With the continuing success of Monster Hunter in the west, Japanese exclusive hunting games have begun to head overseas to populate the genre. Originally released all the way back in 2013 for the PlayStation Vita, God Eater 2 Rage Burst has finally hit our shores with a high def port for PC and PlayStation 4.
Taking place three years after the events of God Eater Resurrection, Rage Burst places your custom character in the role as the newly appointed Vice Captain of the elite God Eater unit known as Blood. The objective is simple at first; defend the moving fortress of Friar from the threat of the monstrous Aragami and continue to research the mystery behind your unit’s unique blood powers. After this initial lead in, though, the story feels completely paper-thin in execution. Conversations between characters boil down to generic military speak, and there’s a distinct absence of tension or drama despite the everyday life of fighting for survival.
As the story progresses and cinematic events unfold, you start to build up a sizeable cast of characters to cooperate in missions and develop relationships with. Though a majority of the cast are cemented in anime tropes and stereotypes, each stylish member gets their moment to shine in personal character episodes to that attempt to develop their personalities. Unfortunately, these moments of team-bonding camaraderie are locked behind a gameplay window of 8-10 hours before you get the chance to begin experiencing them.
The thrill of hunting games remains cemented in their stylish combat and their depth of weaponry. God Eater 2 enhances this by giving you the ability to perform every type of combat role in the game with your jack-of-all-trades weapon, the God Arc. Imbued with Aragami DNA, the God Arc gives hunters the abilities to get up close and personal, then change over to a ranged weapon on the fly. After a monster is stunned, this presents a good opportunity for you to use the final ability of your God Arc, Devour. Once your weapon chomps off a piece of whatever creature you’re fighting, the God Arc temporarily gains that monster’s signature attack for you to abuse or buff allies with.
Despite the diverse selection of weapons you have at your disposal, God Eater 2’s melee combat lacks the depth and personality of other hunting games. The problem is that a majority of the best and stylish moves are locked behind the blood attack mechanic, which restricts you to only using one unique move out of a group of 10 for each weapon. With all these techniques locked behind this system, the best course of action is to pick the blood attack that deals the most damage the quickest and forget that the rest of them even exist.
The Aragami themselves are a great mix of creatures. Varying from mythological like beasts to grotesque horrors, the enemies have a wide breath of creative designs for you to marvel at. Though their animations and attacks are predictable during combat, the game does an admirable job at making the Aragami feel intimidating. Shift creates the illusion that your targets aren’t just hit sponges for you to beat on. Their behaviors and personalities start to change as you break off their parts, enhancing their attack power and giving them access to their most dangerous abilities.
Once your hard day’s work of hunting is finished, you are rewarded with monster materials. These can be used to craft a variety of cosmetics and parts to strengthen your weapons. Thanks to the generous amount of materials you obtain after each quest, there’s never a need to grind the same mission multiple times before you’re able to craft what you want. You can even cheat a couple of your required materials by cashing in some of the tickets you get for completing quests.
God Eater 2 Rage Burst is the easiest hunting game I’ve played yet. Standard missions and hard missions never presented a genuine challenge for me to overcome, and I can’t imagine veterans of the genre will feel any different. With the ability to partner up with up to three friends over PSN, God Eater 2 Rage Burst works best as an introduction game for people who’ve never played the most popular titles in the genre. Combat is barebones, crafting isn’t as complex and there’s never a need to grind a monster for hours in order to get it’s best equipment.
What I personally wanted from God Eater 2 was an engaging narrative, but because of the lack of tension and drama I expected from it’s dark setting, I’m left feeling like I didn’t achieve anything of worth after my 14 hours of play. I didn’t get to see everything God Eater 2 Rage Burst’s campaign has to offer, but I don’t see the point in continuing a journey that takes so long just to get off the ground.