There are still relatively few games in the same vein as Monster Hunter, namely games where you develop one character and go about slaying and killing giant monsters while improving your arms and armor throughout the game. One of the up and coming stars of this genre is the God Eater franchise. Originally launched in 2010 for the PSP, the God Eater series has seen three different unique entries, an anime series, and enhanced remasters for the PS4. This is the first time the series has been on the current gen, non-portable systems, and the enhancements are there for everyone to see. However, does the game stand up to its forebears?
God Eater 3
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: Playstation 4, Windows
Release Date: February 8, 2019
Players: 1-4 Players
God Eater is one of those unique spin off games from a more successful franchise that attempts to change up an established formula, and make it its own. For the most part, God Eater, and especially God Eater 3, succeeds fairly well.
I’m kind of a newcomer when it comes to this series, having started only a couple of years ago when I picked up God Eater Resurrection on the PS Vita. However, I’ve been a fan of the series since I first picked it up.
There are a few things that this series does, in my mind, a bit better than its big brother Monster Hunter, even if I can already hear the screams of “Heresy!” as I type this bit out.
One of the big things that God Eater 3 has over more recent titles in the “hunt giant monsters” genre of games is that it actually does try to deliver a coherent and complete story.
It’s not the greatest of stories and probably won’t win any awards for narrative, but for what it is and what it offers, I for one am glad that Bamco at least tries to offer something more within this genre of games. Realistically speaking, the narrative in God Eater 3 is a fairly standard anime style storyline.
For those unfamiliar with the series, in 2050, a group of researchers created a “super cell” that is not only autonomous, but can also combine with other similar cells to create monstrosities.
In order to combat these monsters, humanity used a variation of these cells to create a group of fighters called God Eaters. God Eaters use a form of weapon called a God Arc. These God Eaters are the only thing that can defeat Aragami, using their God Arcs to “devour” their cores.
In God Eater 3, a new threat arises, which further threatens humanities survival. This new threat, called Ashlands, are more or less a cloud of cells similar to that of Aragami that “devour” mankind in a way that the Aragami never could, while mostly ignoring its more monstrous cousins.
This is where God Eater 3 picks up. You create your own Adaptive God Eater, or an AGE, that uses newly enhanced God Arcs. This is how the game explains the dual gauntlet required by God Eaters and introduces new abilities and weapon types.
AGEs can survive in the Ashlands where even normal God Eaters would be killed in a short amount of time. Normal humans can’t even survive on the surface without protection for more than 10 minutes at a time.
This is one point of contention that I have with the story of this game. The term “Ashland”, seems to not only refer to the new threat, but also to the topography where this new threat resides.
So the Ashlands are not only the main threat of the game, but also the areas where this threat is located. It can become a bit confusing as you play through the game to keep both terms straight when the various characters are talking about different versions of this threat.
The game is broken up into different chapters and each chapter, while constantly moving forward to the games ultimate conclusion, also has self contained “arcs”.
For instance, chapter 4 basically has the group of God Eaters hunting down a traitor to Gleipnir, the defacto leader of humanity in Europe.
This arc goes on for several missions, then comes to a fairly quick conclusion. This, beyond the confusion of some of the terms and a retconing of previous games events, is another major point of contention when it comes to this games storytelling.
Several story segments have a big lead up but a conclusion that is much too quick to really give a satisfying conclusion, with story segments coming fast and furious after spending several tough missions just getting to them with little story in-between.
Although, like I said earlier, at least the God Eater series attempts a story, which I do really enjoy. There’s actually a reason for the player to go out and hunt these giant monsters and upgrade their arms and armor.
To hunt down those rare drops and get stronger. I appreciate this, even if at times the story is generic, occasionally convoluted, or has quick conclusions to segments.
Gameplay wise, God Eater 3 builds upon previous entries of the series and expands on what was offered before, while dropping certain previous aspects. Gone are the various blood arts of God Eater 2, now replaced with Burst Arts.
You can also no longer choose the character that gives you information during the current mission, instead relying on just one character that you can’t upgrade. God Eaters are now equipped with 2 armlets, showing off their stronger powers and unique new abilities.
This doesn’t really offer a gameplay change, but is meant to be more of a story point, and to help differentiate Adaptive God Eaters from other members who don’t have their abilities.
Most of the returning weapons play in a very similar style to how they appeared in the previous games. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try out all the different weapons and combinations of them, focusing more on the newer weapons that make their appearance in God Eater 3.
My favorite of the two was by far the Heavy Moon weapon. I’m very partial to giant axe type weapons, and while the Heavy Moon class of weapons generally appears as a giant chakram, it can transform into an axe and deal some impressive damage.
The other of the new weapon classes is the Biting Edge class; a form of Dual Blades that can change in to a glaive-type weapon. These new weapons offer up the fastest weapon speed in the game and can allow for some neat weapon combinations to be performed.
Not only are they fast, but in Glaive Form, the more you attack and connect with your attacks, the stronger your attacks become. There are several more gameplay enhancements that GE3 offers up, like burst arts and burst art augments.
The player can level up and unlock these augments depending on how they play, and can switch up arts to run with in battle. All told, fans of the series and of the genre will enjoy most of the additions that will be found in this newest installment of the franchise.
Graphically, GE3 is superior to its predecessors, owing to the fact GE3 is designed for PC and PS4, rather than also trying to be able to run on the PS Vita. The maps not only seem to be larger, but there is a noticeable increase in detail and frame rates compared to other iterations of the series.
Unfortunately, the increase in graphics doesn’t really translate much to the environments outside of a few of the maps. Players will be participating in a lot of fights in several of the same areas over and over again, so there’s a distinct lack different locals for the player to visit.
Additionally, while there are several new Aragami for players to thwack on and defeat, many of which look very impressive with new animations, you will still see several from previous games.
There are a few visual upgrades to these monsters, but it would have been very nice had Bandai-Namco followed Capcom in going with more new and unique monsters with the first game to be built for newer systems.
Really though, it was very nice seeing the game run smoother with more details in each map.
Finally, the audio. Players will be able to choose from several different voices for their custom God Eater, with a wide range of vocal options. However, it does seem as if my favorite voice and line for females has been removed.
I won’t go much into this segment of the review, but I will say this: during the more important Aragami fights, namely against the Ash Aragami which are a breed of new monsters, a set of pretty kick butt Japanese rock tracks that add a certain “epicness” to these fights that I greatly enjoyed.
Since players will need to go back to several different fights in order to fully upgrade their arms and also to gather up enough materials to craft different armors, having a good sound track for the bigger fights is much appreciated.
All in all, God Eater 3 is a very good pick up for players who enjoy action adventure/RPG games, especially ones that follow in the footsteps of grand daddy Monster Hunter.
While God Eater 3 may not reach the lofty heights of the progenitor of the genre, it still reaches and does hit several high notes, making it an unique and fun jaunt that shouldn’t be passed up.
The story might be lacking in a few places and the new hardware might not have been taken full advantage of, the journey through the game is not one to be missed and well worth the price point at which it launched.
If you enjoy hunting down large monsters, taking their pieces to upgrade arms and armor, and are a big fan of anime and anime style games, by all means, head on out and pick up this gem.
God Eater 3 was reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro using a review copy provided by Bandai Namco. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here