It’s not often that you’ll find two entries in a series getting previewed at the same time. Then again, its a rare event that you get a decent two-for-one deal in gaming. Which is what Bandai Namco are essentially giving gamers when they bring the wildly popular God Eater series to the west this August, bundling God Eater: Resurrection with its sequel God Eater 2: Rage Burst together in one delicious remastered package. Like a two for one deal at your local pizza place, it will inevitably end in an orgy of consumption, fights over the leftovers, and that satisfying feeling that you’ve probably eaten too much, but just don’t care.
If you’ve never heard of God Eater, let me bring you up to speed. The original God Eater was released five years ago for the PSP, which was then released by D3 publishing in America and Europe as God Eater Burst in 2011. Now, Bandai Namco are releasing a remastered version of the sequel, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, on PS4, PC, and Vita along with a remaster of the original PSP title called God Eater Resurrection. Buying God Eater 2 will net you a free copy of Ressurection. Got it? Awesome.
Anyway, the easiest way to describe God Eater is as a post-apocalyptic version of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series, only with a much more involved narrative, characters you’ll actually care about, and some rather nifty systems that all revolve around eating monsters before they can eat you.
In the near future, mysterious creatures known as Aragami appear and do what monster do best – ie. eat people en masse. With humanity placed firmly on the endangered species list, they also do what they do best and create devastating weapons capable of cutting these huge beasts down to size. The poor bastards tasked with doing the killing are known as the titular God Eaters. They are infused with Aragami DNA and given special bracelets that boost their strength in order to effectively wield the arms capable of taking out these colossal beasts.
It’s an action RPG with a focus on fast-paced combat, collecting loot, leveling up, and slaying and devouring progressively harder enemies. Add in the fact that you can play through the whole game with four AI partners or friends via online play and you’ll have a vague idea of why the series is so popular.
With over 100 hours of gameplay apiece and a deep and involved storyline, it seems that those Playstation fans that miss Monster Hunter (now that it’s pretty much a Nintendo exclusive these days) may have found a suitable replacement.
Hands on With God Eater: Resurrection
After our introduction to the World of God Eater by the series producer – Yusuke Tomizawa, we were given the opportunity to go hands-on with three missions from God Eater: Resurrection on PS4.
It’s clear from the off that God Eater: Resurrection is a port of a Vita game. Think of Final Fantasy Type-0 and you won’t go far wrong. So, it’s not a bad looking game by any stretch of the imagination. The character design is superb and the monsters run that nice line between grotesque and awe-inspiring. Just don’t expect something akin to Bloodborne in the looks department, because you’re not going to get it.
On the plus side, it does run at a rock-solid 60fps, which, in my opinion is far more important for games like this than realistic snot particles or fancy lighting or whatever. Admittedly, God Eater 2 does look slightly better, but Resurrection still has a certain basic charm to it – from the sharp uniforms of the God Eaters to the gigantic bastard swords that split in three to reveal a huge maw that and munches away at them like they’re some kind of delicious biscuit.
The lack of major adjustments compared to its handheld brethren also allows for cross platform online play between the PC, PS4 and Vita, which is surely going to ensure that lobbies stay full.
The first mission we played was a simple training mission, designed to teach players the basics of God Eating. My character was placed in a small room, while my handler gave a series of instructions. The first thing that’s apparent is that there’s a certain…verticality to the combat compared to Monster Hunter. Players are encouraged to find higher ground in order to rain down hell on their enemies with ranged mode, then rush in to finish the job off with a few fast swings of your enormous blade before finally unleashing predator mode, at which point, your blade is will consume the fallen Aragami like some horrible demonic pretzel and harvest its vital nutrients and loot. Yum.
It’s a great system and it’s clear that the sum of its parts work together nicely, with energy used for ranged mode replenished by attacking in melee. Your special meter, which unlocks a brief stint of your character having infinite stamina, allows them to dash as much as they like, whizzing around foes and hacking them up in seconds.
It’s no surprise then that combat is fast, frantic and a hell of a lot of fun. This became even more apparent in the other missions we were shown, in which your small band of God Eaters were sent to a derelict bridge to clear out a small group of Aragami. The world of God Eater is the standard post-apocalyptic fare that we’ve come to expect: rust, devastation, and a surprising lack of debris. Still, juxtaposing the apt (but ultimately drab) environments are the Aragami themselves – huge, imposing beasts that can very easily tear you a new one if you don’t keep on your toes. The game does a great job of making you feel powerful, but the threat posed by your opponent is never mitigated. That’s a fine line to tread and though I never felt overwhelmed by the small selection of creatures I faced, they nevertheless presented a decent challenge. Though what I played of God Eater: Resurrection could be described as an entrée at best, I was certainly left hungry for more.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst
If Resurrection was the starter, then God Eater 2: Rage Burst was the main course.
Set three years after the events of Resurrection, Rage Burst offers several key additions to the God Eater recipe. These include Blood Art abilities, which add additional moves and functions to your existing weapons (with about 400 variants to unlock), and Blood Rage, a system in which you basically bet on yourself to beat a challenge during combat, like doing so much damage in a certain amount of time, in order to unlock temporary special skills and buffs for your character. It seems like quite a fun idea and a great way to keep the combat fresh while forcing you to change up your tactics in order to improve your chances of success.
Though it’s clear that God Eater 2 is the better of the two games, which makes perfect sense, we were told by the series Producer that it’s best to work your way through Resurrection first. And with God Eater being a narrative-driven adventure, I would have to agree with him. What’s more, you can’t miss the improvements from Rage Burst if you’ve never used them.
Bandai Namco’s decision to bring people into the fold this way is a rather clever one. Rather than just releasing the inevitable third instalment in the west and hoping that people take to it, instead we’re getting to experience the series’ evolution and, moreover, have more than enough to get on with while we wait for it. I just hope we won’t be feeling too bloated to enjoy it once it gets here.
God Eater Ressurection/God Eater 2 Rage Burst will be out on 30th August for Playstation 4, PS Vita, and PC.