Anime is weird. That’s something I’ve always known but stepping into the world of Attack on Titan, one I’ve been curious about for years, seems to have renewed my bewildered fascination with the genre. As a complete newcomer to the series, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle provides a perfect, albeit slightly overwhelming, place to start, concisely recounting the story thus far and offering the most complete edition of the game with a wealth of new content.
PurePlayStation’s Jason, a seasoned fan of the anime, reviewed Attack on Titan 2 in March of last year, praising it for successfully bringing the world of the anime to life. Final Battle acts as the “Game of the Year” edition to last year’s release, adding new gear, game modes, characters and story content to bring the game up to speed with Season 3 of the anime, which is currently airing its second half in the West. For those that already own Attack on Titan 2, the Final Battle content can be purchased as an upgrade, although player’s custom characters do not translate over, seemingly much to the disdain of some fans.
Having sculpted a suitably dashing avatar in the game’s comprehensive character creator – a bearded, man-bun-sporting anime vision of myself if only I had embraced a passing interest in steampunk – I began my journey as a Scout. Hailing from the same town as series protagonists Eren and Mikasa, your life equally in upheaval from the invading titans, you don the omni-directional mobility gear (ODM) and set out with your comrades to hunt the towering, genital-deficient humanoids that destroyed your home.
Rigorous training and tutorials do an excellent job of familiarizing you with Attack on Titan’s unique, acrobatic combat, one that seems perfectly suited to a video game. Zipping around with the ODM feels akin to Insomniac’s Spider-Man as you chain together grapple points and dashes in the pursuit of continued momentum. However, this system lacks some of that game’s fluidity and balleticism, at times feeling rather inelegant and imprecise, although this does little to detract from the thrill of speeding down city streets and across battlefields.
Your first encounter with the titular titans is a surreal one; a procession of inflated infants stumbling towards you with maniac smiles. Once they spot you, a mere mosquito to them, they begin flailing like angry cats, childlike in their menace. Upon engaging a titan, you lock onto one of its four of its limbs, each of which has its own life bar, before hurling yourself at your chosen target to land a blow. Angle and speed are key factors in how much damage you deal and an adeptness for tactically positioning yourself as you dance around a titan soon becomes second nature.
Depleting a limb’s life bar severs it, incapacitating the titan for a short while before the appendage regenerates. Felling a titan thus becomes a process of systematic deconstruction as you tear it limb from limb before landing the finishing blow to its nape, letting forth a satisfying deluge of blood. Limbless titans are a disturbing sight; a strange, orgiastic mass of writhing torsos still resolute in their pursuit to swat you from existence, and so ending their lives quickly seems only right.
Once you have gained a few levels and purchased some shiny new weaponry, dispatching regular titans becomes routine, allowing you to bypass dismemberment and slay them with one swift, direct strike. However, countering this complacency, Abnormal Titans provide more resilient opposition, while recurring bosses in the form of the Beast Titan, Armoured Titan and Colossal Titan, among others, help punctuate chapters with equally challenging encounters. Ally abilities aid in taking on these tougher titans, allowing you to issue commands and synchronize your attacks to unleash deadly, cinematic cooperative special moves which never cease to gratify.
Despite its repetitiveness, combat remains engaging, introducing just enough variables to keep the action fresh. Sneak attacks, counter attacks, gadgets, and the option to capture titans for research purposes further diversify combat while Final Battle’s addition of firearms adds yet another layer of possibility in tackling the sexless giants. Superfluous resource management does slightly hinder the flow of combat, requiring you to sharpen your blades and refuel your ODM to maintain maximum efficiency. Equally perfunctory, bases have little use beyond gathering and dispensing additional resources, and while wholly optional, feel like a needless addition to an already extensive battle system.
When you’re not launching yourself at the roaming pillars of naked flesh, bulging eyes and grinning teeth that have infested your home, you can enjoy some respite in the Daily Life sections, allowing you to get to know your regiment, tend to your gear and take on side activities. Aiding allies strengthens your bond with that character while engaging them in conversation, giving them gifts, and completing their missions further raises your relationship rank, unlocking skills and stat buffs for your character. While these moments of calm help break up the frantic bouts of combat, I found my investment in my comrade’s daily drama diluted by the sheer number of people that demanded my attention, each of them equally fatiguing in their garrulousness. These interactions however may be more meaningful for fans of anime, and my gripes may just be a product of unfamiliarity.
Attack on Titan 2’s Story Mode took me just over 10 hours to complete and by the time its credits rolled I felt both immersed in Attack on Titan’s world and story and fully familiarized with the intricacies of its combat. Positioning the player character as a contemporary to the anime’s main characters offers a fresh perspective for existing fans while acting as an ideal way to introduce newcomers in a concise and engaging way.
Despite its substantial story mode, my time with Final Battle seems like it has only begun. I have friendships to max out, dozens of scout missions to complete and plenty titan research to undertake (a feature which lets you pilot a titan and cause some havoc of your own). All of that is before diving into the ultra-challenging Inferno Mode, the highest difficulty setting for Story Mode, continuing my adventure in Character Episode Mode, which allows you to experience the narrative from several anime character’s perspectives, or the newly added Territory Recovery Mode that sees you and your comrades reclaiming land from titan horde. Atop these is yet more content with four online modes, both competitive and cooperative.
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle adds even more content to an already overwhelmingly generous game, helping to enhance its engrossing story and consistently electrifying combat. While the Daily Life sections feel bloated and combat and traversal can at times become clumsy, Attack on Titan 2 is a deranged, endearing and exhilarating experience that seems to capture the soul of the anime. With so much left unanswered, I now feel compelled to get up to speed with the show, and if that entails reliving shot after gratuitous shot of 15-foot-tall naked people wrestling then woe is me!
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7.8/10
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle adds a wealth of new content to last year’s release, enhancing both its gameplay and storytelling. While the lack of streamlining in the Daily Life sections and occasional awkwardness of combat persist, Final Battle offers a compelling and thoroughly exhilarating experience that is ideal for existing fans and newcomers alike.
- Concisely recounts the events of the anime thus far, acting as a great introduction for newcomers.
- Thrilling, unique combat that centers around swiftly and stylishly slaying titans.
- An overwhelming amount of content, including new modes and weapons exclusive to Final Battle.
- Daily Life sections feel bloated with too many characters to care about.
- Combat can become messy and traversal is at times awkward to control.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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