by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
The world needs more Monster Hunter style games, and that’s where Bandai Namco come in. This is their first console-specific entry of the God Eater series, with previous editions being led to the PSP and the PS Vita. The God Eater world itself is an interesting one. It’s very post-apocalyptic anime, where this Aragami have overrun the world, and humanity is all but doomed. There are humans that can wield the powerful God Arc weapons, and can fuse in some ways with the Aragami. These people are mighty, and the only hope for humanity. So, humanity, in their infinite wisdom treats them like prisoners and slaves in many cases. That’s pretty sound, accurate writing if you ask me.
God Eater 3 is very much like the Monster Hunter series, where you and your team are dropped into a relatively small map, and have specific goals in mind – defeat this/these monsters. They range from “small and kind of power” to “Oh God where are my bones, why are they in the street, why can I see sound”. Fortunately, the AI teammates seem to be pretty smart, and you can also play this online with friends, which can make for some really exciting moments. You create your own God Eater as well, picking from the anime tropes that suit you best, and though you start with the dual swords, you can very quickly swap out to a nice long list of other weapons.
You have the Swords (Knife, Blade, Buster, Dual Swords), Hammer/Maul, Lance, Variant Scythe, and the Ring. The Dual Swords are new, the “Biting Edge” style, as is the Crescent Moon/Ring. They are flashy and a great deal of fun to use. The new ranged weapon is also the one I use a lot. It’s the “Ray” Gun or the “Laser” Gun. The longer you shoot someone, the more damage it does, and it’s very satisfying. It can also be shot while running around, which is another plus. Personally, I use the Variant Scythe the most, but the Biting Edge dual blades are a lot of fun. You can improve these, craft new/better versions with crafting mats found in the areas you explore, and also equip them with skills. As you use a weapon, you’ll gain mastery over it, and there is a host of Burst Arts attached to each weapon. These skills are activated in combat, and can really turn the tide when you need it most.
Combat will feel very similar to Monster Hunter. You have your basic attacks, special/burst attacks, the ability to swap out to your gun, can block, use your dash jump to get out of sticky situations. The maps are again, very small, especially for the average 40-minute timer per map. You can just mash attacks if you want, but this game does have a fairly solid combo system, where you can link your regular attacks into the Burst Arts and really show off just how good you are at the game. You will also have handy items to pop in case you get blasted by a monster, which happened to me more often than I’d like to admit. This felt slightly easier than Monster Hunter though – maybe that’s just that this system worked better for me. Either way, it wasn’t insanely challenging for me. The difficulty ramps at a nice steady pace.
You could probably just mash your way through most of the fights with auto-attacks and the occasional swap to your gun of choice, but that’s no fun! You also have an incredible dash ability where you put your shield in front of you and do a leaping/running dash. It’s useful to get close to a monster, to get away, or to set up attacks/distract the monster so your team can get attacks in. The tutorial isn’t very long, but it’s through. I also love that you have team-up abilities, called Engage. When the conditions are met, you can hit L2+R2, and as long as the two of you are near each other you get the benefits of these abilities. You go through a few battles to get you ready to go, and since most of the battles are short, it won’t feel like you’ve spent half of your game time simply going through tutorials. I should also point out that in addition to the Main Story, the Optional Missions (which are divided by ranks) there’s also Assaults. Assaults are wild 8-person multiplayer-only missions, where you have just five minutes to get the job done. These are incredible, stressful, but oh so exciting.
The story isn’t the best if I can be honest with you guys. I enjoyed it personally, but I’m a sucker for melodramatic anime tropes. I can enjoy that, but it’s not for everyone. While the story can be a bit of a drag, the combat and gameplay is what makes God Eater 3 shine, and makes it a worthy purchase even if you don’t care for the story. It has all of the anime tropes you could ask for – the adorable Loli girl, the gruff girl who keeps people at a distance, and the boss with the titanic breasts. Even if it’s not the greatest story ever written, I personally enjoyed it, and like seeing this doomed, awful world that the Aragami has overrun. Not everyone is a jerk, and some people have learned to work together for the common good. I do wish the stages were more widely varied though. It always felt like I was in the same broken-down cityscape.
God Arcs, God Eaters, Ash Aragami: 4/5:
I sincerely loved God Eater 3 for what it was – an intense demon/monster fighting extravaganza. Every weapon felt fun to use, the character designs were nice, the stages, while small were gorgeous, and the monsters designs were unique. I wish there were more monster designs, but I suppose that’s what updates are for! As soon as you defeat the required monsters, the game gets ready to punt you back to your HQ, so I recommend if you can, running away whenever possible to get materials. They will come in handy when you get new weapon blueprints (percentage based after missions are complete). The game itself is not insanely long (about ~25 hours for the Main Story I believe), but it’s still very much worth a purchase. It’s fun to play with friends, and it has some of the best combat I’ve experienced in a long time. It can feel very redundant doing stages over and over to try and get blueprints, and I often felt like I was just doing the same thing again and again. Even with that, it’s definitely the best non-Monster Hunter Monster Hunting game I’ve played yet.
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.