I’ve been a fan of developer Omega Force since I first started playing their Dynasty Warriors franchise in the early 2000s. As much as I love the series, as well as the myriad Warriors titles and spin-offs that have been made since, something like an Attack on Titan video game, where you sling yourself around Spiderman-style to fight massive monsters, seemed like it would be a little outside of Omega Force’s comfort zone. Thankfully, A.O.T. 2: Final Battle proved me wrong.
Final Battle is an expanded edition of the original A.O.T. 2 game, adding a plethora of new modes, missions, and features to bolster the experience and also to tie in with the recent third season of the anime. Story Mode returns, allowing players to create their own unique character and participate in the events and battles of the franchise. It roughly comprises the first two seasons of the anime, and the developers have done an impressive job at fitting the story into roughly twelve hours of gameplay.
It’s not all there, of course. If you’ve followed the anime and manga, you’ll notice plenty of scenes have been removed, but it’s mostly the minor stuff. The major story arcs, confrontations, and revelations are all intact, and they’re shown with a clarity of narrative that makes this compact version of Attack on Titan’s story no less enjoyable than its source material.
Credit also has to go to the inclusion of the player character. Inserting someone into a story that didn’t originally involve them is a tricky thing, and you’re inherently limited in what you can do. This often leads to the custom character feeling pointless and unnecessary. Your character’s backstory is that they were from the Shiganshina District, the site of the very first Titan attack in the story, and the events of that day lead them to enlist alongside Eren, Mikasa, and the other protagonists.
Starting from those very first days as a Cadet, you’ll fight alongside the cast of the series as humanity struggles to reclaim its home from the Titans, humanoid monstrosities that prey on ordinary folk. A great deal of the franchise’s impressively large cast is included, and it’s in fighting as or alongside your favorite characters that most video game adaptations tend to be most appealing. Thankfully, A.O.T. 2 has more to it in than that.
Outside of story missions, which mirror the major fights and expeditions, you’ll have seen in the anime and manga, you can interact with other characters and build your friendship with them. It often feels a little grind-y and could have been implemented better – you can boost your friendship with someone at any time, but ranking up to the next level can only be done under certain circumstances – but the interactions serve to both add depth to your allies and replace the character-building scenes that were cut from the story. It’s important to befriend your allies as much as possible, however, as doing so grants you skills and stat boosts in combat.
If you’ve played any of Omega Force’s other games, you might come into A.O.T. 2 expected fairly linear gameplay. Facing off against hordes of Titans is very much unlike anything in a Warriors game, however, and it requires a level of dexterity and timing that demands extensive practice to properly master. My initial efforts were awkward at best, but eventually, I was cutting down Titans like a proper Scout.
Players will spend most of their time traversing areas using the iconic ODM Gear, short for Omni-Directional Mobility Gear. It’s essentially a pair of grappling hooks that can be fired into various surfaces to propel the user forward, and it’s using these ridiculous, exhilarating maneuvers that you fight Titans, who can typically only be killed by slicing the nape of their neck. You can also wound them temporarily by slicing off arms and legs, which hinders their movements, but these limbs will eventually regenerate.
To aid in your fight against the enemy hordes, you can also construct bases at specific points on a battlefield. These have various uses, from resupplying your items to mortars than rain explosives down on your enemies. Some are more useful than others – you’ll likely find yourself building many supply bases to replenish your stock of gas and weapons, both of which can deplete rapidly in combat – but careful placement of bases can make all the difference in harder fights.
That being said, the majority of objectives and battles amount to the same thing: kill Titans. There’s plenty of variation in your enemies, from easily killed three-meter Titans to hulking 15-meter monstrosities, who more often than not will require a team effort between you and your allies to bring down. Disappointingly, most missions tend to end with you encountering a boss-class Abnormal Titan, whose main distinguishing feature is a stamina bar that has to be depleted before you can actually deal damage.
Aside from some unfortunate issues with repetition, A.O.T. 2 has some truly thrilling gameplay, and participating in the biggest battles from the franchise is always a treat. There’s also a great deal of nuance to how you approach combat, even if the enemies themselves rarely provide much variation. You can swap your swords for guns, which are harder to use but can reduce even the biggest Titans to limb-less, writhing masses very quickly.
It’s also good fun to assemble a squad with your favorite characters, especially when they come equipped with powerful or useful buddy skills. Captain Levi, as you might expect, is a ridiculous powerhouse, and his skill is basically a one-hit kill against its poor target. Other soldiers might heal you, distract enemies with a flash grenade or even capture them for further research, which in turn unlocks new skills for the player character.
Aside from Story Mode, there’s the strangely named Another Mode. Here, you can go online with other players to cooperate in story missions. Another Mode also frees you from playing as your custom character, allowing you to take your favorite Scout members into battle instead. You’ll need to play through Story Mode to unlock them first, though. If you’ve ever wanted to team up with a buddy against a horde of Titans, Another Mode is that opportunity.
New to the Final Battle edition of the game is the Character Episode Mode, which is where you need to go to experience the events of the anime’s third season. There’s no custom character here, so you’ll be playing as the main cast for this one. The fundamentals of the game remain the same, but by this point in the story, there are far greater threats to the protagonists than your standard Titans. It’s a great deal more challenging the main Story Mode, and consequently, the ODM Gear gameplay can truly shine.
Another addition is Territory Recovery Mode, which to me felt like a greatly expanded version of the standard Scout missions you can undertake between story battles. Put in charge of a unified anti-Titan regiment, you’ll have to manage the details of your base – you can leave specific characters in charge of particular jobs to bolster your team’s performance, for instance – and lead your squad to victory in battle. There’s plenty of missions to get through, laid out across a grid-based map of Titan territory, and you can earn plentiful rewards for weapon upgrades and the like, all of which can also be used in Story Mode. The variation of missions isn’t amazing, but Territory Recovery Mode is a great time-sink once the gameplay has clicked for you.
So, there’s plenty of content in A.O.T. 2, and actually playing it can be tremendously fun. It also looks fantastic, its detailed designs and compelling artwork accurately portraying the characters, locations and even the enemies of the series. The anime’s cutscenes have been reproduced in the game’s own style, and they’re every bit as impressive – sometimes more so – than watching events in the show. It’s a shame the anime’s stellar soundtrack wasn’t used, but the in-game music fits the experience just as well.
I’m fairly accustomed to video game adaptations of anime and manga being fairly lackluster, but A.O.T. 2: Final Battle surprised and impressed me. There are a few minor issues here and there – the rigid walking animations in cutscenes and the occasional bout of repetition in missions, for example – but this is a genuine and engrossing Attack on Titan experience. Getting used to the ODM Gear can be tricky at first, but once everything clicks you might just find yourself unable to tear yourself away from the chaos.