche market I reckon…