Fans of Attack on Titan have been on a bit of a high note lately as the series went from taking a long break between anime seasons to pushing out numerous seasons over the course of a few years. As such it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that Koei Tecmo would take last year’s Attack on Titan 2 and add an expansion to the game in an effort to add story content as well as additional bits of gameplay to match up with the third anime season. With Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle being available both as a standalone that features all of the content of the original plus more or as a simple DLC add-on to the original, is this worth picking up?
Since Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle features all of the content found in the original release players will still have access to the story content that is spread throughout the first two seasons of the anime, only seen through their own original created character. This mode provided a unique take on some elements of the story as it gave players a different viewpoint of some events as well as see things that the core cast never were able to see while also giving players a chance to form bonds and learn a little about the various characters in the series.
The original story content was already satisfying in its own way, outside of the obvious ending, but due to that ending Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle continues its extra bit of story in a new mode. The Character Episode Mode as it is called picks up immediately after the events that saw Eren being rescued after being kidnapped by the Armored and Colossal Titans, a mission players could still play as their original character in the core mode. However since the original character is now dropped from the story players will now be controlling the character’s that were actually found in these sections of the story.
These character episodes mix together solely cinematic sequences to help progress the story as well as new combat missions. Those looking forward to seeing how the third season’s storyline is portrayed here will most likely be rather pleased with this mixed style of presentation. There are also a few little side missions that can be unlocked as well and while they are meant to give players an extra viewpoint, really don’t add too much to the narrative. It is also worth noting that those who already played the first release of the game will find their save data carrying over to this new version with no issue, though if you’ve already beat the core story mode then you’ll really only find extra narrative through the character episodes and by bonding with some of the new characters in the other newly added mode.
For the most part players will find that Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle plays almost the exact same as the original release of the game though there are a few touch-ups to the combat system that make landing critical hits feel a bit easier. While playing through the aforementioned Character Episode mode players will need to do battle against both Titans as well as fellow humans for the first time in the series. Battling against other humans is fairly simple and uses many of the same mechanics of Titan battles but has a few little different features that make it a little more challenging, especially since most of these enemies prefer to use firearms instead of blades. It is worth noting that just like how players cannot choose the character they are playing as in these episodes, their weapon loadout is also pre-determined which feels a bit limiting at times especially since players now have some new toys to slay the Titans with.
Alongside the trusty blades that fans are more than familiar with players can now equip firearms as well as special ammunition that they can load into them. In other game modes players will be able to swap between blades and firearms at the various bases scattered throughout the map. Firearms tend to feel a bit overpowered at times since players can choose to shoot Titan limbs from a fairly safe distance without needing to zip around them using their ODM but close-range shots work just as well. Alongside these players also now can access powerful limited use finishing weapons such as the Gatling Gun in the firearm mode that sprays a ripping stream of bullets at your foe while the blades gain access to the Thunder Spear, a powerful weapon capable of slaying powerful Titans with one attack.
Most of your play with these new weapons will be spent in the other new mode, Territory Recovery (especially if you’ve already beat the core story), since they only occasionally pop-up in Character Episode mode. The Territory Recovery mode allows players to take and form a brigade all on their own by taking a character of their choosing, including their custom character, and taking on the Titans all while reclaiming land, building their core base, and recruiting characters from all over the storyline. In fact, this mode will likely provide fans the biggest bang for their buck at this point in time as creating your own unit while crafting a team of your favorite characters is something many fans have been hoping for for quite some time and building up their synergy, equipping them with stronger weaponry, and working on your own forward base is a blast.
All this being said, it is worth noting that since player’s save data from the original Attack on Titan 2 does carry over, returning players can feel a bit overpowered at the start when carrying over their massively upgraded equipment. Along those same lines the Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle expansion really only offers these two new gameplay modes and a handful of new weaponry, making it a bit of a hard press for some who may already have sunk plenty of time into the original release.
Visuals & Audio
Outside of what appear to be a few new areas, though they may simply be reconfigured a bit, players coming into Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle will mostly find the same looking presentation that the base game had, which isn’t too much of an issue as the visuals match the aesthetic of the anime perfectly with the characters all fitting their designs quite nicely while a wide variety of creepy Titans are on display. It is worth noting that the blood level has also been increased quite a lot this time around as players will often find themselves slaying a Titan and bathing the entire area in sprays of its blood. The camera unfortunately has not been improved and the flailing nature of the Titans can often cause players to lose track of themselves or simply slice into a body part they weren’t aiming at simply because the camera has issues keeping up with the speed of the player’s movement and the flailing of a wounded Titan.
Once again the voice acting for both the previous content as well as the brand new content is presented in Japanese only with English subtitles. This isn’t really an issue however as longtime fans of the series should be familiar with these characters by now and how their Japanese voice actors and actresses sound. The soundtrack remains fairly standard for a game such as this one with fitting themes playing over serious story beats and faster tempo music working well during combat.
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is a bit of an odd duck as it is clearly the best game for the franchise so far and those looking to get into the game will find no better entry point than this one as it not only offers the story from the beginning from a slightly different viewpoint but also does an excellent job portraying the hectic feeling of combat as players zip around using their ODM while targeting weak points and avoiding being grabbed by Titans. While this may be true for newcomers who haven’t played the original release, this new version of the game can be a bit of a tough recommendation due to the fairly high asking price compared to the actual content it adds.