A good while back I bought a little game for the Wii called Monster Hunter Tri. After playing it for a bit I got tired of collecting bits of twig and not doing the monster hunting the title promised and left it on the wayside. Then one week I decided to put in my all and finished Monster Hunter Tri and came to find what made the series so appealing. Though I stopped keeping up with the game because every time I bought one there would be a Monster Hunter slightly better edition released and the games are so much of a time sink that I can never get around to playing them. Now you may be wondering just why am I talking about Monster Hunter when this is a God Eater review? Well that’s simple, God Eater wears its inspiration inspiration on it’s sleeve. To the degree that I was ready to label it babies first Monster Hunter within its first third of missions. For reference the copy I am reviewing is God Eater Resurrection steam version which comes free when you buy God Eater 2 on steam.
Thanks to my experience with the God Eater anime I walked into this game expecting absolutely nothing from the story. That was most certainly a good call. This story is just as bland and forgettable as the anime portrayed it so in that regard I guess it was a faithful adaption. Which isn’t really helped when you have a silent self insert protagonist. There was only one point I became somewhat invested in the story and that had to do with a girl who pretty much had the personality of Asuka Langley Soryu but was hit with a serious case of PTSD. Helping her work through it was a rather good part of the story for me but I may be projecting as she has the upward character arc that Asuka so desperately needed. Other than that I found it hard to really feel the levity of this world on the brink of destruction by aragami when everyone in it dresses like they came out of a cosplay convention. Forgive me but it’s a little hard to take the situation seriously when the woman giving me missions is wearing no top besides a jacket zipped down with no bra and pants that show off the sides of her thighs. I feel a serious disconnect as what she is wearing doesn’t seem to reflect her no nonsense personality at all. Everyone else is a bunch of standard stereotypes as well with Souma(Actually had to look up his name because I forgot it) being the worst offender as he is standard emo all the way. The presentation isn’t much to look at either seeing as this is a remastered PSP game and no matter how prettied up it is you can see the signs of it’s portable origin. The first part of the game is essentially about teaching a human aragami to love and stopping the plans of the evil director who you can pretty much guess is evil by the time he opens his mouth. After that it becomes a hunt to find a former mentor who goes missing and lastly just some powerful Aragami shows up and you have to kill it. The story tries to tug at you but I found myself purely apathetic which is funny because the way I designed my avatar it looks like he gave about as much of a damn as I did. I will say that the weird sense of style does give you a lot of customisation when it comes to your avatar. So naturally I fulfilled my dream of hunting monsters dressed like a pimp with a tiny top hat and a scythe.
There may be some confusion over God Eater games due to the naming sense. I know I wasn’t certain if God Eater Resurrection was the first game or something else entirely. Let me put things simply, there are only two God Eater games so far. The other titles are mostly like expansion packs for those original games. In these games you fight through missions which are separated by difficulty levels. For example, first you go through the Difficulty 1 story missions to unlock Difficulty 2 missions, then go through 2 to unlock 3 and so forth. There are a total of 15 difficulty levels though the main story ends at difficulty 13. DIfficulty 1-6 is the missions of the original God Eater game. Difficulty 7-10 is the missions from its second expansion, God Eater Burst. And Difficulty 11-15 is from its last expansion, God Eater Resurrection. In total there are 100 story missions to finish the main game with several extra missions you can use to gather materials or just play for fun. As a warning, just like Monster Hunter, this game is a serious time sink. My final playtime clocked in at about 48 hours. You could likely finish Dark Souls in that time frame instead and get a more worthwhile experience.
Now while God Eater holds a large amount of similarities in regards to how it plays and it’s general mechanics, it does in fact improve on a number of things that bugged me about Monster Hunter. For one it managed to include one thing that to this day is not present in a Monster Hunter game and I cannot come up with any good reason as to why that is. For God Eater has a lock on camera. Yes, Monster hunter has had numerous versions and upgrades and yet…still no lock on camera. That was a major deal breaker for me in that game where I spend more time fighting the camera than I did fighting the monsters. The game wastes no time in getting you fighting monsters as it isn’t long before you are taking on big beasts whereas in Monster hUnter it always makes a point to have you collecting mushrooms and fishing before you do any actual monster hunting. Another thing is that combat in God Eater is much faster, pushing into hack and Slash territory. Monster Hunter tends to have a delay on attacks which is there to encourage tactics but does make it feel like I am dragging my character through mud. Then there is the Burst system which is by far the best addition to the gameplay. For you see you can gain a temporary buff when you perform a devour move on an enemy which makes you slightly faster, stronger and can take bigger hits. As longer as you keep performing devour moves on a enemy then you can keep the buff going as long as you want. However devour moves leave you fairly open for counterattack making it crucial to time them carefully. The boost isn’t all that significant but I highly recommend playing God Eater with the intent to keep burst mode going as long as possible. Because it makes the gameplay of God Eater so much more fun. WIth the burst system battles in God Eater become visceral fast slugfests that can really have you on edge and having a damn fun time. Taking into account these factors I would say that speaking purely mechanically, God Eater is better than Monster Hunter.
That is of course speaking purely mechanically. Oh God Eater has it’s fair share of problems and one of these things has to do with it’s length. There are about 100 story missions and yet not counting pallete swaps, only about 25 different types of aragami. So the battles tend to grow tiresome when you are fighting a Blog Camlann for the 15th time with the only difference being that this one is yellow. Yeah you certainly will find yourself fighting the same monsters over and over again. What makes this annoying is this game’s method of increasing challenge. As you get to the later difficulties, namely 9 and beyond, you will find that you are facing the same monsters only with bigger health bars and that they hit harder. That big health bar you have at the top of the screen begins to mean pretty much nothing when monsters can deplete it all in two strikes. Some even in one. You can mitigate this somewhat by upgrading your shield when in turn upgrades your general defense. But even upgrading that fully will not stop monsters killing you in two hits. This gets even more frustrating when they start putting you up against two aragami at the same time and it’s clear this battle system was not designed with fighting multiple opponents in mind. What the game wants you to do is divide and conquer, therefore defeating one aragami before the other joins in. Aragami have attacks that have no real wind up or warning so no matter how good you get there are simply moves you won’t be able to defend against. However the area’s are so small that when you start fighting one Aragami the other is bound to come running to join in. When I reached the end of Difficulty 6 I was ready to give this game this game a solid 8/10. After Difficulty 10 I was well burned out and would have given it a 7/10. When i finished difficulty 13 I was well and truly tired of the game and made a mental note to move it’s sequel further down my backlog. This game is frankly far too long for it’s own good and that shows that the expansions hurt it more than it helped it.
I have mixed feelings when coming off this game. In the early game I quite enjoyed it but it stayed well over it’s welcome. I enjoyed the level of challenge I got in the midgame but found it got far too cheap as the game went on. There is fun in gathering materials and learning monsters moves so that you can fight them better. But the sheer amount of times you have to fight each monster is ridiculous and the way challenge climbs as you upgrade your weapons makes it hard to feel like you are getting stronger. As an introduction to Monster Hunter Styled games it’s not a bad introduction but I highly recommend only going to Difficulty 6 or Difficulty 10 if need be. Everything after 10 is not worth it story wise and is just annoyingly cheap. This game is proof that you can have too much of a good thing and that quantity does not trump quality. The gameplay is fun and it does have layers if you are willing to get into it. I didn’t even get into Bullet customization which is utterly insane with what you can do. Provided you can deal with repetition and low end graphics this may not be a bad game to try out. Though if you don’t have a lot of patience or time I can’t recommend this in good faith.