Attack on Titan 2 boasts a new Character Episode Mode that is goes over the contents of Season 3 of the anime. While the idea is there, there are some things that prevent it from being fully enjoyable, presentation-wise.
In Character Adventure Mode, you play through a series of events and stages all neatly lined up in crystal format. These feature story sections that basically go over the plot as shown in Season 3 of the anime, including the fight to rescue Eren from the Military Police and the fight against Rod Reiss’ oversized Titan.
One of the benefits to playing through Character Adventure Mode is how the mode is peppered throughout with extra missions that show off a different side to the story. For example, where normally you’d play through as Levi in an attempt to find Eren and Historia, a mission that also introduced Kenny Ackerman, I’d also find remixed stages like a Mikasa-led strike against most suspicious wagons that might contain Eren, showing off what the rest of Levi Squad was doing when Levi was off sneaking through the town avoiding the Military Police. It’s a nice change of pace that sometimes has varying objectives, and adds some depth over just following the main plotline of the anime.
I say “a change of pace”, because following the main story without skipping through is a dreary procedure. Most of these scenes consist of pre-rendered images flashing onscreen, vaguely reenacting the scene, and seemingly more for those who have already watched the anime. Dialogue boxes also lightly pepper the story segments, and voice lines from the show also show up now and then. Instead, it’s a faceless narrator that does the talking.
Once in a blue moon, there are also some animated cutscenes, such as the cave raid where Levi faces off against Kenny. These are few and far between, and makes the low-quality production of the rest of the story scenes stick out like a sore thumb.
That said, enough about Character Episode Mode – let’s also talk about the new gun combat. Final Battle adds in new Anti Personnel ODM Guns that work quite a bit differently from the blade combat seen in the previous games. Rather than getting up close while locked-on, Gun combat requires turning off the target reticule in order to do larger damage, something that will take a while to get used to. The guns also use ammo instead of blades.
One thing that the guns do is that they can easily take down Titans, thanks to how the damage is spammable rather than having to go in for individual hits. It actually helps make Titan killing cathartic, although this does come at the expense of some difficulty. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, because some of the larger Titans are exceedingly bulky and hard to take care of.
Overall, what I can say is that Character Episode Mode is worth checking out, but only if you’re already familiar with the happenings thanks to the anime. Thanks to massively cut-down story sequences, it’s a bit hard to recommend this as a way to catch up on the story of Season 3. (The missions themselves are great.) Despite a bit of clunkiness, it’s still easy to overlook as the gameplay is solid, especially the gun actions added to Final Battle make gameplay flashy while less time-consuming and resource-depleting when faced against the bulkier Titans.
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Those with the original Attack on Titan 2 can purchase it as an upgrade, and it is also available as a standalone purchase featuring all three seasons in one package.