There are a lot of moving parts to these new(ish on PC) God Eater games.
Think of them like a faster-playing, more-streamlined Monster Hunter. The premise is, by and large, the same – you charge headlong into battle against big monsters (here called Aragamis), using various weapons, items and other skills to emerge victorious.
But where Monster Hunter can be a slow slog, with collecting items and tracking down the target monster on a very large, multi-part map, God Eater plays fast, dropping you and some teammates – either real-life MP people or AI-controlled – into a fairly contained area for missions that really don’t take too long.
Think of it as the core of Monster Hunter whittled down into Jaggi-bite-sized chunks.
But that’s not to say God Eater isn’t complex. There are many, many things to fiddle with.
God Eater casts you as some sort of chosen anime character who starts out with a God Arc, which is a thing that can transform into both some sort of gun and some sort of melee weapon. You can craft new ones or upgrade existing ones with materials you find during missions, and there are various types of damage on offer, each of which is more or less effective against the monsters the game throws at you.
And don’t worry – they all adhere to the time-honoured video game tradition of being really, really big and unwieldy and neat-looking, and fall into various categories like hammers, big swords, little swords and spears (the guns, too, are varied, with shotguns doing different types of damage than, say, sniper rifles).
For an example, check out the pic at the top again – that’s my blue-haired, goggle-wearing guy about to hit a big monster in the face with a giant club that he has no business swinging around like that.
Boost it up
Another key mechanic is boosting, which makes use of a skill called devour, which essentially turns your melee weapon into some sort of black, shadowy monster head that bites things. This is used in two ways – first, to pull items from dead monsters that you can use to upgrade your stuff, and also pull powerful, one-use shots that you can pass on to your teammates to blast the monsters with.
Doing that gives you a boost, too, and by continually doing it, you can boost up the entire team, over and over, giving you bonuses for a little bit.
It’s worth noting that the Steam package contains two games: God Eater: Resurrection and God Eater 2: Rage Burst. The big difference seems to be that Resurrection gives you predator styles as you move through it, which are different ways to use that devour skill. Rage Burst includes blood arts, but most of my play time so far has been with Resurrection, so I’ll have to revisit the whole blood art thing later.
Upgrades and skills galore
The weapon upgrade paths seem to be pretty lengthy, and then there’s the whole bullet editing thing, which essentially lets you tweak your projectiles to ridiculous degrees (add bombs, tweak trajectories, types of damage, etc).
There are also a ridiculous number of skills for you and your teammates, and options to tweak your God Arc by adding or removing said skills.
So, is it good? Well, yes. I mean, there’s certainly an appeal to the Monster Hunter approach, and I’ve found myself missing that at times when I’m battling a God Eater monster. It was always exciting heading out into a Monster Hunter area, which felt alive, with all sorts of flora and fauna to be found and crafting materials to be harvested.
God Eater gives you, as mentioned, a smaller area – usually a ruined urban-type environment – with a few smaller monsters in conjunction with whatever you’re really after. There are various items scattered around to pick up, but it still feels considerably more lifeless than Monster Hunter.
Of course, the faster play isn’t a bad thing, and God Eater cuts down on the frustration of chasing a fleeing wounded monster halfway across a map and through a bunch of loading screens. The God Eater Aragami will take off to go eat after a while, too, but they can’t go very far.
The AI teammates are a nice touch – the game really doesn’t seem to like it when you try to play MP with more than one other person; an earlier attempt to play online with two friends resulted in drops at the end of every single mission. It’s a problem that many players seem to be having, so hopefully it gets patched out soon.
And it doesn’t seem to be very difficult so far. I don’t think I’ve spent more than 10 minutes on any particular mission, but then again, I’m not too far into the game. Too early to call that one.
It’s complicated, and there’s quite a learning curve in figuring out exactly how it all works, something I certainly haven’t done yet. But as complex as God Eater is on one hand, it seems to be quite forgiving on the other. So far, hitting monsters in the face with a really big club (and, sure, using the occasional healing item) seems to be working well. I’m sure that will change.
And hey – it’s two games in one, so you can’t really go wrong, right?