Hands-On Preview: Attack on Titan 2

The sequel is shaping up to be a much better experience than the original!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/23/2018 19:30 Comment on this     ShareThis

Attack on Titan 2 is heading to Nintendo Switch on March 20, but at Koei Tecmo’s Preview Event 2018, Nintendojo was able to take the game for an early test spin. Our time with the title was focused on its robust multiplayer mode. The core modes and features of the original game have returned for this sequel, but the design team didn’t rest on its laurels for Attack on Titan 2. A number of tweaks and additions have been made to make this an even better experience than what came before.

Perhaps the biggest addition is a new multiplayer mode: Annihilation. It’s a place for one-v-one combat that the first Attack on Titan didn’t have. Here, players are disseminated between two groups of four Scouts apiece. The objective is to be the team that earns the highest score within the time limit. That sounds straightforward enough, but it wouldn’t be Attack on Titan if it was, would it? Thankfully, Koei Tecmo has made efforts to ensure that Annihilation Mode isn’t just standard multiplayer fare.

First and foremost are the Titans littering each battlefield. Their defeat represents the fastest way of climbing up the ranks and earning points. Still, the emphasis isn’t purely on going out solo to annihilate the giant monsters. There are also benefits to be found working as a team. Individual body parts of each Titan can be targeted prior to its subjugation, something that teams making the effort to coordinate will be able to pull off and rake in Chain Bonuses, as a result.

Another strategy to consider while in battle is building bases. These structures also net points, but it’s not possible to build them just anywhere. Thus, the scramble to find spots to construct bases and then defend them from the enemy becomes its own side-battle while others are raging against Titans. That’s plenty to keep track of, but there’s even a third element to take into consideration: the opposing team itself! It’s key to slow enemy progression as much as possible, which is made a little easier with cool tech like Numbing Bullets (which impede movement), Paint Bullets (which act a lot like Blooper in Mario Kart in that they splatter the enemies’ screens so that they can’t see what’s happening), and more.

One of the more satisfying elements of combat is the ability to freely swing around the environment. It’s not dissimilar to how Spider-Man vaults around New York in his own games. Scouts shoot out ropes to rappel around the arena, offering a really exhilarating sense of speed and vertical movement. Swinging up high into the sky emphasized the size of the Titans during battle, too. Finding various outcroppings and other high points dotted around the battlefield to see eye-to-eye with the brutes lent some real weight to the urgency of the conflict between the Scouts and Titans.┬áSpeaking with producer and Koei Tecmo President/COO Hisashi Koinuma, he interestingly pointed out that the design team had done a solid job of implementing the grappling movement system in the first game, but that this time around, they were better able to extend that careful attention to detail across more facets of this installment.

Attack on Titan 2 has a really robust load out for both upgrading and enhancing the various weapons that a player can use. Snagging materials allows everything from ranged and melee weapons to be optimized for battle. The customization doesn’t end there, either, as players have the choice to select from 30 different characters pulled straight from the show/comic or they can create their own Scout. Speaking of established characters, it’s been revealed that┬áKeith Sadies, Kitz Woermann, Dhalis Zachary and Dot Pyxis will be part of the available roster!

This is a multiplatform release, which can be a bit worrying for fans of Switch who might be concerned that they’ll be getting the “lesser” version of the game. In my time with the multiplayer, that was not the case. The demo stations were all Switch units and there were no hiccups during matches. Yes, some of the assets have been downscaled a bit for Switch, but that’s par for the course when the trade-off is being able to play the game anywhere, unlike the competition. Plus, on Switch’s touch screen a lot of that difference in graphical fidelity becomes moot because it’s so much smaller than the average television.

Koei Tecmo’s representatives at the show were also stoked to highlight the ad hoc capabilities of this version of Attack on Titan 2. Unlike systems of the past, it’s much, much easier to take a Switch to a friend or relative’s home and link the consoles together. This provides for an even more stable multiplayer experience, as well, and will likely be a big draw for fans wanting to play together. Speaking of playing together, there’s more to experience online besides battling, including co-op missions in both Story Mode and Scout Missions. In short, Attack on Titan 2 is shaping up to be a much better game than the first. Switch owners will want to keep this one on their radars as we march closer to launch!

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