God Eater 2 has been a long time coming here in the west. It originally released on PSP and Vita in Japan back in November 2013. God Eater 2: Rage Burst, an expanded re-release of the game, was then released in Japan last year in February 2015 on PlayStation Vita and PS4. Finally, this August we got our hands on the game.
So, has the wait been worth it?
In a way yes, and in another way no. God Eater is a hunting game, ala Monster Hunter, but it doesn’t have some of the features that helped Monster Hunter be king of the hunting games. The main thing, and while it may not sound that bad it haunted me the entire time I played, is how attacks work. You have a large monster, or Aragami as they’re known in God Eater, and a weapon that fits somewhere between big and stupidly big. You swing your weapon at the Aragamis head, which is its weak point, hoping to get some serious damage. However, your sword has clipped the Aragamis wing/leg/arm. As a result of this, the ~800 damage you were hoping to see has been replaced by only ~100 damage, and your sword just passes through the Aragamis head.
The issue is that attacks only hit the Aragami once. There are two big aspects of hunting games. The first is that your prey has a hefty slice of health and you have a time-limit of 30 minutes or more to beat it. The second is that monsters have weak points, and each part of the monster has its own health bar. When you reduce a parts health bar it breaks, netting you associated crafting resources. Due to the intricate designs of a lot of the Aragami in this game hitting the weak points, or going after one specific part to break, can be impossible at times.
Most of the time it’s fine, however, you can cause Aragami to fall. Which gives you a few seconds where they won’t move, the purpose of which is to hit those weak points hard and rack up a lot of damage. When you can’t do that because most of your swings clip a different body part first and then just pass through the weak point, it’s infuriating.
I touched on another problem I have as well, breaking different body parts. In Monster Hunter this serves a purpose beyond crafting materials. It’s a logical one too, break the body part and the monster can no longer use it. If a monster has a really dangerous tail swipe move, break the tail and it can’t do it anymore. This doesn’t apply in Rage Burst, and it really got me. The Aragami can pull off destructive attacks without telegraphing them much. When you do manage to break a part of the Aragami, like the tail, it just changes the model slightly. They don’t lose any of their move-sets.
Beyond those two issues, though, is a pretty fun game at times. It’s quite a bit faster than Monster Hunter games. The longest mission I’ve done took 25 minutes of its 40-minute time limit. The majority of missions haven’t even taken ten minutes. The feeling I got while playing actually resembled the feeling I get when playing Dynasty Warriors. It’s an odd feeling for a hunting game to evoke but it felt like it had that kind of pacing, just without the hordes of enemies.
Moving on, it should be noted that the music is fantastic. Listening to the music as I played was really quite enjoyable. I wish I could say the same of the story. The story failed to grab me at first because it felt too rushed and too uninvolved. It opens with you becoming a god eater who can fight Aragami and getting assigned to a team called the Blood Unit with two other new recruits. In short order, you get made Vice Captain, get another new recruit, and received praise for being a great team. When at that point in the game all you’ve done is go and kill a few of the weakest monster types in the game.
None of it feels worth anything because none of it feels like I earned it. You just have all this stuff thrown at you. It does pick up after this opening, though, becoming quite interesting towards the end of the original God Eater 2. There are some appearances from characters that were in the anime that aired back in 2015. Though it’s worth noting that although sharing looks and names some of them seem quite different in personality.
In terms of content, the game is certainly not lacking. I reached the ending of the original game in 35 hours. After this, the new content opens up and we gain the ability to ‘Blood Rage’, the titular Rage Burst mechanic. I find it a shame you don’t get this ability earlier. It’s one of the most interesting mechanics present in the game. When you have charged your weapon up you can trigger rage, which simply gives you an offer. Deal X amount of damage to this specific enemy and you’ll get 30 seconds of +100% damage. What’s interesting though is you can change these conditions depending on your equipment. Increased the damage required by 20%, but gain an extra 50% of damage in those 30 seconds.
It’s an interesting way to let players bet on their own ability, along with a healthy chunk of luck. The mechanic does serve to refresh the game slightly at the 35-40 hour mark. The added content for Rage Burst is no joke either. From the games trophy list, I can tell that there are seven story chunks once you’ve cleared the original game. Currently, I have only finished two of them, and my current playtime sits just shy of 71 hours. In terms of pure content for your money, Rage Burst couldn’t do better.
There is one final thing before I wrap it up, though. Something anyone should know before getting this is the cutscenes in the game have rather bad audio quality. It sounds like you’re listening to all the characters through a slightly fuzzy phone call. It’s also worth knowing that God Eater 2: Rage Burst and God Eater Resurrection both only contain the English voice tracks. Neither of these games has dual audio support.
Oh yes, that’s right. There is also God Eater Resurrection. I haven’t touch it yet, which is why I’m not talking about it. It is a remake of God Eater Burst, which is an expanded version of the original God Eater. Every copy of God Eater 2: Rage Burst includes a download code for God Eater Resurrection for free. This is a bundle of games that has enough content to keep you busy for a very very long time.
All in all, God Eater 2: Rage Burst is a solid hunting game. It’s nothing spectacular that will blow you off your feet, and at times it can get annoying with what feel like silly limitations. However, the fun of the second to second gameplay, chasing large monsters, turning your stupidly big sword into a stupidly big gun, and killing a giant monster called Caligula while you laugh about the name, was enough to put a big smile on my face. Also that damn soundtrack.
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC (Steam)
Release Date: August 30 2016
Copy provided by publisher