Attack on Titan is about the last remnants of humanity trying to defeat the mindless, man-eating giants that ravage their world. It’s not really the kind of show where you fantasize about living in that universe. Still, Attack on Titan 2 lets you live out your dreams of being buddies Eren Jaeger and his pals, if you have them.
Attack on Titan 2 is fanfiction nonsense. You’re essentially playing through events from the anime as a self insert character. You were also there when the first wall came down, and also joined the 104th Cadet Corps, and also fought to protect Trost with Eren, Armin and Mickasa. Although the previous game also adapted the anime’s plot through the first season, this game will cover the second, and it’s also the first time you’ll play as an original character rather than an existing one.
It’s pandering and self indulgent, but honestly it kind of rules. The game goes full on Fire Emblem with it, letting you talk to the characters of the anime in the barracks after missions. You can level up your friendship with them by fighting alongside them and talking to them. Doing this will complete short side stories between you and another character, and you’ll also earn equippable abilities. After getting closer to best girl Sasha Braus, I watched a short cutscene where we went hunting together, and earned the “Agility +3" ability.
The world of Attack on Titan 2 feels vibrant and alive, which is extremely cruel because fans of the anime know that many of these characters will die. Making friends with your compatriots and earning abilities from them will help you out in the missions, though, so you can’t avoid it. When the titular titans attack, you’ll also be teaming up in squads of four to zip around on your Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, the steampunk-y technology that lets you Spider-man yourself all over the cities and forests of the game.
The way that OMD works is really enjoyable, though tricky at first to master. You can use the square button to send out anchors to latch on to nearby buildings or trees and kind of fling yourself off them, and also use the X button to jump and dash in midair. It is thrilling to just swing and jump all over the maps, though sometimes the game’s physics do not behave in a predictable manner. I sometimes got stuck on the sides of cliffs while trying to propel myself up them, but it’s not too hard to just find another route.
Using the OMD to take down Titans is a joy when you pull it off. You can target body parts of Titans to slice them off and weaken them, and then deliver the killing blow to the nape of the neck. You can target the nape first if you want, but dismembering Titans can earn you extra materials you can use to upgrade weapons. When you get all the systems to line up right, it feels like a real accomplishment. A few times I was able to use the moment I had gathered to slice off one limb to turn around, latch onto the Titan, and slice off another and it really felt like I was taking down a beast.
I had a surprisingly good time with Attack on Titan 2. It’s a pretty silly game, but the gameplay was slick and I have to admit that the Attack on Titan fan in me loved palling around with the characters. I can’t wait to have my heart broken by their deaths all over again.