God Eater has not long been over in the West but it has already found a pretty large following. With the successful embedment of the Monster Hunter franchise, God Eater 2: Rage Burst and its predecessors have been set up for success with their various similarities but this does by no means make it a copy.
God Eater is set in Japan after a post-apocalyptic event which sees the rise of huge monsters known as Aragami. You play a character who is part of an elite faction within the God Eater system known as the Blood faction (the the most creative name), the main source of your superior nature comes from a new set of abilities called Blood Arts, which differ depending on the type of weapon you use making it more like a different set of skill trees.
Further Blood Arts are unlocked via killing bigger enemies with that weapon and building up a gauge called Awakening. Once awakened you can equip your arts that come in the form of both passive and active abilities such as, an extra attack that does significant damage on a downed enemy or recovering health when the attack hits an Aragami. Adding the Blood Arts was a wise decision as it adds more depth to the melee based combat, something these games can struggle from and feel a little bland otherwise by hitting the same action and watching the same attacks over and over with no real benefit. With the skill trees for each weapon, players are able to focus on play styles they want and get the benefit in battle without losing access to other playstyles along the way, simply switch to a new weapon and you are off.
When out in the field, you are apart of a 4 man team where you can choose to play with 3 other AI controlled characters or online with your friends. As someone who has played some Monster Hunter in the past, God Eater seems to be a much more, less intimidating game and this is backed up by a control scheme which feels more fluid and reactive. Attacks are chained together nicely to form combos and evading and blocking feel much more natural and easier to pull of in the heat of battle, something which I found difficult in the Monster Hunter series.
The various Blood Art abilities are fun to use but can take some time to get used to. One of the most enjoyable experiences is being able to seamlessly swap from close range to long range and have an arsenal of different bullets to use depending on the situation at hand. This weapon type swapping brings back memories with Bloodborne of being able to strategically choose your combat style depending on your needs, firing from a distance can be crucial to gain that little time you need to recover stamina or use an item against a massive foe.
If you are looking for an amazing story, God Eater has a story but it could be better. Much like the competition, the story has never been the central nature of these titles; combat mechanics, crafting and killing are the three pillars for the game. God Eater: Rage Burst does have some story but is filtered in between missions by cutscenes, giving you small glimpses into the characters you meet which is a nice distraction but the narrative is pretty light.
It can also be a drag, when you are forced to interact with all the characters to progress the story having to make sure to speak to each one before continuing. Having the story is a bonus but it does show its Japanese roots, with one character having cat ears, hots pants, big boobs and literally no top (she is also a little airheaded). More could be done in the narrative and character development department.
Graphically, Rage Burst has some nicely drawn character models *cough* boobs *cough* and the monsters are done well, but when out in the field you will usually come up against a lot of the same models in previous missions with usually poorly made textures. It is a shame to see the outside world feeling empty and dull when the characters and others parts of the game are done so well. Whether or not this is because the title has roots in the PS Vita with limited resources and things have been ported over, it would not have been amiss to bring it all up a notch for the PS4.
In terms of performance though, it is a massive improvement. With more hardware available to the game God Eater 2: Rage Burst takes full advantage of the increased horsepower, feeling smooth with no visible signs of slowdown during the monster battles or anywhere else in the world.
Another big aspect of the game is crafting, something you are taught about very early in. Your character’s progression is all about the gear you are wearing, making any tough battles sometimes be a showcase of your lack of maintenance with your levelling equipment. At the end of each mission you are given three Abandoned God Arcs which act as a way to get new skills into the Arc you are using. While exploring, you’ll also discover a range of different materials such as silver, gold, and a range of crystals etc which will be dropped from downed enemies while using your Devour ability where your Arc turns into an Aragami eating monster. This is where these materials can be can be crafted into new weapons, power ups and shields, finding certain materials can be located in certain areas while others can be purchased in the shop on your base.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst is a great game to makes its way to the West on PlayStation 4 and Playstation Vita but the graphics could be much better to suit the power available to the PS4. The combat is smooth and really easy to get into, while having the depth you want from a co-op game, allowing players to customise their character to match their play, with crafting to keep you coming back over and over to improve yourself to take down more Aragami with new gear. I just hope the next title in the franchise makes it way over to the UK more quickly and they improve the graphics and storyline to make the title really shine above the rest.