Outside of battle and in Daily Life mode, you can walk around hubs and chat with the likes of Annie, Armin, Mikasa, Sasha, and more to get acquainted with them and build bonds that help with teamwork in battle as well as increasing your own stats that benefit you. You have a set amount you can equip however, so choose them wisely and experiment with what works best for you.
Thanks to a revised progression system, things are a lot easier to keep track of and make sense in the grand scheme of things. Leveling up and progressing overall feels vastly improved compared to Attack on Titan in 2016, and has a reason for being there. You can see and feel your level and set up make a difference from battle to battle, versus before where everything felt like mostly for show and to seem like things were deeper than they actually were.
With all to keep up with, there’s now a Scout Journal you can open with the Y button while outside of battle to keep track of current story content, how you’re faring with your comrades, unlockables, and more. Pressing Y in Daily Life Mode will allow you to look in it and check your log for past events and story content so far, and the People Log keeps track of your interactions and friendship levels for everyone. “Activity log” has information of daily life and battles you’ve been in. “History” provides a timeline of everything going on in the world, and “Public Information” contains a glossary of key terms and their meanings. Another big plus is that if you’re having trouble completing a mission during story mode, you can initiate a Distress Call that will connect you online and have other players aid you in the completion of a mission. While I’ve never really come across a situation that was particularly overwhelming, it’s still really neat to see other real life players come into action and help you out.
While the Switch version does well in both handheld and TV mode in handling all that goes on in Attack on Titan 2, there are some issues that should be addressed, like periodic frame rate drops (a particularly big issue with the first title), draw distance woes, pop-in, aliasing galore, and low resolution textures, seemingly taking a 4×4 image and stretching it across a plane. While it’s not often – certainly not compared to its predecessor – there were a few occasions where when multiple Titans would be on screen at once, as well as a bunch of scouts and cadets, that things would chug along. What felt like a PowerPoint presentation going slide by slide, things would get bad, especially when it’d quickly go to an action shot of my character going for the kill slicing the nape of a Titan. This was especially prevalent in a section where you meet Levi and the rest of the Survey Corps for the first time not too long after Eren’s Titan form sets down a massive boulder to block a hole in the wall to keep from other Titans coming in. There’d be times also where Titans would appear out of thin air because I was going too fast and they didn’t render on time. While the pop-in isn’t necessarily horrendous or too visible, when you’re paying attention it can get rather irksome. A lot of these can be forgiven as they’re not the worst possible scenario we’ve seen of this in video games, it’s just when you get accustomed to it, you take note very quickly and it can hinder the overall experience and take away some of the polish.
Everything about Attack on Titan 2, however, is an improvement from the first, and this is a genuine growth in learning from past mistakes, taking what worked and didn’t work, and diagnosing and treating it to be the absolute definitive experience for the series so far. While I hope future titles explore different views much like the Lost Girls and Before the Fall manga, instead of having us simply replay what we’ve seen, and give us a more open approach to the gameplay, this is a step in the right direction and makes me excited for what’s to come in the future. I’ve been having nonstop fun with this game on Switch, and being able to play it at home or on the go screaming “Shinzo o Sasageyo!” and having Sasha Braus ask me out on a date (a defining moment for me) is the closest I’ll get to experiencing something I should probably never want to experience in the most authentic (and safest) way so far with Attack on Titan 2. If Omega Force can continue to learn and evolve and be willing to take future risks, you might see a new anime series that will transcend a typical “anime game” and become a hit in its respective genre.
What makes Attack on Titan 2 so great is that, compared to its predecessor in early 2016, it feels whole and a lot more personal. This is the definitive Attack on Titan experience that combines season one and two and sees them through the eyes of your created character, who suffered a similar fate to Eren’s as a child – losing his parents and loved ones in a brutal invasion of the Titans years prior. It’s because of this that there’s more of an attachment to everything that goes on, and the first person cut-scenes make it thrilling to see the action up close. All the issues that the first had, like its repetitiveness, lack of true RPG progression, small uninspired hubs, and very little end-game content are mostly taken care of in Attack on Titan 2. While it has its faults and still suffers from periodic frame drops, going from mission to mission feels a lot more seamless here compared to the first game, and it just feels like a massive improvement.
If you haven’t played the original Attack on Titan, just go ahead and skip it and jump into this one instead as it’ll still skim through season 1 and the progression is a lot more fluid and accessible, even for those that may not be too familiar with Omega Force titles. The UI is a lot cleaner, mechanics feel well-tweaked, and adding many ways to incorporate online play and other small things make for an overall better experience that trumps the first one and really makes you realize how problematic the first game was. This is, however, a game meant for fans first and foremost, and those going in blind without any knowledge with Attack on Titan may not appreciate it as much.
Attack on Titan 2 review copy provided by Koei Tecmo for the purposes of this review.