Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is a bit of an odd duck. I never played the base game when I launched, and I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I never did. Attack on Titan 2 is an incredibly adept adaptation of the anime, even if the base game isn’t as cohesive with the DLC as it should be. Both Attack on Titan 2 and the subsequent Final Battle DLC are great experiences in their own right, but feel a bit disconnected.
We’re going to start with the base game, since I spent a good chunk of time there in the early portion of my playthrough. I really enjoyed the first Attack on Titan, but my playthrough sort of tapered off and I never got around to finishing it. Attack on Titan 2 launched early last year, and received similar reviews to the first game, so I knew I’d enjoy it, but never had the chance to pick it up.
I’m pretty upset with myself, because over the last week I spent about 35 hours just slamming through the campaign and grinding out materials and SS rankings across the various base game modes. It’s a title that has a ton of content and things to do out of the box, but the Final Battle DLC adds a tremendous amount of new things to do, especially for newcomers.
Attack on Titan 2 takes place over the first two seasons. Players create a new character that fights alongside a majority of the characters that can be seen in the anime. I thought it would feel a little weird shoehorning a random soldier into the story, but it actually worked really well. I’m not going into specifics on the story to avoid spoilers, even though if you haven’t watched the show by now you probably won’t.
Humanity is under siege by giant beasts called Titans, and it’s up to players to hold the tide of enemies at bay. The game does a very good job at walking players through the main story beats of the anime, and the game outside of the Final Battle DLC is pretty lengthy. It took about 20 hours to get through the main campaign, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Outside of the campaign there are training regiments to undertake (these increase base stats), an in depth social system for players to get to know characters, survey missions to fight enemies and farm materials, the Titan Research Room, and an enormous number of weapons and gear to synthesize.
The real draw of Attack on Titan 2 is how fluid and fast the battles are. While maps aren’t the prettiest to look at, character models and movements are well animated and playing through a mission felt like I was dropped into an episode of the show. The biggest problem here is how similar almost every fight feels. Titans only have one weak spot, on the nape of their neck, and it’s the only way to defeat them. Eventually, especially when going back to SS rank missions, it gets to a point where players will end up defeating enemies with one attack.
It’s a simple issue of rinse and repeat over and over and over, but the grind was so addicting that I didn’t want to stop. The battles are so fast and fun that the repetition didn’t bother me. After a certain point, every game gets repetitive, so at least the grind here was fun. There are other reasons to go back into battle over and over too.
First, going into battle ups your social rank with your comrades. Increasing your rank with characters unlocks new dialogue options that can further increase your social rank. Increasing your level with each character opens up new skills to equip and base upgrades. Second, going back into missions gives you the chance to capture Titans. Capturing Titans increases your Titan Research Room level, and unlocks in game items and additional abilities.
Most features and modes in Attack on Titan 2 work alongside other modes, meaning that doing anything in the game will assist in accomplishing something else. They’re well-crafted modes, and I never felt like I was wasting time.
Combat is pretty simple, and tasks players with targeting various Titan body parts to dismember and defeat. Most missions play out the same and revolve around defeating Titans and defending characters. More in-depth missions involve escorting and protecting citizens as they evacuate, or capturing certain types of Titans.
After completing the story players can go back and replay missions while achieving certain objectives to unlock Dire Eliminations. These involve defeating much stronger Titans, even if the overall gameplay loop is the same. Increasing the Titan Research Room rank means you can capture stronger Titans, including these powerful Abnormals.
With the base game out of the way, let’s move on to the Final Battle DLC. At the beginning of the review, I mentioned that the overall package is a bit of an odd duck. This is mostly due to the new Final Battle content being completely different from the main game. Want to continue playing with your character? Too bad. Instead, you play through various character episodes through the viewpoint of anime established characters. The story in this DLC follows season three, which is still airing in the US.
I want to get something out of the way that troubled me with this DLC. The pricing scheme is a bit weird. There are two ways to get the Final Battle DLC. The first is with the base game, which was re-released with the DLC for $59.99. The second is to buy the Final Battle upgrade for $39.99. Anyone who already had the game from when it launched are getting the shaft here, as this package was built for newcomers, and is a much better deal for anyone who hasn’t jumped in yet.
Final Battle does complement the full game pretty well though, as the Character Episode modes are joined by Territory Recovery modes. There’s about 12-15 hours worth of new content in Final Battle, and while $39.99 is reasonable for the amount of content here, I’d be frustrated if I had already paid full price for the original game, especially a year later.
I think it was easier for the developers to create character episodes without having a player made character involved. Considering season three is still airing, they haven’t had time to craft a semi-original narrative for a new introduction. Character episodes include some of the new introductions from season three like Kenny, and introduces some key moments from the anime that players should look forward to.
Territory Recovery mode is probably the most unique addition to Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle. This mode tasks players with building their own group of characters and slowly recovering areas outside of the walls from Titans. There are characters to recruit, materials to earn, and is a good time sink to take a break from the gameplay loop of the full game.
Finally, there are new items to earn in Final Battle. New weapons make an appearance to further overpower your characters. Some key weapons appear in the DLC, making the return to Attack on Titan 2 even more enticing.
To be honest, I’m still on the fence whether Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is a worthy purchase for anyone that already owns the game. It’s easily the most complete way to experience Koei Tecmo’s title, but spending $90 on a single-player game will turn some people off. There’s enough content here to make the purchase worthwhile, but anyone who held off on playing are the ones who really benefit. Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle’s $59.99 version is great value for the money, and I’m having a hard time not recommending this incredibly fun title to anyone who is a fan of the show or anime games in general.
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. This review is based on an Xbox One copy of the game provided by the publisher. Purchases are available here.