Attack on Titan has a lot to be proud of in its short run. Combining post-apocalyptic action with political drama in a world where German and Japanese cultures collided has done wonders for its popularity. Since bursting into the manga world in 2009, it has seen over 70 million copies in print, which far outstrips any other series published since the mid-2000s. Boasting three anime seasons, a handful of live-action adaptations, and a plethora of video games, Attack on Titan quickly became an anime juggernaut. Which brings us to Attack on Titan 2. The second Attack on Titan game in three years, it offers more high-flying Titan-killing action. Boasting a whole host of improvements over the first game, Attack on Titan 2 offers a chance to slay Titans with your own character, as they swing alongside recognizable faces from the series.
Even if you haven't played the first game, don't be alarmed, as Attack on Titan 2 goes to great lengths to be as introductory as possible. Even though Koei Tecmo is advertising it as a sequel, it covers all the material its predecessor does, and much more. Of course, as you're playing as your own character, scenes have been tweaked somewhat. Great care has been made to slot your character into scenes with Eren, Mikasa, Armin, or any of the other characters from the series. It feels natural, and you're made to feel important.
One of the biggest positives from Attack on Titan remains largely unchanged: the movement. In a sense, it's essentially Spiderman 2-style web-slinging combined with rocket-powered skateboarding and jetpacks. "Fun" hardly begins to describe it. While Attack on Titan 2 isn't known for its irreverent humor, the movement is weighty enough where I could see a place for a time trial mode, or races against fellow characters. Sure, you still get stuck on weird pieces of geometry in urban settings, but Omega Force kept one of the best parts of the original intact.
Killing Titans is largely unchanged from the original as well. For those who are new to the series, Titans are weak only at the nape of their neck. By sending out grappling hooks, you swing around the Titans, chopping off body parts before moving in for the kill. Through a series of timed button presses, you can maximize damage and take down lumbering, 15-meter monsters in a single blow. After a spray of blood and gore, you're off to the next Titan. It's quick, frenetic, and constantly keeps you on the move. Even if you're not the most coordinated of gamers, that's fine, as the window to damage the Titans is rather generous.
As far as improvements over the first game are concerned, Omega Force has done a lot of work polishing Attack on Titan 2. The UI is cleaner and sharper; the survey missions are now optional and evenly spaced out throughout the game; the time spent in town talking to your allies has been vastly expanded, and you can now play through the entire game with a friend, or take part in a few different online modes. I've yet to check out the online gameplay, as it's still before the game is out on our shores.
If anything, those who were on the fence about checking out the first Attack on Titan should definitely give the sequel a second look. It still carries the cel-shaded aesthetic of the anime, while offering rewarding gameplay and some incredibly gratifying movement. The whole litany of changes, some quality-of-life, and others more major, makes Attack on Titan 2 a better game from the outset. While it's possible that I could be blindsided by boneheaded design choices, such as the epilogue from the first game, this seems increasingly unlikely, the more I play. Look forward to our review of Attack on Titan 2, coming within the next few days.
These first impressions of Attack on Titan 2 are based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game provided by Koei Tecmo, the game's publisher. It will also be available for the PS Vita.