Review: Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle (Switch)

A worthwhile expansion on a creative, but repetitive, anime experience.

By Andy Hoover. Posted 08/15/2019 11:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Core gameplay still feels unique and innovative; interesting new features and modes; lots of content
Poison Mushroom for...
Mediocre presentation and some performance issues; repetitive in the long-term

If there’s one thing Koei Tecmo and Omega Force know how to do, it’s iterate on a concept. Their Dynasty Warriors franchise has not only featured more iterations than one could reasonably remember, but it’s also had spin-offs featuring characters from other game and anime franchises. However, the core concept of massive battles featuring thousands of mindless grunts acting as fodder for a handful of overpowered heroes wouldn’t quite gel with the world of Attack on Titan. Instead, the developers actually came up with a number of clever ideas and mechanics to capture the cinematic and acrobatic nature of the show and manga’s battles, and Switch owners got to experience it for themselves with Attack on Titan 2. But now we have Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle, which is really more of an expansion than a brand-new game. Considering this, look at this review as an addendum to my full review of the base game.

For those who either forgot or are less familiar with the source material, here’s a quick primer. The franchise chronicles an ongoing conflict in an alternate world where most of humanity dwells behind protective walls that defend them from monstrous, humanoid giants who seem to want nothing more than to chow down on people. The fact that these titular titans feature constant, disconcerting smiles all the time just adds to the creepiness. While the world is presented as being highly reminiscent of medieval Europe, the technology is a little more steam punk inspired thanks to the pneumatically powered Omni-directional Moblity Gear that allows its wearers to swing around on anchored cables so they can dismember the lumbering Titans with swords. Naturally, there’s more to the story than this set-up, but there’s no sense in spoiling the game or its related media.

The core gameplay innovations of the original title are once again presented here with a handful of worthwhile additions. You’ll once again strategically target Titan body parts in order to efficiently take them down while adapting your strategy to face the slightly more complex enemies who usually pop-up around major objectives in each stage. Now, however, there are a few more weapons at your disposal with the main addition being guns, which significantly change your approach to combat as they allow you to keep greater distances but generally deal out less damage. It’s also worth noting they don’t feel quite as dynamic or fun as the main game’s swords. It is nice that you can swap between the weapon sets at supply basses scattered around levels, but the ability to change between them at any time would have made for some really interesting gameplay. Combat also receives a shake-up thanks to the addition of normal human foes similarly equipped with the ODM gear you possess, though they show up quite a bit later in the story.

Speaking of the story, the base game covered the first two seasons of the show and Final Battle adds in content from the third, which of course means there are new playable characters as well. Once again, the bulk of story content is relegated to the main game which focuses on your own, player-made character, but side missions focusing on characters from the show are available as well. Once again, we are also treated to some very well done cutscenes that capture the look and feel of the anime quite well.

While the new story content is appreciated, I found the new Territory Recovery Mode to be the most interesting new feature. This mode divorces everything from the source material’s plot and serves more as a lite strategic simulation. After you choose your character, you are pretty much put in charge of a military unit tasked with retaking territory outside the walls, which means recruiting and leveling up squad members, gathering and investing resources, and planning expeditions while being mindful of your team’s fatigue. Battles play the same in this mode, but their objectives feel a little more randomized and they are generally shorter and to the point. The simulation elements are kept rather simple, though that’s generally a good thing as they never feel cumbersome and generally balance quite well with the quicker pace of the action.

The audio and visual presentation really remains unchanged. General gameplay looks fine while continuing to suffer from Omega Force staples such as pop-in and occasional bouts of poor framerates. The music and sound effects feel appropriate to the show and are of decent enough quality, though the decision to only feature the Japanese voices might disappoint fans of the English dub.

Thankfully Koei Tecmo seems to be perfectly aware of what Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle really is, as the new content is available separately for those who own the original game while those who haven’t experienced the original game yet can get everything in one package. And overall, this still remains a game worth experiencing. The wealth of content will likely make the gameplay feel old eventually, but the fact remains there really is nothing else quite like this on the market. For those who loved the original game, the handful of mechanical tweaks and additions alongside the new content should be an appealing proposition, though those who grew tired of it all might not feel so inclined. Regardless, despite the faults in presentation and repetition, Attack on Titan 2 in any form remains an appealing option for those looking for a unique action experience.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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