Humans against man-eating giants: Round 2
'Attack on Titan 2' is the sequel to the hack and slash game 'Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom'. The way I see it, AOT 2 demonstrates what a proper video game sequel is meant to be – a clear improvement over the original. The game follows the events of the first two seasons of the anime, though it later received a major expansion pack which added the third season into the mix.
The game's main story tells the tale of a player-created protagonist character, simply referred to as ''our friend''. The protagonist spent his/her childhood in the Shiganshina District, just like Eren, Mikasa and Armin, until the day Wall Maria was breached. When the Armored Titan broke through, the impact sent several large chunks of rock flying in all directions, with one boulder crushing the protagonist's parents. During the evacuation, the protagonist ends up on the same boat as Eren, who swears to eradicate Titans from the world. His words don't go unnoticed, as they encourage the protagonist to join the Scout Regiment, with the particular goal of taking down the Armored Titan.
The primary concept of the game is the same as in 'Wings of Freedom': to fight and kill Titans on the battlefield, slicing off their limbs and helping your fellow soldiers in the fight. What has changed, then? First, the characters who can aid you in battle have different abilities, such as special attacks, net guns which can be used to restrain the Titans and flash bang grenades for blinding the Titans. Even better, should the worst happen and you end up grabbed by a Titan, you can call one of your comrades to save you, provided that the ability is ready for use. Second, you have the ability to build a variety of bases for different purposes. These include artillery bases for extra firepower, mining bases for producing additional materials and supply bases to name a few. Finally, there's a number of new items for use, such as the restraining gun, and the ability to perform deadly sneak attacks from afar, provided you manage to remain undetected.
The changes aren't limited only to the battlefield: the everyday life is now an entirely different section of it's own. You can suggest different policies for the regiment for various bonuses, train to increase your stats and strengthen your bonds with other soldiers. Friendship mechanic is a brand new element. Your friendship level with any character increases either when you fight battles with them or give them gifts, with everyone having their own personal favorites. Increasing the friendship level unlocks boosts to your stats or new skills or policies, while also improving the training results when training with the person in question.
Even though the game is relatively simple and follows the pattern of the earlier game, 'Attack on Titan 2' is definitely a masterpiece for any fan of the series. In 'Wings of Freedom', you played the characters from the series, but here you can create a character who is entirely your own and with the massive amount of options for customisation you can fight the battles in just about any imaginable way you want. This notably reduces the biggest problem the prequel had – fighting Titans in the exact same way over and over again got repetitive and dull pretty quickly. Perhaps even more important than the fighting, you'll interact with the other characters as if you really were there, living your everyday life with them. And while your own character is unfortunately unable to change any of the major events of the story, finishing the main campaign enables you to replay certain levels and save several characters who died in the canon story. If the people of Koei Tecmo intend to make a third game once the final season of the anime is out, they have their work cut out for them if they want to top this one.