Koei Tecmo and Omega Force's Attack on Titan 2 got a major content update this summer to add two new game modes to the RPG. Attack on Titan 2 is based on the anime, rather than the manga, and the Final Battle content update brings the game's story up to date with the third season of the anime. The two new game modes include the Character Episode mode, which gives players a pretty straight adaptation of the anime's third season, and the Territory Recovery Mode, which allows players to play around in the game world without the limits of the anime. Essentially, Territory Recovery Mode is a hybrid strategy mode that ignores some of the major revelations that come up during the third season, and focuses on recovering the lost territory behind Wall Maria.
Honestly, Territory Recovery Mode is probably my favorite as it lets you take control of the narrative in a way that's satisfying and far more straight-forward than the anime and manga.
The Final Battle update also brings in five new playable characters: Nifa, Zeke, Kenny, Caven, and Floch. It also gives players access to the thunder spears and anti-personnel omni-directional mobility gear which were featured in the anime. However, unlike the anime, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle's anti-personnel gear is effective against titans as well as humans.
For those who want to relive the third season of the anime, the Character Episode mode mostly sticks to the plot of season 3, with a bit of extra content thrown in as well. Early on in the Character Episode mode, players will be able to take part in a field-test of the Thunder Spear weapons, as well as an upgraded form of the anti-personnel gear. They'll also face off against Kenny in the streets of Paradis, because of course you do.
Unlike the base game's Story Mode, Character Episodes put you in control of a specific character for each episode, so you'll be switching through the cast based on what the story needs at the moment. Which means you might want to be a bit familiar with how they all handle before hopping into the Character Episodes, as each character has different stats. Granted, the overall handling of each character is relatively the same.
As is the case with the base game, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is absolutely geared for fans of the anime. It's got all the fanservice moments you'd expect, allows you to play as any of the characters featured in the show, and is built around the idea of immersing the player in the story of Attack on Titan. Which is great if you love the anime and manga, but not so great if you aren't a fan of the series. There are some odd moments, like when you tell Reiner, Berthold, or Annie to take down a titan and they shift into their titan forms despite being active members of the Scout Legion. However, overall the game has done a decent job of translating the anime and manga.
The real problem comes for players who don't like Attack on Titan. Because while the gameplay is incredibly satisfying (it's very cathartic to just murder a bunch of giant cannibals), so much of the game revolves around the plot and lore of the show. And you can't just hop into the new modes either. You need to start a save file in Story Mode in order to unlock both new game modes as well as playable characters, which can be frustrating if you just want to get to the new content, and is a drag if you don't care about the story at all.
Now, the gameplay is far from perfect despite being viscerally satisfying. The areas of the Story Mode and Territory Recovery Mode that leave the player wandering around the town of Trost, through the Military Headquarters, or even the former Scout Regiment HQ, are filled with janky forced-camera perspectives that make navigation a pain. The character creation system is weirdly basic, with most options being ripped straight from the existing NPC character models, though it will let you create a custom military uniform by changing the colors of your jacket, pants, gear straps, and boots. You can even create your own branch of the military, complete with name and insignia, in Territory Recovery mode.
The omni-directional mobility gear is one of the defining features of the Attack on Titan series, and it is also the best feature of the game. Being able to fling yourself around rooftops and carve through cannibals is the game's highest point. The anti-personnel gear is similar in function, except that the controls switch to more standard shooter controls and you'll lose use of one gun by staying tethered. Which switches up the gameplay, as players will want to break their tether lines at the apex of a swing so they can fire their guns while free-falling.
Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is not the best game I've played this year, but it's also far from the worst. It is, however, the game that surprised me the most. Because I actually kind of like it, despite being mostly ambivalent toward the anime series. Sure, I know the story of Attack on Titan, but I'd hardly qualify as a fan. So the fact that I can find things I like about this game, despite its heavy reliance on the base IP, is a huge point in Omega Force's favor/