So, this is essentially a Game of the Year edition of Omega Force’s surprisingly brilliant, Attack on Titan 2 (or A.O.T. 2 as it’s also known), only, well, it’s not. Yes, it’s the base game and the new DLC, but the DLC is (structurally if not mechanically) completely removed from the base game. Also, if you want that cool season 3-inspired DLC and you already own the base game, you’re going to end up paying a premium for the privilege. If you’re a newcomer, despite the slightly odd disconnect between core game and DLC, this is an undoubtedly fantastic package, one with tons of content and even more of the largely brilliant gameplay that made Attack on Titan 2 such a pleasant surprise when it was originally released back in March of last year. If you already have Attack on Titan 2 though, man, that DLC is steep. Don’t get me wrong, it’s mostly very good, but if you’re forking out for the upgrade, it definitely feels like you’re being fleeced.
Still, issues of cost and structure aside, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is undoubtedly very good. It’s just weird. The narrative of Season 1 and 2 of the show are essentially covered by the base game which has you playing as a new soldier interacting with the key members of the anime as you make your way through the story from a slightly removed perspective. The Final Battle DLC that covers season 3 however, while retaining the same mechanics, doesn’t allow you to take that created, and by this point, hugely upgraded character across, instead forcing you to take part in character episodes that allow you to take control of the core cast members and subsequently see the major events of each series through their eyes. It works fine of course, but it does mean that you are essentially starting a new, albeit very similar game when you get to the season 3 DLC. Like I said – it’s weird.
Forget price and structure for a minute though as, honestly, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is ace. If you haven’t played the original Attack on Titan 2, you would be forgiven for expecting yet another Musous-style brawler that sees you slicing your way through armies of identikit enemies, but here, despite there being a fair bit of repetition, Omega Force have taken the time to create a high speed brawler that truly captures the essence of Attack on Titan’s unique combat and movement.
If there is one thing that the game and its subsequent DLC nails, it’s the use of the series’ signature, vertical manoeuvring equipment. By shooting high speed grappling hooks that subsequently pull your character through the air at blistering speed, simply moving around each stage can be exhilarating in itself. Combine that with the game’s high speed combat and the series’ now infamous grotesquely huge Titans, and you’ve really got something undoubtedly distinct. The fact that the nape of the neck is the weak point of just about every Titan ensures that combat can get a bit repetitive given the huge number of events available, but honestly, mastering movement and then using it to take down giant Titans in faster and with greater efficiency really is ace. The combat itself might be quite limited, but the freedom of movement allows for a wide range of attacking options and plenty of opportunity to show off as you go for those rare SS rankings.
Sure, there are a variety of missions that ask you to protect citizens or capture specific Titans, but in practice, it’s all much of a muchness, and when you nail the controls, the game rarely delivers much in the way of additional challenge. Getting through the rather lengthy core campaign isn’t actually all that hard, but if you do want to obtain those higher ranking or build up your social skills etc, you’ll need to put in a fair bit of effort.
Visually, the game is a bit of a mixed bag – the world itself can be a tad bland, but honestly, you’re usually moving around too fast to really care. It does look noticeably basic when you are wandering around between missions, making upgrades and liaising with the other cadets, but out on the battlefield, the constant, and brilliant sense of speed and momentum ensure that any visual shortcomings are easily ignored. Luckily, the character models are all brilliant and perfectly capture the essence of each member of the cast while seamlessly translating them in to 3D. The dialogue too, with much of it taken directly from the show itself, is all perfectly well written and delivered despite the fact that, like the show, it can all be a tad too dramatic for its own good – I’m looking at you Eren Yeager. God, that boy could do with cheering up. Yes, I know, his mother dies and all that, but come on, give it a break.
As for the Final Battle DLC itself, from a purely mechanical perspective, it really is more of the same with the only major difference being the aforementioned character episodes. In fairness, if you can get beyond the sudden shift off focus away from your created character, I’d make an argument for the character episodes actually being more fun – they allow the developer to dig a little deeper in to the series’ narrative while allowing fans of the show to take control of the characters that they’ve grown to love.
Beyond the additional 15 or so hours of content that the core DLC narrative provides, it also adds the all new Territory Recovery mode. It still has many of the hallmarks of the base game, but instead of defending what you have, you are tasked with winning land back from those troublesome Titans. With plenty of new items, additional recruitments and a multitude of new challenges, this mode adds another chunk of gameplay to what is already an impressively robust package.
It might not be the best deal for those who already own the base game, but pricing issues aside, whether you’re new to Attack on Titan or a returning cadet, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle offers an absolute mountain of quality content and more fantastic fan service than you could ever hope to shake a stick at. The gameplay can get a tad repetitive during extended play and the environments are occasionally bland, but those are minor issues with what is an otherwise fantastic take on the hugely popular anime. The sense of speed is immense, the traversal is utterly unique and the storyline for all three series is covered with a great deal of care and attention. The structure of the DLC remains rather odd, but that shouldn’t put you off what is one of the better licensed video games on the market.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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A.O.T. 2: Final Battle with Bonus Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle offers an absolute mountain of quality content and more fantastic fan service than you could ever hope to shake a stick at.