Hands on with the new expansion to Koei Tecmo's Attack on Titan series
It's a calm pastoral scene–trees gently swaying in the breeze, the sun gilding the edges of the clouds overhead. And then the mechanical equipment on your back begins to whir, shooting out a grappling hook and pulling you along through the air, Spider-Man style. The fast-paced symphonic music quickens and swells as you approach your target: a hulking humanoid figure trying to eat one of your team mates. You grapple onto a nearby building and swing high into the air, right above the Titan. And then, with one fell swoop, you sever its neck with your blade, felling the beast in one elegant midair pirouette. Welcome to the world of Koei Tecmo's Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle.
Recently, I had the pleasure of checking out some of the new features Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle, thanks to our friends at Koei Tecmo, and I'm here to tell y'all how it played!
First off, Story Mode now lets players experience the plot of all three Attack on Titan seasons from all three seasons from several distinct perspectives. Each of these perspectives shows up on the chapter select menu as a separate thread on a grand timeline. Final Battle introduces the new Territory Mode, a free roaming non-canon mode where the player can unlock and play as all characters from previous seasons. Territory Mode tasks the player with taking back territory from the Titans via discrete skirmishes you can select on an overworld map. Territory Mode allows players to form their own regiment, and, as characters within the regiment bond, special cutscenes are unlocked.
Normal combat has been adjusted in many ways too. The almost rhythm game-y battle system remains core to the experience, with the timing and aim of your attacks still being key to your performance, but many of the surrounding mechanics got an overhaul. Critical hits received an upgrade, as the game now more readily telegraphs how to line up a slice for maximum damage. A new Control Assist feature has also been added which lets players both target and attack with one button press. But that stuff's mere meat and potatoes compared to...
GUNS, THUNDER SPEARS, AND HUMAN-ON-HUMAN BATTLES.
GUN BATTLE! GUN BATTLE!
Yes. That's right. Attack on Titan has GUNS now. I'll admit, to me the premise seemed a little out of place for the setting at first, but it actually rules. Ranged combat works in a slightly different way than blade fights, beginning, obviously, with the fact that you can attack from afar. Once you initiate combat with ranged weapons equipped, you can target individual body parts on a Titan, much as you would with a blade, but from quite a distance away. Once locked on, you pull the R2 trigger to fire. Each time you select a new target, there's a split-second window where the reticle glows bright–this is your opportunity to pull the trigger and deal a critical hit! It takes a minute to get used to, but once you start combining the omni-directional movement with gunslinging you quickly become something akin to a bullet cyclone. Or Spider-Man with a gun. Ranged weapons also have an overdrive mode where the game decides "ah, guns are too pedestrian, let's morph your characters gear into GIANT MOUNTED GATLING GUNS." I have to say, mowing down 5 titans in less than a minute with ludicrously large gatling guns brought such a specific, powerful sort of gamer joy to my heart.
For those who prefer wielding the standard blades, you weren't forgotten. Blade users have access to the extremely powerful Thunder Spears–a weapon that, within game canon, was developed by Hange, so you know it's going to rule. The Thunder Spears are thrown projectiles that explode on impact and deal massive amounts of damage to your target. They also look and feel amazing to use, especially when landing a critical hit that prompts a custom execution animation full of bloody explosions.
The Thunder Spears are EXTREMELY COOL
Last Battle also introduces human vs. human battles which are INSANE. Locking on to and attacking large, slow moving Titans is one thing, but fighting humans who are just as small and mobile as you are is another ball park entirely. I found these battles significantly more difficult than the standard Titan fights, but once you manage to down your first opponent, everything just clicks. There's a mechanic where your opponents reload their blades or guns and a button prompt appears for a split second. If you manage to hit it in time you get a magnificently satisfying insta-kill!
Full disclosure: this is the first time I've ever played any of the entries in this series of Attack on Titan video games, so I'll admit that a lot of my affection for this game comes from the novelty of just getting to be a scout hunting Titans. But I can safely say that the added content and overhauls (especially to the combat system), have made this one of the best game-based-on-anime-IP experiences I've ever had. I'm pretty excited to check out the core game and all of the new content once it drops on July 5th!
Cayla Coats is the Editor-in-Chief of Crunchyroll News. She tweets @ceicocat