Attack on Titan 2 review: More creepy, naked, smiling giants

Credit: Koei Tecmo
Credit: Koei Tecmo /

Attack on Titan 2 may be a bit creepy and overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with the anime series or the previous game, but it still has plenty to offer.

Title: Attack on Titan 2
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platform: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4 (Version reviewed)
Release Date: March 20, 2018

What the hell is this weird giant naked people anime that everyone is into? Those were my first sentiments the very first time I looked into Attack on Titan. A few years ago I felt the need to get back into watching anime after a long break. At the time, everyone I asked recommended Attack on Titan. After watching two episodes I just could not get into the show and put watching Attack on Titan on the shelf. After playing Omega Force’s video game adaptation I think I will have to give the show another chance.

Though the story of Attack On Titan 2 covers season two of the anime, the tutorial setup and first few chapters do an excellent job of introducing you to the principal characters and overall tone of the series. The game starts by throwing you ODM first into a titan battle that is super confusing. As a person who did not play the first game, this opening battle came across as nonsensical and really did not help to sell me on the gravity of this titan situation during the early moments.

As a journal-writing enlistee in the Titan fighting army, it just so happens to be that you are from the same town as major story-line participants Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert.  At first, I thought the tutorial was a bit overloaded, but it turned out to be one of the best tutorials I have ever played in a game story wise. Even though your character is not part of the official Attack on Titan cannon, the game weaves you into the story in a way that is natural.

Credit: Koei Tecmo
Credit: Koei Tecmo /

Attack On Titan 2  has a very complex attack system that relies on timing, speed, and angles. The training exercises do get you up to speed with some of the basics but still lack a bit. However, the use of the training exercises to develop the narrative of the fears and doubts the group face is a excellent touch. The training portion instills a sense of both dread and hope and sets the tone for the whole game.  During this time you are also introduced to the friendship building aspect of the game which also serves a purpose in developing your stats.

Though the tutorial does a great job of introducing people to the Attack on Titan world, the game gives you a big “welcome to the real world” moment when you face the intensity of actual battle. Having a bunch of naked giants trying to eat you is pretty intense and is downright scary at first. The moment a titan locks onto you and has you in its hands is horrifying. The emotional high school vibes of the tutorial is transitioned into blood and gore with Freddy Kruger-like artistry.

In these intense titan battles, the needless complexity of the attack system is really annoying. Your core attack consists of using R1 and the triangle button on the PS4 controller but is broken down into a combination of targeting, launching, and striking at the precise time. Though you can get the timing down when facing one titan, when you have a swarm of them it can be hard. This type of attack relies on blade durability and speed to be effective. For this to work, you have to constantly refuel and change blades when facing many titans and that would not be so bad if Omega Force did not insist on making the icons and text in the game super small. They had the same issue with icons and text in Dynasty Warriors 9.

Credit: Koei Tecmo
Credit: Koei Tecmo /

The game does offer different ways to attack and eventually I settled on a system of calling in teammates, sneak attacks, and normal targeted attacks. Sneak attacks, when perfectly landed trigger a very bloody instakill to most non-boss type titans. Sneak attacks allow you to snipe and time an attack and is very useful to take out titans when time is limited.  However, sneak attacks can get you in some trouble as they open you to be attacked by a titan that is in rage mode. This is can make for some very hectic moments as you tap triangle to escape the titan’s clutch of death. This rage mode is very intense and graphic as a titan grabs you and tries to swallow you whole. The colors of the game switch to just red, black, and white, and even if you defend the rage attack by cutting off the fingers of a titan, you are still left slow and low on health.

When low on health you will have to retreat to one of several mini bases scattered around the arena based map. These bases will allow you to replenish health, bombs, blades, and fuel. They can even be turned into strategic gun turrets, adding another layer to combat. Eventually, the game even takes a monster hunter like turn with the ability to capture titans for research purposes with a restraining gun. So while the combat starts off frustrating, once you get an understanding of the timing and when to optimize specific attacks the game plays fun, fast, and strategic.

The launching/traveling aspect of the game in contrast to the attacks is really easy and zipping around is fun. Movement in the game is great for the most part as that really only consists of hooking and dashing. The ability to easily call in teammates to help using L1 and the D-pad added to the simplicity of zipping around makes for some satisfying teamwork titan takedowns.

I probably will be having nightmares with the level of detail given to those creepy, smiling, naked giants.

The game does share a bit more with Omega Force’s bread and butter franchise, Dynasty Warriors, than just the bad menus and text. The gameplay can feel a bit repetitive as Attack On Titan 2 throws larger amounts and more powerful versions of the same enemies. Though the settings change, most of the missions in the game consist of protecting “VIPs” and strategic bases against the titan onslaught. This could very well drive some players away, but the combat is still very brutal, fast-paced, and intensely satisfying. I can really see fans of niche games like Earth Defense Force and Dynasty Warriors having hours of fun with Attack On Titan 2. 

Outside of the fighting, the game’s daily life elements weave character development into the chapters and really do a great job of making you care about the characters in the game. Building friendships unlocks stat perks that can help you change blades faster and dash quicker. The daily life portion is good for fans of the anime as you get a chance to get to know several fan favorites more.

Credit: Koei Tecmo
Credit: Koei Tecmo /

Attack On Titan 2 is a very pretty game for one that seems like it takes many assets from the aforementioned Dynasty Warriors 9. The game shares the same fonts, art design for menus, and the bland tower and village elements look about the same. What it does give immense attention to are the characters in the game and the villainous titans themselves. The world may be a little bland, but it makes the important elements in the game actually pop out in contrast. I probably will be having nightmares with the level of detail given to those creepy, smiling, naked giants.

The game also allows you to take the fun factor online with a co-op mode that allows you to play standalone missions to gain extra resources to use in the main game. The online PvP mode is also some cool fan service in which you can select from 37 different characters that exist in the Attack on Titan universe.

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Attack on Titan 2 does a great job as a game adaptation despite a few minor flaws and should be played by fans of the franchise. Though the flow of Attack on Titan 2 may be a bit repetitive, the game never ceases to be action-packed and often feels like a fighter pilot shootout. More importantly, the game does an excellent job of showing the emotion and character development that makes up the Attack on Titan universe. Since the game gives you enough background on the characters and follows the Attack on Titan anime storyline, you can jump into it without having watched the anime, though I find it harder to recommend to those who are totally unfamiliar. However, playing the game has intrigued me enough to give the anime a second chance.

7.5. A must-play for fans of the <em>Attack on Titan</em> franchise. Just like the anime, the game is full of action, humor, heart, and gore. Minor flaws prevent the game from being great but it is still developed well enough to be more than just a cash grab tie-in. Once you understand the mechanics the game becomes really fun. Though the combat can be repetitive it still does not feel like a grind and the terrific story and interactions go far in pushing you to keep playing.. Omega Force. . Attack on Titan 2

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.