Originally released in 2013 for the PSP and Vita, God Eater 2: Rage Burst just now reached western shores. It brings a number of improvements over the original but still doesn’t stroll to much from the well beaten path. If you loved the original then this one is a no brainer.
Many companies tried to cash in on the Monster Hunter craze. From the dreary undead realm of Soul Sacrifice, to the mystical feudal Japan in Tokiden, to the panopticon prison society in Freedom Wars, we were literally showered by this genre in the past couple of years. Like the majority of them, God Eater takes the core principles of Monster Hunter and opts to innovate upon them.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst is set 3 years after the events of Gods Eater Burst. You play as a member of the Blood Unit, a squad that has the potential to awaken dormant Blood Power. The game features an all new cast, of equally unique and wacky characters.
Because of the game’s structure most of the story is told in bite sized chunks, each at most a couple of minutes long. For example, the first part of the game usually introduces a new character, you participate with them in a mission, have you learn a bit more about what kind of person they are, participate with them in a mission again, rinse and repeat.
You don’t have to had played the original to start with God Eater 2. The archive introduces you to the basic controls, covering everything from guarding, to devouring, to different types of weapons. The terminal is your main access point from where you can check out your inventory loadouts, crafting items, or even just look at the database containing all the facts from the game world.
Gameplay is fast-paced, a stark contract to that of the competition. By the end of the brief training you will be zipping around the battlefield, firing and slashing with your oversized God Arc and tackling foes a magnitude larger than you. Nothing can describe the exhilaration of chaining both melee and long-distance attacks – firing a few rounds and swapping to back to a sword to deliver a finishing blow.
One addition in God Eater 2 are the new so called Blood Arts skills. Each weapon type has a different set of Blood Arts. By using a corresponding close-combat weapon on an Aragami you raise the weapon’s chance of awakening. Only a single Blood Art can be equipped at a time, but they are a game changer. Using a Blood Art will further increase its power.
As before there is an emphasis on gathering resources. Aside from gathering materials on the battlefield, you can summon Aragami within your God Arc to brutally consume the corpse of a fallen enemy Aragami. These resources can be latter used for crafting and upgrading your weapons.
Like expected of this genre, the missions start out slow and easy, maybe a bit too slowly, mind you. The first couple of missions will task you to defeat two easy monsters all which in total takes less than a full minute. This might not be a problem if the game offered a large variety of stages. However, you will be doing missions in the same level time and time again, at best fighting a different enemy type you previously encountered on some other map. Even the additional optional free missions that do little to break up the pace.
Despite the better visuals and improved resolution, the game still doesn’t manage to break from its portable roots. And this is not only in the presentation. Everything feels a bit smaller than it should be. The hub has only a handful of tiny rooms, while the combat areas are generally limited in scale and lack any impressive details overall. Even the story segments spruced in-between missions seem to be just short enough for players who are on the move to easily follow along.
Surprisingly the game only features English voices with no original Japanese voices whatsoever. This would generally be fine, but, unfortunately, they end up being pretty much hit or miss with the quality of the recordings far from being top notch.
Like before clothing is only for show. This is actually a great decision on the developers end. Too many games force players to wear ugly tethered robes while spotting that ridiculous cartoon mascot hat just because you will have a slither more health. There is no need to compare endless stats in search for the most effective clothing, if you like it you can wear it with no guilt.
The PlayStation 4 version has the radio chatter coming from the DualShock 4’s speaker which is always a plus. Another cool addition in the PlayStation 4 version is the fact that the game you can cross save, basically letting you continue playing on the go if you have a PlayStation Vita, and cross play, allowing you to team up with owners of the Vita version.
Underneath all improved visuals and added content God Eater 2: Rage Burst is still a PSP title at heart. The short story segments, the repetitive bite-sized missions, everything is designed with that kind of experience in mind. Still, Steam and PlayStation 4 users finally have the opportunity to experience this unique genre first-hand, especially if you have a group of friends ready to join your cause.