A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Gabriel Jones 14.05.2018

Review for A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) on Nintendo Switch

For over a century, the remnants of mankind have depended on the safety of the walls. On the other side of them lie the Titans, twisted giants that live only to feast upon humans. One fateful day, everything changed. Wall Maria was breached, and that was when the invasion began. The Titans ransacked the city, devouring everyone in sight, including the mother of Eren Jaeger. Also among the casualties were Hellaine Veckstein's parents. Five years later, Eren, Hellaine, and many others pledged their lives in service of the Survey Corps. Wait. Who is Ms. Veckstein anyway? There aren't any mentions of her in the official records. Perhaps she's an unknown soldier, and her identity is a gift from someone that wanted to live vicariously through her. Yes it sounds unbelievable, like something out of a horribly twisted fantasy, but it must be related to the rumoured A.O.T. 2 project.

The measure of a videogame's success is in how it balances both its casual and hardcore sides. Everyone is familiar with oft-overused sayings such as "Easy to learn, hard to master" and there's a reason for that. Not only is a good game accessible, when taken to the extremes, it never falls apart. No matter how much time a person is willing to invest; their efforts will always bear fruit. If they just want to view the story, then they are guaranteed to be satisfied when the credits roll. If they want to grind experience levels and unlock every skill, then they are sure to be pleased with how strong their avatar has become. The difficult part is appealing to a small yet determined community, those who never shirk from any challenge, even if they are practically impossible. Speaking of impossible, Omega Force has been trying to please everyone for a very long time. What's that other oft-overused saying? Oh right, "You can't please everyone."

It probably doesn't help that this developer gives off a shallow first impression. The popular Dynasty Warriors series makes the arduous task of unifying China as simple as pressing the square and triangle buttons a few thousand times. In most cases, however, if someone were to try the hardest difficulty settings, they would find their seemingly over-levelled hero fall to a light sneeze, as Cao Cao and half a dozen enraged officers chase them halfway across the map. These games are designed first and foremost to make the player feel awesome, but they are not afraid to turn the screws when prompted. All in all, this formula is smartly handled, although some might not appreciate the massive time investment just to get the most out of it.

Admittedly, Omega Force wasn't this critic's first or even second choice for helming an Attack on Titan game, let alone two. However, with A. O. T. 2, it has clearly shown that it is capable of making its formula work, even in a wildly different setting. Naturally, the Titans, whose weakness is the back of their neck, aren't beaten by mindless combos. However, there's a lot more nuance that goes into every movement. The trademark ODM gear is impressively realised. Swinging through ruined cities, weaving through thick forests, and whipping around corners is fun in itself, never mind if it actually serves a purpose. A significant portion of the player's time is going to be spent mastering the controls, and they will appreciate all of those little moments where their expert handling pays off.

Screenshot for A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) on Nintendo Switch

On the battlefield, winning is not just a matter of pressing buttons. Each mission offers up a variety of scenarios. Some will involve protecting points of interest or taking on exceptionally powerful Titans. Bases will also need to be constructed, and their services should be taken advantage of whenever possible. Blades and ODM gas canisters are a finite resource, so always have a supply base nearby. Automated turrets will cripple approaching giants, while bomb bases take out anything that gets too close. Since the hero can't be everywhere at once, strategically-placed armaments really help to lighten the load.

All that said, the Titans themselves tend to be more hapless than ferocious. Even when they are actively hunting the protagonist, they are not nearly as aggressive, let alone dangerous, as their anime/manga counterparts. Early on, this aspect isn't all that problematic, as the player's attention will be focused on the controls and the objectives, rather than their immediate survival. Also, they are liable to spend their time cutting Titans to pieces for extra materials, or capturing them alive to be research specimens. In-between missions, materials can be used to develop new equipment and upgrades, such as better swords or more versatile ODM gear. Given enough live Titans, new supplies and skills are acquired. Plus there's a mini-game where one can take control of a Titan and chow down on aristocrats, while avoiding heroes like Eren and Levi. It's a little weird.

For those who haven't been following the show, or need a quick refresher prior to Season 3, the story mode is serviceable. It's told almost entirely from the perspective of the player's created character. This silent hero somehow manages to be present for every major story beat, although they are never in a position to keep his or her allies from getting killed off. Nevertheless, their impact is felt through a large number of interactions with the rest of the cast. Doing missions together and gift-giving are two ways for the player-character to bond with their peers. Eventually, relationships will be built, and the effort is well worth it. Raising the "friendship" gauge with everyone leads to a wealth of useful skills. This is where the create-a-character aspect really comes into its own, as there are plenty of options for players to develop their own personality in battle. In the long run, it all comes down to slicing napes, but effective combinations of skills make the job easier and more entertaining.

Screenshot for A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) on Nintendo Switch

In the midst of everything that's happening, things can seem a little too… casual. While it is fun zipping around and slashing through dozens of Titans, the threat-level is almost non-existent. In the series, everyone charged with protecting the walls suffers tremendous losses, although players aren't really given any reason to fear. The game is compelling enough on its own, but there's little reason to carefully consider skill configurations, which bases to use, or any strategy beyond "kill whatever happens to be nearby." Some might not even notice just how useful allies actually are in battle. Summoning Levi for a devastating attack is one thing, but who would turn down the chance to call Eren's Titan form in to do some serious damage?

In order to realise A.O.T. 2's full potential, Inferno mode must be played. Unlocking this mode is simple enough. All that's required is to see the story to its conclusion. However, bonding with the entire cast is a must. Unlike skills, equipment, and experience level, friendships don't carry over to Inferno mode. Don't worry, because there aren't any "points of no return." It's possible to also rescue those who have given their lives to stop the Titans. This feature won't have any effect on the story, but the convenience is really appreciated. Even the poor souls who couldn't survive the very first battle have useful skills to acquire.

At first, Inferno mode isn't all that different from before. The story starts off as normal, but players will quickly realise that their blades and gas canisters don't last nearly as long as before. Yes, even those high end weapons and scabbards are exhausted very quickly. This change increases the tension quite a bit, as the consequences for ill-timed strikes and wasteful moves are realer than ever. Be sure to build supply bases whenever possible. Although, it might be worth investing in other bases, as well, such as the one that boosts attack power.

Screenshot for A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) on Nintendo Switch

As would be expected, the Titans are much fiercer. They are aggressive, counter attack more readily, and there's no escape for anyone caught in their grasp. Hook drives, which are performed by dodging attacks at the right moment, are likely to see a lot more use. These monsters are more durable, as well, so anyone who hasn't upgraded their equipment and properly configured their skills is going to have a very rough time. The increase in health can seem a little excessive, but think of it as an opportunity to use every tool in the hero's repertoire. Those days of slicing through limbs and napes like a hot knife through butter are long gone, so adapt and strategise. All of these changes make for a more exciting game. That feeling of despair when supplies are exhausted and the nearest base is too far away; it's actually a nice change of pace.

Reaching Inferno mode, as well as acquiring everything necessary to make it enjoyable, is going to take a long time. The grind is liable to wear down patience levels, especially if they don't care for making friends with Titan bait, or constantly farming materials. This critic recommends long breaks. Once some milestone is achieved, take a few days off and play other games. It's better than suffering burnout. Although, there's also Another mode, which might be worth checking out. This is more or less the Free mode that is available in other Omega Force titles. Players can choose their favourite character and take on a variety of missions.

Keep in mind that A.O.T. 2 is not an especially good-looking game. The character-models are decent, but they exist in a world that's static and bland. It will take an hour or so to adjust, so it's not a huge deal. The more concerning issues are the pop-up and frame-rate. Buildings and Titans have a habit of taking a second to load on-screen. Thankfully, there are visual indicators whenever a Titan is in view, so there's no chance of being eaten by an "invisible" enemy. The frame-rate sputters fairly often, although it feels slightly smoother in portable mode. Maybe it's just a trick of the eyes. The timing for everything from attacks to dodges is pretty generous, so even at its worst, the frame-rate isn't too bad.

Screenshot for A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Casual gamers are going to find a lot to love in Attack on Titan 2 (A.O.T. 2). The controls perfectly suit the action, and make Titan-slaying or just swinging around quite fun. There's also plenty of satisfaction to be had in the pursuit of better gear and special skills. However, those out there who want to get the most out of their purchase are going to have a lot of work to do. In the meantime, they might want to consider one of the harder difficulty settings. Inferno Mode is great in that it more accurately depicts situations common to the series. Blades are more likely to shatter after three nape-slices instead of twenty, and running out of gas is a death sentence. Hopefully, the next game shakes up the formula even more but, until then, this one is a very fun and rewarding ride.

Also known as

Attack on Titan 2

Developer

Koei Tecmo

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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