God Eater is a mission-based action role-playing game with a heavy, post-apocalyptic anime aesthetic. Inspired by the Monster Hunter series, it features huge, transformable weapons, a vast amount of customisation and hours of fairly repetitive content. For the first time, God Eater 2 comes West in the form of “Rage Burst”. The refinements are shared with the pack-in bonus of the original God Eater remastered (as “Resurrection”) if purchased brand new.
For a game that visually depicts a post-apocalyptic world being ravaged by monsters, God Eater 2 is surprisingly vibrant. Make no mistake though: despite its presence on Playstation 4, this game is portable by nature. This is a PSP game brought to Vita and PS4.
In contrast to the simple fantasy setting of Monster Hunter, Shift’s “God Eater” is thoroughly Japanese animation in aesthetic. Attractive young people wield giant weapons that transform in to other giant weapons. I’m not rolling my eyes here by the way. I kind of love that stuff. There’s a load of outfits to craft, giving your created character a more personalised feel. That’s always a plus, whether you’ve created a man or woman.
At first, the monster design seemed repetitive. These “Aragami” came in the typical “this colour means this element” palette swap. Get deep enough in, however, and you’ll start seeing some really interesting designs. Going from hulking mech-gorillas to a mutated Magikarp, not to mention the ridiculous boss monsters. I was really impressed with the designs of the enemies. Even the late-game palette swaps can surprise with hybrid enemies appearing on occasion.
There are very few battle locations, in which the missions take place. They’re also fairly small and the camera can cause some issues, especially in its default close-up setting. From what I understand, the majority of the areas are rehashes of the first game. I can’t speak to that myself but, if true, that’s a shame.
In many ways, God Eater 2 appears to be more of an expansion. A good expansion, but an expansion all the same. When you label a game “2”, that sequel assignment comes with expectations. Expectations I can’t assuredly state have been met for fans. I, as a newcomer, feel like I’m playing a large, cohesive whole within these games, so I’m happy, but veteran God Eaters might not feel the same way. This may feel like something of a rehash if you’re familiar with the previous game.
The voice actors are familiar and memorable, in full English dub. To an extent that shocked me, to be honest. The battle-ready horns that sound as you prepare for your next mission couldn’t be more appropriate. And then there’s the orchestral rendition of an important song laid over the ending credits, with hauntingly beautiful vocals.
It’s because of the aforementioned high points that the lows hit so damn low. From punches thrown in cut scenes not making an impactful thud (some even falling silent, to oddly muffled voice acting suddenly shifting to a clearer performance. It’s so apparent on the Playstation 4 that you’ll either accept it or put the game down.
That aside, the acting quality is what I’ve come to appreciate. Bandai Namco deliver on the localisation once more. It’s just a shame about those quality drops. Some characters sound as if they were recorded on Skype, whilst others seem professionally done.
The world suffers at the hands of Aragami: mutated monsters set on devouring all life. These Aragami are comprised of mass “Oracle Cells”: the cause of their want to destroy. Aragami are unaffected by conventional weaponry and thus considered invincible, until Fenrir created the hybrid weapons known as “God Arcs”, as well as testing to choose who could wield the oracle cell-infested arsenal. Those that pass the test are called “God Eaters” and their job is to keep the people safe from Aragami. (Note that it’s Aragami, not an Origami. There are no paper airplane threats to the planet).
Three years have passed since the events of God Eater. Aboard the mobile fortress Friar, experiments are conducted in an effort to find future members of the Blood Unit: an elite force tasked with the elimination of Aragami threats, going beyond that of regular God Eaters. As the latest to pass the Blood compatibility test, our protagonist (male or female) is introduced to the newcomer Nana Kozuki and veteran Captain Julius Visconti of Blood.
As of late, the red rain has begun to fall across the Far East. This rain brings about the black plague: a death sentence to those that contract it. The red rain cannot be fought, and even God Eaters of all kinds are at risk if exposed to it. Thus, development of God Arc Soldiers proceeds, with two opposing sides as to whether they should be manned or un-manned and automated for battle. Politics, friendship, huge monsters that are killed be huge weapons that transform in to huge guns: God Eater 2 clearly has a lot going on.
God Eater 2 is a deep game with simple battle mechanics. As an action role-playing game, there’s a lot of button mashing to pull off simple combinations and the occasional side-step or jump to re-position.
At the core, there is a hub area. Here, the created player character will accept missions, customise their loadout and run off to hunt Aragami.
There’s a standard health meter, an oracle resource meter that governs bullet availability and other special techniques, as well as stamina that determines how long you can run or swing your weapon. Nothing out of the ordinary on resource management.
For those seeking to main-line the game for the story alone, story missions are only locked behind brief conversations with people in the hub. The player will often be directed to the person by way of the Operator at the front desk in casual conversation. In doing so, the player can undertake story quests (labelled as such under the “Normal Missions” section) as they become available quite quickly. There are still a lot of hours buried in there, and if the player isn’t doing a bit of side stuff, later enemies can pack a serious punch.
There are three main pieces of equipment: Weapon, Gun and Shield. Support equipment can enhance other abilities, and this system takes a bit of study to get used to. Let’s stay focused on the main parts for now.
The sheer variety of weapons is cool in itself. Short blades, Long Blades, Buster Blades, Charge Spears, Variable Scythes, Boost Hammers, Shotguns, Snipers, Assault Guns, Canons – it’s a treasure trove. All of these weapon types also have various Blood Arts: special Blood Unit abilities that can only be equipped one at a time, but will fundamentally change an attack type. For example, my favourite is the Charge Spear with the Aerial-based “Skyfish” Blood Art technique. It’s an unrelenting barrage of high-powered attacks that includes a brief shield and an evasion move built in. For me, it provided an all-purpose assault on most enemies’ weak points. Add to that my Shotgun and I’m a close-range monster.
When you consider the four elements: Blaze, Freeze, Spark and Divine that also determine how effective the weapons are against enemies (weapons can also have no elemental attribute), there’s so much juggling to be done. I could go in to so much more detail, but it’d take all day. Just know the possibilities are massive, but it’s all about finding the right weapon style and blood art combination for you.
God Eater is a deep game. Simply put, it’s a dated experience visually, but the combat is fun once you’ve found a weapon style that suits you.
The story takes a while to pick up, but when it does it really gets going. That said, I’d suggest playing God Eater Resurrection before God Eater 2 if you want the full narrative experience.
From a pure value-for-money perspective, I don’t see why you wouldn’t buy God Eater 2 Rage Burst. Still, it’s an acquired taste, but it’s far more lenient than its Capcom-made inspiration and suits me far better due to its ease of access and bite-size missions. God Eater 2 is perfectly at home on the Vita, but it’s fine on PS4 too, occasional audio issues aside. I’d say give it a go.