Review by Ben Pierson
I love Attack on Titan. Got the manga, the DVDs, Wings of Freedom on PS4 and a tattoo on my leg to prove it, so I was vastly excited to get my hands on the sequel to the 2016 game.
For those who don’t know, Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin (yes, I know, the translation’s a bit dodgy), is a manga and later anime series where humanity has been forced to survive living behind huge walls to protect themselves from the man eating giants that roam beyond, named: Titans. The Scout Regiment are a group of humans who venture out into Titan territory to try to learn about and attempt to reclaim the world, often with bloody, gruesome results.
Hitting Start drops us into an intro sequence showing off the titular titans and characters from the popular Japanese franchise as well as some sneak peaks that fans of the series will already know. (WARNING: I’m not putting any spoilers in this. People that spoil things are dicks, end of.)
The first time that the epic music swells, putting me in mind of Lord of The Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean, we take control of our character, hooded in the Scout cloak (because we haven’t made their face yet) and start fighting against one of the harder bosses from the last game. This felt a little unfair given I wasn't sure if I understood the revamped controls straight away or if the game was supposed to give me a hard time deliberately. As the screen fades to black and it becomes clear that this was foreshadowing, I decided that it was likely a combination of both.
The plot of the game itself follows someone reading from a book about/written by a nameless soldier. That’s us. A cool way to add a customisation character into a pre-established story but it doesn’t bode well for a happy ending but then, nothing really does in AoT… I promised no spoilers, so let's talk character building;
The choices regarding customisation are close to Skyrim level detailed, so expect some horrific combinations as you scroll through your choices of eyes, ears and noses as you find the ideal look for your Giant Killer. Whether you choose to recreate yourself or create a terrible monstrosity with zero dress sense, you won’t struggle to spot yourself in the crowd of the 104th trainees.
Certain parts of the script and video scenes are almost identical to the original material, which is fun. In other cut-scenes you have dialogue options so you can decide how to interact with the characters you speak to.
Speaking of speaking, your fellow soldiers in training often have things they want to talk to you about and if you select the correct thing to say, it may well benefit you (Don’t worry, even with little to no knowledge of the characters, you can probably work out the right to say. If not it’s a 1 in 3 chance.)
By telling them what they want to hear you can increase their ‘friendship levels’. The conversation options you choose when you speak when chatting when you see them in the HUB world of the barracks influence your friendship level while helping them in side missions and fighting alongside them also increases their friendship, possibly increasing their effectiveness when out in the field? Either Way I wouldn’t get too fond of anyone character mind you…
The combat itself is a little weak. In the first game, Wings of Freedom, the was a decent amount of purpose and *omph*, each move powerful and precise. In A.O.T 2 it feels slightly wet, more like a playground swing than rockets attached to your crotch as you blast across the landscape.
One hour was may not have been enough to get the full effect of the joy and terror this series has to offer, however, I personally don’t see myself sinking days and days into this. AoT’s unique story as it arcs, twists and turns need the fire, the urgency that this game seems to miss while the previous game captured so well. My love for the series remains untarnished but in all honesty, I’d always choose Wings of Freedom over A.O.T 2. If you do too, you’ll soon be streaking across the sky covered in blood with a string of gigantic corpses in your wake.
It may just be me but maybe skip out on A.O.T.2
Go play AoT: Wings of Freedom.
In Fact, go watch the anime, read the manga and thoroughly enjoy yourself.
Hajime Isayama, give me free stuff.