Attack on Titan 2, PS4 Review
Attack on Titan is easily my favorite Anime, but I had no idea what to expect from it in video game form. I am delighted to say that I was really impressed with the experience. That said though, it is a game for the fans of the Manga and Anime, as without some background knowledge, the overarching canon will take a bit to get your head around.
The abridged version of the overall setting is – Humanity have been forced to live behind walled cities and are under constant threat from huge human drones who just want to be naked and eat people. Young soldiers and scouts use ODM (Omni-Directional -Mobility) gear to swing around like Spider-Man, killing these massive beasts before they breach the city inner walls. (phew)
A.O.T.2 opens with scenes from the final episodes of Season One from the Anime, where the Scouts are battling the massive Female Titan within Wall Sina. From there on out, the games story is almost exactly the same as the Anime, but instead through the eyes of your ‘custom character’, rather than the Anime star, Eren and his friends.
After a combination of scenes from the Anime’s early first season, your character joins the Cadet Corps, and you get a chance to customize your character. This game’s character customization is pretty standard but fun to use. The next part of the game is Scout training, where you learn the ropes of the controls and get a chance to interact with the characters from the anime.
This was where my levels of fangirling blasted straight into the stratosphere. There I was, my avatar, flying around the map like a Anime web-slinger, cutting up training dummies with my girl Sasha and my other favorite characters. It was absolutely amazing! But eventually I got my hype under control to focus on mastering the gameplay.
The controls for the ODM (Omni-Directional-Mobility) gear were pretty straight forward considering all the complex maneuvers seen in the Anime. The movement is very quick, but luckily you only need to use 1 to 2 buttons to maneuver your character, and the camera does a good job keeping up with you as you fly through the air at a 100 miles an hour. Throwing combat into the mix made it all a little more complex though.
It was difficult to pick up at first, but the devs did a great job at making the controls intuitive, as the anime is famous for showing epic, fast paced fights, so adapting that into a video game is an achievement on its own. You have to lock onto a titan you want to attack, lock onto the body part you want to slice (arms, nape etc), move your character into the right position, and then with a well timed button tap, you strike. It sounds pretty simple, but as I discovered it was easier said than done and the key was mastering the timing, but practice is rewarded.
To supplement your battle prowess, there is the ability to order your team-mates to attack titans you have ‘locked’ onto. I found this mechanic very helpful, especially against enemies you couldn’t quite nail. A simple Base Building mechanic is crucial for resupplying you and your team’s gas, (ODM power) blades and meds. Some bases also have artillery that automatically target titans, providing support and defending the base.
Fighting titans isn’t the only aspect of this game. ‘Camp Life’ is where you chill out during lulls in combat. Here at the camps or the barracks, you can upgrade or craft new equipment to improve your combat abilities, purchase materials to help craft and upgrade gear, and build up friendships with your favorite characters. The friendship building is not only fun for fans, but it also improves the team support actions and attacks that can be performed during combat.
The game is entirely in Japanese, meaning you have to read subtitles. I wasn’t at all concerned with this as I’m used to watching things like Anime with subs, but some may find this irritating. That said, the Japanese voice work is very well done, and that fact the devs got the anime’s original voice actors to do the game is something true fans will appreciate.
The graphics are also true to the source material and use the Animes art style. I will admit that in places the graphics can lack detail and there is a fair bit of clipping, but thankfully any lack of detail doesn’t detract from the overall experience. Just like the Anime, one of the greatest parts of the game is the music. It matches what you are seeing and doing perfectly and really enhances the moment to moment gameplay.
The game’s character animations are faithful to the Anime, that said, the animations for the titans were a little…off. Don’t get me wrong, the game did a good job capturing the beasts’ creepy looks and atmosphere, and you are usually too busy killing the things to really notice, but I did feel that in the developers attempt to ‘up’ the creep factor, some of the titans’ movements seemed clunky and unnatural, especially considering the quality of the game’s other animations like the ODM gear maneuvers and the cut-scenes.
A.O.T. 2 isn’t just a story mode based game. It also has optional Strike Missions called oddly…….‘Another Mode’? It put the player straight into titan slaying action. In this ‘Another Mode’ you perform missions outside of the wall as a member of the scouting regiment where you have a certain amount of titans in an area, and you and your crew have to kill them. You can play as characters from the Anime that you have unlocked all with different strengths and weaknesses.
Once I got the hang of the controls I was having the time of my life, whizzing around at the speed of light, lopping off titan limbs and feeling like a total badass! So, if you are a fan of Attack on Titan, be it the Anime or the Manga, you should definitely check this game out.