The momentous season 3 finale of Attack on Titan’s anime adaptation just aired this summer, and with it, the DLC content for the companion game, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle. Can the DLC live up to the hype of this season? Will it cure that horrific anime hangover while we wait for the next season???
Special thanks to Koei Tecmo America for their game code on the Switch so we could bring you this honest review!
This DLC Bundle is Everything You Need in One Game
If you’re a fan of the original manga or anime but have never played the games before, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is now a fitting place to start. The DLC can be purchased separately or as a bundle. However, we at Dashing Nerds can also recommend the first game if you’re a completionist— Greg was a big fan of the original AoT game, which received consecutive scores of 8/9/9/8 from Famitsu.
DLC features include:
- Control Assistance
- Territory Recovery Mode
- Key Weapons: Anti-Personnel ODM, Thunder Spears, Gatling Gun
- Online Play: Predator Mode (Play as a Titan)
- New Titan Research: Annihilation Mode, Showdown Mode, Expulsion Mode (Access these in Story Mode)
For the sake of time, though, if you start with Attack on Titan 2 and its DLC, it will have everything you need. The base game covers season one (as told from a created player character’s perspective) and season two (played through different original characters like Eren and Christa) of the anime. Now, with the DLC available, you’ve got season 3 of the anime content. Me personally, I like having everything in one package. And there’s no question that the DLC added a tremendous amount of value to the game package.
And there’s no question that the DLC added a tremendous amount of value to the game package.
The DLC inserts the story for season 3 through individual character episode missions, some of which are unique to the game (and supervised by the original Manga creator). Considering how much character development happened in season 3 of the anime, that means a titanic amount of content (FYI: I will NOT apologize for puns in this review.). With the addition of Kenny, Nifa, Zeke, Caven, and Floch, there are now over 40 unlockable characters available to play in the different game modes.
If you’re new to this game, the Main Menu might induce panic. Why the heck are there so many game modes? Which one should I start with? Below is a brief description of what to expect in the four modes of play. Don’t expect to breeze through the game modes when you start out. With the character missions, social links, training options, and side stories, you’ll spend hours covering all the bases.
Story Mode allows you to experience the events of season 1 of the AoT anime through your own custom character. This is a traditional, linear story that you can’t change (other than getting eaten by titans and just plain failing). However, your dialogue choices do impact social links for each character in your Scout Journal and your overall popularity.
Social links are in the style of a Persona game. You’ll need to woo your comrades into believing you’re their bestest friend through a silver tongue and giving gifts (aka some straight-up bribery). Yup, that includes even Kitz, who speaks like he forgot to turn off the Caps Lock, and that angry old merchant who has the charm of a Tasmanian devil. But seriously, some of the character writing is hilarious, and the voice acting matches the anime’s quality, so you’ll want to spend some time gifting cheap liquor to my boi Hannes. Social links will also grow as you fight alongside your comrades and complete the story itself. As you level up social links and complete missions together, you’ll unlock characters in the other gameplay modes, so I’d recommend playing at least the first 25% before dipping your toes into Another Mode.
Popularity is counted in Wings of Freedom, which you can redeem for a ridiculous number of prizes, from unlocking rare items early on to declaring weekly regiment holidays to boost specific stats. And how do you become popular…? In real life, I am not the person to ask this question, but in-game, it’s simple! You become popular by doin’ yer jerb, cadet! Go figure. Popularity is also gained through morale-boosting interactions with the town NPCs, such as kissing babies and asking the rich snobs in Stohess District to donate to the regiment (I’m not kidding about that one).
Story Mode also lets you unlock some of the best features in the game, like titan capture and research (you can use the capture feature in other modes, too). That’s right, you can collect titans (Pokemon), fill out your research catalog (Pokedex), and watch Hange (Professor Oak) salivate as you reel in more and more bizarre beasts. It’s an addicting element that tickles my little completionist heart, as each new addition to the compendium gives you swanky bonuses like devastating weapons and useful skills. You can even battle as or against titans in the added DLC modes, which you unlock at the research lab. Some modes will trigger powerful enemies to appear, like the Beast Titan.
Another Mode allows you to pick any character that you have already unlocked and replay through any mission in the other modes that you’ve already beaten. You can play games online with friends or solo. The advantage to replaying old missions is that all of the rewards go to the same shared inventory; leveling up and improving stats, acquiring special items, and any earned regiment funds and Wings of Freedom will carry over and can be used in Story Mode or Territory Recovery Mode. Another Mode also has its own missions than run concurrent to the main story and feature some unique character dialogue.
Character Episode Mode *Section contains mild spoilers for AoT Season 3*
This mode contains the meat of the season 3 story arc via an unlockable timeline with missions. As you beat missions and unlock more of the narrative, side stories appear in the timeline featuring different characters, such as Hange’s Thunder Spear episode and the failed mission of a young Keith Sadies. Once you acquire the Thunder Spear and Gattling Gun weapon modes, you’ll be able to take these heavy hitters into the other gameplay modes. These “big guns” are a welcome addition, as there previously weren’t ways to unleash devastating havoc on titans outside of some buddy actions (very limited-time use) and weaponized bases (limited to a set location).
Many of the missions are standard in this mode: hack-and-slash-titans until you beat the Bizarre Titan or protect the regiment from a swarm of enemies. But there are a number of anti-personnel missions added that spice up the old formula.
There are a number of anti-personnel missions added that spice up the old formula.
Standard titans move with the grace and form of a zombie, and even the nimbler of their kind still provide large target areas that are simple to hit. They can’t attack long-range (except for some bizarre titans throwing debris) and can often be found lazing about in the middle of a field, presumably still sleeping off their last tasty meal of human flesh.
By comparison, I was on the edge of my seat for the anti-personnel battles. As Levi— literally, the strongest human in the AoT universe— I was nearly overwhelmed by the enemy much in the way IRL that I was swarmed by mosquitos that one time I walked a mile through the woods without bug repellent (Big mistake!). Unlike the standard blades, the Garrison cadets use firearms, so imagine your mosquito swarm with glocks, and that’s pretty much what the battles are like.
To make it even more of a challenge, all of these missions take place within the city, where the Garrison used ambush techniques to full effect on my poor, unsuspecting Scouts. But all of this made it feel worth it when I finally squashed them all! Bwahaha!
Huh, these anti-personnel fights make me feel bad for the titans…
One negative note in this mode: spliced between the missions “cut-scenes” you will need to watch to access further missions. I use the word cut-scene loosely, as most of these are just image stills with two adjacent character panels delivering exposition— perhaps more effort could have been put in there, but I imagine there was not a lot of time with how quickly the content released with the season 3 anime finale to develop further. Still, character panels would have been fine if more than lip flaps were animated. The style in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney would have been a better, more expressive fit.
Territory Recovery Mode
Danger! This new mode of gameplay is highly addicting! Here’s why— you are a chess piece. Yes, Armin, I know—that’s SO meta— but really!
Territory Recovery Mode has all the same bonus opportunities as Story and Another Mode, but you control the pieces against the titans. You come up with your own regiment commander, name, emblem. Other than Nifa and your commander (chosen from the unlockable character roster), you have to earn the rest of your team based on who you pursue outside of the safety of the innermost walls. It’s entirely up to you, the player, to pick which areas to unlock first, and whether it’s to rescue Jean or trek for more resources in the limited number of turns you have before you must retreat back to the base. While you’re moving around the map, different random events can trigger, causing you to gain items or lose turns. And if you don’t like the probability of a titan attack, you can assign regiment member to specific squads to affect the outcome of certain chance events. This adds some versatility and strategizing to AoT, which somehow feels right at home in this universe despite the other linear modes of gameplay. Once you take back the land from the dreaded man-eaters, you’ll have the option to play Inferno Mode (aka Proud Mode) to repeat challenges for higher rewards.
This mode adds some versatility and strategizing to AoT, which somehow feels right at home in this universe despite the other linear modes of gameplay.
Another improvement Territory Recovery Mode brings to the game— stat bonuses are blissfully streamlined through a reward system called Camaraderie. With Camraderie, characters receive a stat point when they enter engagements together, not unlike social links, but with skill payout instead— use the points to increase Strength, Health, Concentration, etc. . Story Mode already provides players with a way to increase stats, but through a simple “training” method that isn’t guaranteed to work unless you’re willing to give up all your precious Wings of Freedom and pray for a “Great Success!”. Just about the only thing you can’t improve in Territory Recovery are the social links, but you can do that in most other modes by going on regular missions together.
Play Style & Controls
Attack on Titan is well within the hack-and-slash genre. There are varying levels of difficulty that effect titan strength and enemy frequency, which you can adjust from the main menu at any time. Even on Easy Mode, striking with the ODM gear requires precise timing. If you don’t have a lot of time to practice or decent hand-eye-coordination, Control Assistance is an absolute gift.
I’m not gonna lie— I don’t like to waste time getting to the core of the game, so I spent the majority of the time using it. If you think that makes me bad at video games, whatever. I’m a self-confessed clutz.
The assist basically eliminates that small window where you need to hit X again to strike up close to the titan. You simply toggle to your target with the right joystick, position for optimum physics (you need the right speed and distance), and hit X to anchor and strike the titan (or attacker). With the assistance mode on, you may initiate the final blow from wherever you are once anchored by simply pressing X once— your character will fly forward and automatically strike at the right time. The success of your attack depends on how you position yourself before you get close, which still requires some strategizing with fewer hand-eye-coordination skills.
For an added challenge, you can switch off Control Assistance at any time. You can also use your scope to launch long-distance strikes called Sneak Attack on targets, which does require hitting X again at the perfect time to strike, even with the assistance mode on. Some missions in Character Episode Mode require you to use Sneak Attack targeting, but even if you fail the first time, you can retry from the chapter checkpoint.
Though the game was a slow start for me getting the hang of the controls, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle quickly became my addiction. I ended up clocking in over 50 hours of gameplay before writing this, and I intend to go back to get 100% completion on all of the game modes. The added content makes the game a worthy successor to the acclaimed sequel, and I’m glad to have a way to revisit the world of Attack on Titan while waiting for the next anime season.
- Character writing and voice acting is on-point
- New weapons add versatility to the hack-and-slash formula
- Territory Recovery Mode adds new levels of strategy
- Control Assistance makes the game more accessible
- Toggling between game modes on the Main Menu is cumbersome
- Cut-scenes in Character Episode Mode aren't fully animated