Right! Let’s get a mention of Monster Hunter in straight away. There’s no way I can not write this without mentioning the mother of this gaming genre.
I will be mentioning Monster Hunter a fair bit in this review because God Eater 2 is what some would call a clone, whatever you call it, it’s certainly a variant in the genre. It’s a genre that’s rapidly gaining popularity in the west, with Monster Hunter now seemingly reaching cult status with gamers that enjoy a challenge.
There have been many games that use the MH basic formula. That formula simply being – kill things and use their body bits to make better weapons and armour. That’s it. Kill, kill, kill and kill some more. What MH manages and none other seem to get near is an abstract and bizarre game-world, with vague systems and little in the way of real tutorials, to the point of being inaccessible for many.
I’ve played a lot of these types of games now, they’re actually all worth checking out if you can find them very cheap (Ragnarok Odyssey, Toukiden, Freedom Wars being three of my favourite, special mention to Soul Sacrifice, but sadly I never got on with it). They’re all deeply flawed and all have one thing in common – they’re all playable on Sony’s PS Vita. The Japanese have a predilection for hand-held social gaming and Monster Hunter and its bastard babies satisfy that hunger perfectly.
Onto God Eater 2!
That’s why I’m here and you’re here. I just needed to waffle and tell you all where I sit with the game.
If and when you do buy God Eater 2, you actually get two games, both God Eater 2 and God Eater : Resurrection.
They’re both incredibly similar, the same engine and they play almost completely the same, apart from a few changes in skills and weapon and characters.
Oh boy, the characters.
God Eater’s roots are well and truly in traditional Japanese animé. I loathe animé. As soon as I started playing the game(s) I felt as if I was completely out of my comfort zone to be covering it (I probably haven’t seen the right animé for me yet). I just don’t get it. Melodramatics with a cast of annoying school children dressed in European regency clothing does nothing but bring out in a rash of my psyche.
Also the leering. The camera angles concentrating on female characters crotches and backsides. We all like being and feeling sexy, but I’m sure we can do that without a sense of the lecherous now. Sexy is good and should be celebrated to a degree, being lecherous really isn’t cool. Sexy is also consensual and a two-way affair. GE cinematics do often fall into the greasy hole of voyeurism.
The disc version of GE2 comes with GE : Resurrection on both the Vita and PS4. Every purchase of God Eater 2 includes this.
Confused? Fuck me, wait until you get on to some of the gameplay mechanics.
So what do you actually do on these two God Eater games? Like all games from the MH influenced stable, you get a mission. That mission usually involves going to kill a monster and butcher the said monster for resources (bones, the hide etc.), as well as collecting resources from the locale. GE is much the same, with a story centred around mankind being threatened by the ‘Araigami’, they’re just monsters. There’s a story, which is something the MH games do have. You don’t come to these games for story, you come for the combat and GE manages that very well.
As I previously said, both core games are exactly the same, differing stories. They shares assets and locations, but as far as I can see, in terms of narrative they completely standalone games.
I’ve spent most time with God Eater 2 now, also having played a good 6 hours+ on GE:R. Both games actually take about 5 hours to start warming up. This slow start is going to put a lot of people off.
There are also surprising amount of deep systems, obscure terminology, crafting, upgrading, bullet types, AI character upgrading, perks, gadgets and a big pile of other concepts. Those 6 hours of slow games play at the start could and should have been filled with proper tutorials introducing you to all these elements a step at a time. Alas, the tutorials are quite bare. There are references in the menus, but often I felt quite swamped under a deluge of lists.
Fear not if all the above scares you. You can still run out onto those battlefields and pummel shit out of those oversized beasts with your equally oversized weapons. Combat is satisfying. In fact, at times combat is orgasmic. It is fundamentally a pickup and play game. Things do get hairy in terms of tactics further on into the game.
Now I’m giving this game a bit of a kicking, aren’t I? I legitimately didn’t like this game at first, I really regretted taking it on. Despite the gaping flaws, these two games are by far the finest Monster Hunter variants I have played. Those 6 hours of warm up soon give way to some battles that have left me sweating and satisfied. It’s good to be moist.
Combat comprises of you having two weapons, a melee weapon and a gun. Using your God Eater power (pressing triangle on your controller transforms the weapon into a soul-devouring blob). Perform this on a live beast and you activate your ‘Blood Art’, these essentially being your super-power. Perform it on a corpse and collect materials for crafting and upgrading. Your Blood Art can also be activated by playing combos well. All battles see you supported by AI teammates or online matches.
The camera can be awful. On the Vita (which is the lead platform) you can get a bit lost, the camera can lose you, never enough to take you out of the action. On the PS4, colour and hue are lost and textures are ugly.
Without a doubt, God Eater 2 and Resurrection are the best MH clones I’ve played. They offer both depth and great combat. From my early hours of grumbling and rolling my eyes to the whole shebang, to finding myself forking out money for the Vita version.
There’s a hell of a lot of game here as well. If you’re willing to look beyond the defects, shortfalls in real tutorials and slow start you will be rewarded with a frantic killfest. GE is well worth the time of any Monster Hunter fan or a great way to have a look at one if the genre is new to you.
The games are also cross play and save with the Vita and PS4 and the system of uploading and downloading games works a treat.
The annoying animé story has even started to grow on me as well.
Fantastic fast paced and at times, bonkers combat.
Heaps of depth in terms of crafting and skills customisation.
The best Monster Hunter clone I’ve played
Looks pretty awful on PS4
Dodgy camera when the fight gets busy.
Pointlessly slow to start and lack of cohesive tutorials.