Approaching its third season, the wildly successful anime Attack on Titan centres on a world where mankind has been driven to near extension by lumbering man-eating titans. Sounds like the perfect fit for a video game, right? Well, if you saw our 6/10 review of the first Attack on Titan, then you'll know that we didn't feel that the jump between mediums was handled too smoothly. Constant repetition, performance issues and a weak narrative all prevented it from being a true monster to contend with. Two years later and we have the release of a sequel but does it deliver the adaption we always anticipated or is it just another colossal disappointment?
The story sees you join the Scout Regiment, a military division that is tasked with saving mankind from the onslaught of the Titans. Unlike the first title, you're given a comprehensive character creator you can use to shape your fighter before joining the rest of the cast in training. After slaying some wooden dummies out in the woods and getting to grips with your ODM (omni-directional mobility gear), you're off to seek revenge for the fallen and to protect the walls that surround the city. The story this time focuses on the second season of the anime but there are also elements included from the first to help get newcomers up to speed.
Using your ODM gear to propel yourself across the environment like Spider-Man you must land a range of carefully coordinated blows on the attacking titans. Momentum here is the key and you'll want to strategically slash off your opponent's limbs to prevent them from defending themselves properly. By slitting a titan's nape (their week spot) you and the environment will be drenched in blood and when you cut off their limbs they will stumble round crawling like a worm until they can swallow you whole. The adrenaline gets pumping thanks to the constant fast pace of the battles and the gore and grotesque imagery on display always feels chilling.
We did find the controls a little difficult to get used to, particularly when maintaining speed and chaining together our attacks. Holding R1 (on PS4) enables you to target your limb of choice and by hitting triangle you fire an anchor and are propelled directly towards it. There's the option to press the X button for an extra boost in speed (if you have fuel), but this demands a much swifter response although it can deal much greater damage. New to Attack on Titan 2 are sneak attacks, which can be performed by pressing R2 and locking onto a Titan through your scope. You can land quick executions here if you time your attack precisely but gazing down the scope too long will send the Titans into a fit of rage.
Teamwork here is vital, and you have the power to recruit four allies in battle. By pressing the circle button, you can enlist the help of other fighters and with a few pushes of the D-pad you can send them to attack once their cooldown time has expired. We loved that we could send our team members to the rescue when on the brink of death - seeing them swing in and slash at a titan never got boring. An interesting mechanic is that by improving your friendship with other characters you can receive upgrades like improvements to health and leadership. This is done by entering optional interactions between missions and offering positive responses to dialogue.