God Eater 3 Review: Incrementally Improved, but is That Enough?

If you were ever the designated techie of the house, you probably had to fix or upgrade the house computer at some point. Maintaining it to make sure it runs smoothly, maybe attaching a new upgrade, or maybe replacing parts that are worn out. It works just fine for the house, so there’s never a need to replace it. Sure, it needs a kick or a knock every now and then, but it can be just as good as the newer computers out there if you just add the needed upgrades. We see the same trend with certain developers, trying to stretch the lifespan of whatever game engine they have. Results often vary depending on execution, but over time, the same old things simply don’t hold up well compared to its more modern counterparts. God Eater 3, which is hardly the third game in the series, arrives on the PlayStation 4 and PC,  carrying a lot of its old tricks along with a few new ones, with considerably upgraded graphics. So the question is, does it feel like an upgraded game, or a new one?

This edgy, anime-esque take on the monster slaying genre starts God Eater 3 a few years after the events of God Eater 2, where you were originally assigned to an elite strike-force. Now, you are now a conscripted soldier with given an underdog treatment. You begin your journey from being treated like dirt in a cell block to a hero who would save the world.

 

Production (3.6 / 5)

Looking at the game, you can tell that the game seems to have been entirely redone to match the hardware it’s going to be playing on. Models look more detailed and smooth, generally animate well, and some lighting and shadows seem to have been added. Characters that never appear on the battlefield have noticeably more detail and better texture quality compared to ones that do. While detail for environments isn’t that important, the difference between it and the characters can become painfully noticeable during cutscenes. On the brighter side, there are no long loading sequences in the game, and never experienced any issues with the frame rate.

The auditory experience of God Eater 3 is something I’m happy to say I really enjoyed. Having a choir singing along in the remastered versions of the songs can really get you pumped, as it matches well with the idea of fighting invincible, giant beasts to save the world. You can also listen to the characters talk in the expected Japanese and surprisingly sufficient English voices. I personally switch between them every playthrough since I think they’re both good.

On a final note regarding how the game looks, we know that other games look a lot better than what they’re currently showing, and I’ll be real disappointed if they don’t improve on this end by their next release.

 

Mechanics (4.1 / 5)

So many people would describe this game as ‘Monster Hunter but Anime’ and while that’s true to some extent, I’m kinda tired of hearing that and try to give something more substantial in describing this game.

While Monster Hunter focused on honing your knowledge of dealing with monsters and your mastery over your weapon of choice, God Eater has you wanting to make you and your team an agile, unstoppable force that relentlessly destroys whatever your mission directs you to. About half, maybe more, of the customization is all about tailoring the way your attacks work in a way you like. In fact, most of the combat mechanics are straight-up lifted from God Eater 2 Rage Burst. So faithfully followed to a painful degree, that I wish they kind of revamped or simplified the system a bit. I don’t want to go too much into detail but generally you pick a weapon, the several arts you’ll be using on it, as well as the extra effects on each of them. Then there’s the gun, which has multiple types as well, and fully customizable shots. You can make them perform like a normal bullet, an explosive shot, or even like a tomahawk missile. Oh, you also get to pick a shield, you block with it, that’s about it.

Personally, I would have preferred it if they had simplified parts of these customizations or revamped how some of the weapons. Considering how old some of their mechanics are, it can feel awfully clunky while the game is slowly letting you learn how it works. Having so many layers of options on how to customize yourself is already daunting, and you have to manage your team mates after that. Yes, there’s a charm in getting all this custom built as far as you can take it, but this can make it daunting for new players. Maybe adding a feature that suggests default loadouts, or can set skills to be automatically learned by would have been a good feature to have.

Now, for what’s actually new in God Eater 3.

First of all, there seems to be a new maneuver called ‘diving,’ allowing you to block while charging forward. Which further allows you to keep attacking even if the Aragami, the monsters you fight, is spraying an attack making it impossible to approach without getting hit. This is also the fastest dash in the game so far, I seriously spam it all the time now.

Next, they’ve introduced an ‘Acceleration Trigger’ feature. Which triggers a temporary buff if you fulfill its requirements while in-battle. It looks like this is meant to help lock you into a certain role, though for the most part I’ve treated it as a bonus rather than something to actively think about during combat. Then, there’s ‘Engage,’ which allows you to partner-up with another team-mate and activate a buff you had preset, much like the Acceleration Trigger. This also charges up during combat.

Finally, there’s the Ash Aragami, which are also called Ashborn. This is probably the most important addition to the game as they can steal your Burst charge, which you need to execute the stronger attacks in the game. On top of that, they can activate a Burst on their own and make dealing with them that much harder. For the first time you can’t just tank hits and healed back up, and your superior number against your target can be used against you. This gives a more technical aspect to the combat and gives you new situations you may or may not want to deal with. So generally everyone gets new toys to play with.

Generally, all these makes the game feel pretty clunky at the start but once you get these features to come together it constantly feels like there’s something you can do to keep the fight going for yourself. So in a way, it’ll grow on you if you let it.

 

Content (3.7 / 5)

You’re given two new weapons with the theme of having having 2 forms each as new gear to toy with, along with new Aragami that are either a variant of currently existing beasts or entirely new enemies to fight.

You run a story where you end up getting more or less a foster child, because that trend isn’t going to slow down anytime soon and Japan really needs their people to have kids (probably). The story starts becoming pretty predictable mid-way, but it’s not really a bore to play through.

And- that’s kind of- it?

So, it turns out that this series has a tendency to make bare-bones release. And I would have marked it down for that, but I recently found something that makes me reluctant to do that.

Yes, God Eater 3 has a straightforward campaign, and at the moment doesn’t appear to be offering any character stories or sidequests. But the thing is they plan to add exactly these and more in future, free patches. Which, pains me to admit, is a lot like Monster Hunter World. I was honestly disappointed at first because God Eater felt a lot more dense when I was playing GE2RB. But the fact that more content is coming for free leaves me with mixed emotions. Generally, I don’t think it’s a good thing, but if you’re not in a rush to finish or buy the game it sounds like it’ll be okay.

 

Features (4.3 / 5)

Online multiplayer returns in this title, which is to be expected. What’s legitimately interesting is the Assault Mission mode. What happens here is that you get to match up with seven other players online and take on tougher Aragami under a pretty tight time limit. There’s also a fairly long wait time where your customized avatar poses on screen with the other seven and it made me pretty fashion conscious all of a sudden. Moving on, this mode let me see how other players fight, put me in a more challenging setting, allowed me to experience a new twist to the game, and is even fairly great for grinding. Even with just one mission available on that mode, I ended up playing it a lot because of the quick thrill and sizeable rewards you get out of it.

Other than that, there’s a gallery mode that lets you review tutorials or at least gives you more information about the world you’re playing in. Which is appreciated with all the strange terms the dialogue can be throwing around sometimes. There’s also a way to view past story events which I find particularly handy when I was comparing Japanese and English voices.

 

Conclusion

God Eater 3 is not Monster Hunter and it’s not afraid to say it, it sticks to its guns and builds further upon it as the game progresses. It has arrived on PS4 and PC, making notable improvements on graphics and some new ideas being presented. But is it enough to call it great? At the heart of the experience is a game meant for quick episodes of grinding alternating with fine-tuning and experimentation, and you do that a lot on portable platforms. Can I say that it did enough to be played as a couch experience? I find this genuinely difficult to answer.

As I said  before, if you’re willing to wait, there’s going to be a much to be rewarded with. New allies, new side-stories, more features, missions, and probably monsters coming for free.

Seeing the direction it took, it really looks like they took fan feedback. So if you already liked the series before, you’ll probably love it. But if you’re here wondering if it’s the game for you, it might be better to wait for a few more updates.

God Eater currently scores 3.98 / 5, but that might be updated, for free.

 

Currently available on PS4 and PC.

 

We’d like to thank Bandai Namco Entertainment for the review copy.

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