[Disclosure: A review copy was provided for the contents of this article]
With the exception of perhaps the Dynasty Warriors games, I’ve always felt that there was an agreed principle between game publishers and prospective customers for handling rehashes of existing games. Whether it’s called a Redux, a Remaster, a Version 1.5 or a Complete Edition, such re-releases should always indicate that they contain large parts of the original game, albeit with a bit of additional content or an allegedly “ground up” visual overhaul.
Attack on Titan 2 breaks this tradition by appearing to the naked eye to be an actual, legitimate sequel, before taking place across what feels like about eighty percent of the original game, reusing levels, systems and even cut scenes to tell what is very nearly exactly the same story. Unlike in the original game (which focused on recognizable members of the anime cast) AoT 2 pitches the player as a nameless dullard who kind of stares longingly at those same cut scenes without really participating in them except to make occasional, perfunctory dialogue choices.
Thankfully, the player (or indeed players) are able to play as these more likable characters via the creatively titled “Another Mode” which quite literally offers an alternative to the campaign game, or via both cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. Each of these ways to play acts a bit like a free roam or glory mode, with the competitive multiplayer challenging teams to outscore each other and the cooperative tasking everyone with completing missions together.
I should mention what AoT 2 is all about really, given that not everyone will have played the original. The game is based on a long running Manga comic book series, as well as three accompanying series of Anime cartoons. The story takes place in a slightly steampunked alternative reality in which (for unknown reasons) a race of huge, naked giants began to attack human settlements, devouring all human life with a limitless hunger.
In a desperate attempt to save itself, the remnants of the human race have retreated behind a series of named walls, which they believed would remain impenetrable. The story begins with the penetration of these walls and the subsequent chaos as Titan’s begin to flood through them. As I mentioned earlier, the players control an unnamed scout who operates within the Survey Team, a group who are often first to the fight, leading to the most interesting scenarios from a game play perspective.
Those sent to defend humanity from the Titans use a system of three dimensional movement gear that can propel them high into the sky and very rapidly from one building to the next thanks to a system of pressurized gas and hooks that are jettisoned out of the system on long ropes. The player uses this system to rapidly and intuitively traverse the battlefield in search of enemy titans, which are instantly recognizable thanks to their size and, um, nakedness.
Upon locating one, the player can then use their maneuverability to get behind the Titan and ultimately kill it with a blow to the nape of the neck. Before doing this, however, it will occasionally reward the player to dismember Titans by removing arms and legs in return for materials and components that can help craft sharper weapons or better quality gear. I’m not sure how the two things correlate either, but hey, videogames about giant monsters, right?
There are relatively few overt differences between AoT 2 and the original, but among them are a raft of subtle control and camera tweaks that certainly make this a better experience, as well as some actual new features such as a completely new sneak attack. There’s little improvement in the look of AoT 2 versus its predecessor although I suppose that’s a fairly subjective perspective given that I tested both games on the same PS4 Pro, whilst PC or Switch gamers might feel the game looks better or worse respectively (the original AoT wasn’t on Switch, but this sequel is, which is nice.)
Ultimately, it’s hard to say whether AoT 2 is the definitive version or not. It has some definitive gameplay improvements that add something to the game (but could have come in the form of a patch) whilst the content is actually slightly less compelling because of the crap main character. I should say that there is a bit more of it at least (probably a few hours in reality) but again it isn’t groundbreaking. Ultimately though, I still like what AoT as a series has to offer and aside from finding the original in a bargain bin, this is probably the one to go for. In any case, you should: