Short Version: It’s really good! I’ve never played a God Eater game before, but I still felt it easy to get into it. Initially, it felt impenetrable to me, but the game is really good at slowly acquainting you with the vast amounts of ways to customize yourself for battle. If you’re looking for a Monster Hunter-style game with a bit more style, then get this. The sound department could be better though…
Long Version: It’s almost impossible to review a game like God Eater 2: Rage Burst without having to constantly refer to Monster Hunter, but I’ll try to talk about this game’s own merits and how it sticks out from the typical Japanese hunting games out there without mentioning it too many times. This is actually my very first time ever playing a God Eater game, but I’ve dabbled with games like Freedom Wars and the PSP game Monster Hunter Freedom Unite before, so it wasn’t difficult for me to feel right at home as soon as I started. This is a game that might feel a little overwhelming at first, but by letting go of that fear you’ll realize that the game does nothing but to help you out.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst is an expanded HD port of the original PSP/PS Vita game, which takes place 3 years after the first one, in which humanity is tasked with eliminating these enormous monsters known as Aragami. Your customizable protagonist, along with a frequent flow of new characters, is determined to fight these enemies, one stereotypical anime cutscene at a time. The setup is fairly simple, and not a lot happens for a large amount of time, but it definitely starts to get more interesting later on. I only wished it didn’t take forever for cool stuff to actually happen.
During all this time, you meet a ton of different characters that can range from very interesting and pleasant to talk with or Jar Jar Binks in anime form that got his name changed to Romeo instead. Since the true story doesn’t really kick in until half-way through, most of your time will be spent in casual conversations that tend to go nowhere, comedy bits or some sort of motivating speech that I can barely hear because the sound quality of the voices are terrible and the background music is way too loud and inappropriate at it’s default level. I don’t know why, but all the voices on the PS4 version sound like they are coming out of an old radio, while I’ve seen videos of the PC version where they sound perfectly fine. This is a shame, since it’s constantly distracting and makes the cutscenes worse.
A lot of these cutscenes would actually be decent, had they not had such a dead execution to the voices. On top of that, no matter how simple the situation is, I always find myself struggling with the music, which always sounds like you’re about the meet God himself and punch him in the face before you take your throne as the one true god to bring eternal peace to all life forms of the universe, never to experience sadness ever again. This is funny, since I can barely remember any of the combat missions having music as overblown as the ones in the cutscenes.
Don’t worry though; the sound is probably the only bad thing that I have to say about the game. The rest of it is actually really good! From a game that I thought would be impossible to understand, it actually does a fantastic job at letting you play at your own pace and holding your hand until you feel comfortable with all of the different systems available. The game is so helpful to the point that one of the captain characters became a running joke for me, since he was always very insistent in talking to me about how guns work. There’s even a database that pretty much has everything you would ever want to know about anything at all, which is great for giving yourself a quick refresher course.
I think players will definitely need that, since there is a ton of stuff you can do to prepare for battle, but you don’t necessarily have to do all of it. There is a shop where you can purchase items, armor, etc., but you can also craft many things like weapons, upgrades and even different kinds of bullets for your projectile weapon. Bullets, in particular contain a fairly deep system in what I can only describe as the player essentially “programming” how the bullets will react, move and look. It can get so highly specific that I actually just decided to buy all of my bullets, rather than going through all of that. Of course, if you wish to craft, go ahead, but I don’t see myself making a lot of bullets, especially when I’m more of a close-up melee kind of player.
This is where the game really shines for me. It would’ve been bad if I was forced to understand this system, but I don’t have to, which makes the game more accessible for people like myself that would rather not pay attention to those complexities. Even in battle, I can fight mostly by walking up to enemies and mashing the attack button until they fall over, while occasionally healing. On the other hand, if I take the time to craft and upgrade my stuff, on top of figuring out what the best fighting style is for me, all missions become much more deep and rewarding when everything falls into place. This is especially true during later parts of a game where your team is much bigger and the monsters become much more challenging, creating battles that can become incredibly intense and nail biting. The last time I ever felt this way was when I was playing Valkyria Chronicles, staring at all my units as if they were Chess pieces awaiting my next move. Of course, it took me a while to get there, so I had loads of time to learn everything necessary for that kind of scenario.
Overall, I think this is a great game, all things considered. For something that’s suppose to be a port of a PSP game, it certainly doesn’t look or feel like it at all. It feels right at home with the PS4, with all of its style, color, depth, fun gameplay and complexity. For anybody that would love to see a Monster Hunter game for consoles again, this is probably the closest thing you’ll be able to find right now. Even though the sound could use some work and it takes too long for the story to get interesting, it is still a pretty solid package that will leave you playing for a long time.
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