Angry God Hunter - God Eater 3 (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Living in a world barely hanging on, bloodthirsty monsters called Aragami have claimed the world as their own. To combat these monsters, individuals called God Eaters wield weapons made specifically to slay Aragami. As an outsider looking in, this is my first God Eater game, the setting plus the core gameplay of “hunt big monsters” make this game feel like a mix between Attack on Titan and Monster Hunter, a post apocalyptic world plus hitting things with big swords. I had a general idea of the story, having watched the God Eater anime series, which helped in further understanding this game’s setting.
God Eater 3 has a self contained story, and I never felt like I HAD to have played the previous two games. Much in the same vein as many JRPGs, your character is a mute hero, most of the game’s dialog and narrative come from your party members and several of the game’s other supporting characters. While yes, I get that it’s very popular to have the “silent protagonist” in a JRPG… it makes it easier to imprint yourself on those type of characters… but when a game like God Eater 3 has a fully fleshed out story, it’s hard to get into the narrative when I feel less like the main character and more like the very important side character.
You create your character then jump right in. You are an Adaptive God Eater, commonly called an AGEs, similar to the protagonist from previous games except AGEs are specifically engineered to better survive the Ashland. In the time since the last game, areas of the wilderness have become hazardous for even regular God Eaters to venture out in to, AGEs are stronger and faster than traditional God Eaters but are treated more like slaves than soldiers. To be fair, while light on story elements it does go miles above some of the story elements I got from Monster Hunter World; since much of this game reminded me of Monster Hunter I will most likely be comparing a bit here and there.
Gameplay is the hill where God Eater 3 stands on. Focusing heavily on the hunt being the crux of God Eater 3’s gameplay loop. You accept a story mission, pick which of your core allies you’re bringing along, then venture out on a mission hunting Aragami. Maps are small and focused, opting for familiarity over variety. Hunting Aragami or picking up items during these missions feed the core crafting of the game, much like in Monster Hunter you use these parts to craft new gear. Weapons are fairly straight forward, in order to even be able to craft a weapon you need to first unlock the blueprint for the item. Blueprints unlock either an item you can craft, an upgrade to an existing item, or an item you can either craft (for more resources) or upgrade (for fewer resources). The three main items you can craft is your melee weapon, ranged weapon, and shield; you can pick from 8 melee weapons, 4 long range weapons, and 3 shield types. On top of weapons and shields; crafting items, ammunition, and costumes to better survive the Ashlands and further customize your character’s look round out the fairly simplistic crafting mechanic.
The biggest thing that I didn’t notice about my gear was how important upgrading the shield was. Featuring three types of shields; this is essentially your armor rating. Even if you never use your shield and instead opt for dodging/quick-steps you still need to upgrade that shield… something I didn’t notice until I hit about rank 5.
Picking a weapon relies on your personal preference, while I tried a few of the weapon types I found myself drawn to the Heavy Moon… one of the new weapon types for God Eater 3. When it comes to my gun, my playstyle leans for either the sniper rifle or the shotgun. Melee and long-range combat can be switched back and forth on the fly, for melee combat you have two core attack buttons used to combo moves with the ability to jump, dash forward, and dodge with a quick-step. Gunplay uses the same two attack buttons, determining which ammo type you attack with, while turning the quick-step into a dodge roll. While melee combat felt fast and fluid, gunplay ended up a bit more clunky. Typically, when playing a third-person-shooter it feels more fluid to use the shoulder buttons for aiming/shooting. While you do use the left shoulder button (L1/LB) to aim, it feels incredibly dated and a bit clunky to have to use the face buttons to shoot. Despite my gripes with the gunplay, I had so much fun with the melee combat it ended up feeling like a non-issue.
There are four bars you need to pay attention to in combat; HP, OP, Stamina, and Burst. HP and Stamina are self explanatory so I won’t touch those parts… if you don’t know that you gotta keep your HP above 1 to survive, I can’t help ya there chief. OP is Oracle Points, OP is used for your ranged attacks with each bullet expending OP. Harder hitting attacks consume more OP while lighter shots consume less. You refill your OP bar through melee combat or using items. Burst essentially powers you up, you fill and maintain the bar with devour attacks. Burst slowly expends itself over time so maintaining it should be a primary goal in combat.
Three new gameplay elements further diversify God Eater 3’s combat; Burst Moves, Accel Trigger, and Engage. I mentioned the burst gauge briefly above, burst can be built up to three levels with your party members increasing your burst level beyond level 1. Accel Trigger are bonuses that trigger when you accomplish certain qualifiers like inflicting a set amount of damage or pull off a set number of finishing attacks. Engage mode occurs when you fight near a party member long enough, when you activate it you both share a buff determined by your loadout and you share a single burst gauge and Accel Trigger effects. Despite how these may seem like a lot to manage, I found that in the thick of combat it all flowed well and was relatively not difficult to pull off. Keeping my burst level high enough was the only issue I found in battles, but that weighed more on my skill than the game itself.
Maps are fairly self contained, rarely ever feeling too big to manage. While that isn’t a big issue, the lack of variety is. Some maps that are meant to be in different locales miles apart are identical with some maps being palette swaps with a few key differences. This did create a feeling of a very bland experience when hunting Aragami, a stark difference from how fun the hunting is. Getting in to the core gameplay loop, much like other hunting games, God Eater 3 is fairly simple to get in to. While a title like Monster Hunter World has a robust crafting, hunting, and gathering system in play… God Eater 3 goes all in with the hunting aspect while gathering materials and crafting aren’t nearly as robust. Hunts generally are pretty short with most of my hunts lasting less than 10 minutes and the game giving you a 40 minute time limit, in fact when jumping into co-op with eight other players you need to take down your target in under 5 minutes.
Visually, the game looks great with the anime aesthetic front and center driving the narrative. Voice acting in both English and Japanese are very good and despite my earlier gripes with feeling like a glorified side character, it was compelling. Nothing looks bland in the visuals department, from the design of Aragami to the characters you interact with. The lack of variety in maps did not negatively impact how beautiful the game looked overall. Finish off the package with some animated cutscenes from Ufotable, notable for work on the Fate series as well as working on the God Eater anime that came out a few years back, and it’s a safe bet that if you dig the Monster Hunter series and anime… God Eater 3 would be your jam.
It feels like a simpler Monster Hunter, trading the highly involved meta-game of the Monster Hunter series for flash and panache one can only get from something so distinctly anime. God Eater 3 wasn’t perfect but it was fun, I don’t know if I will be the type to throw hundreds of hours into the hunt, but with forthcoming expansions I see myself jumping back in sooner than later. Streamlined, beautiful, and honestly a way more engaging narrative than its contemporaries.
3.75 out of 5
Fast, fun, and super anime!