God Eater 2: Rage Burst is a simultaneously interesting and yet generic beast that, for most, would probably fall under the banner of a Monster Hunter clone. And whilst I don’t think that assumption is entirely unjustified, I do feel as though God Eater 2 exhibits enough of its own original ideas and mechanics to make playing it a worthwhile experience for those who appreciate or want to get into this type of game.
The barrier for entry here feels significantly lower than any Monster Hunter title I’ve played. It’s overall a more simple and easy to grasp game that; whilst struggling to convey all of its mechanics successfully, does feel like a good jumping off point for those who want to hunt monsters without keeping a wiki page open at all times.
If you’ve ever played a game in the Monster Hunter genre then you’ll know that you spend a great deal of time in combat. Thankfully, combat is where God Eater shines brightest.
It’s clear from the start that there are a decently impressive amount of weapons and weapon categories. These range from genre favourite buster swords and giant hammers to shotguns and big blaster cannon thingies. There are multiple bullet types which alter the type of damage you can inflict and the majority of weapons are diverse in their functionality and movesets but most importantly are enjoyable to use.
That being said there is an initial simplicity to combat as you may well find yourself employing the same tactics over and over again. However, this is soon remedied thanks by in large to the learning of blood arts. These are ultimately skills that can be unlocked more often than not through repeated use of specific attacks. These blood arts range from additional combat moves to slight passive buffs and they certainly help to at least give the illusion of depth to a game that would otherwise offer little to genre aficionados.
It has a very familiar gameplay loop of going out onto the battlefield, defeating some monsters and then returning home to craft a few pieces of cool new gear from your spoils. Along the way, you get to meet and chat with a host of side characters all with their own one single character trait. There’s Nana who really likes food, Julius who’s terribly stern and then there’s the generic posh one who’s more often than not an insufferable twat.
Along the way, you get to meet and chat with a host of side characters all with their own one single character trait. There’s Nana who really likes food, Julius who’s terribly stern and then there’s the generic posh one who’s more often than not an insufferable twat.
Unfortunately, God Eater 2s origins as a handheld title are staggeringly apparent from the first in-game cutscenes, as you’re greeted with some of the most inconsistent audio I’ve heard on PlayStation 4. Said cutscenes really do stand out as being particularly bad, whilst combat sound effects and music are passable in terms of audio quality. Nevertheless, it’s an odd problem for an otherwise mostly solid port to have.
In terms of voice acting, it’s all very standard stuff, from the rather irritating Romeo who sounds like he’s narrating an advertiser-friendly Minecraft let’s-play, to apparent Glaswegian Gilbert who manages to come off as an even less enthused Kanji for a fair amount of the game. Some will find the characters to be tolerable whilst others will clock out as soon as any of them open their mouth. I can’t imagine anyone is going into God Eater 2 with high expectations in terms of character development and plot, but the game does feature more of that stuff than a lot of its peers, so it’s at least worth pointing out.
Graphically, the well done character models almost always looked out of place in amongst the unfortunately bland environments. What makes this an even bigger issue is just how often the game reuses these maps. There is the odd mission where you’ll feel reinvigorated by the offering of a new type of environment but sadly, even some of the more unique ones such as “Valley of the Blue Ice” do begin to lose their lustre after repeated trips.
Perhaps one of my favourite things about God Eater 2 are the monsters themselves. These creatures vary in terms of size and threat, but they’re almost all well designed and interesting to fight. It’s no real surprise that this is the case seeing as how they’re pivotal to the gameplay experience as a whole, but it’s certainly still worth praising.
Sadly, some of the good work done by the solid combat mechanics is hampered by the often iffy collision detection and the obnoxious HUD which is not only ugly but also covers up far too much of the screen, leaving it to feel unnecessarily crowded when in the heat of battle. Oddly enough, the game is also capped at 30 fps on PlayStation 4, which for something as seemingly undemanding as this gives off a strong whiff of poor optimisation.
That being said I wouldn’t say this was a bad port as to me a bad port is Arkham Knight on PC or Skyrim on PS3 and this certainly isn’t that. It’s also nice that the game features cross-save functionality even if you obviously still have to buy both Vita and PS4 versions separately.
All things considered, it’s a fine game that I’m sure a small audience will get a lot out of, but anyone jumping in hoping for a game that rivals Monster Hunter should perhaps adjust their expectations first. A lot of the problems mentioned here could be more easily forgiven if you were to play it on a handheld which perhaps isn’t the optimal way to experience it technically but I could really see it fitting in amongst the likes of Freedom Wars on Vita, more so than on any home console.
However, I played it on the PlayStation 4 so I have to assess how well it works as an experience on that system and as a PlayStation 4 title it’s a tad underwhelming despite how solid a lot of the gameplay is. But, if you’re in the market for a Monster Hunter- lite and you can accept the aforementioned caveats, then I’d have no reason to assume that you wouldn’t get a fairly substantial amount of enjoyment out of it.