God Eater 2 was released in Japan over 3 years ago and hadn’t seen a western release since. Even though the expansion Rage Burst came out last year, it’s still been quite a long wait to play the sequel to one of the more successful monster hunting games that’s not Monster Hunter. I last played God Eater over 5 years ago, and now that the sequel is finally here, I’m reminded of why I enjoyed the series so much, despite some of its obvious flaws.
Narratively, God Eater 2 starts off in almost the same way as the previous game. You’re a new recruit joining the God Eaters, an elite division of people capable of using a special weapon called the God Arc. As God Eaters your mission is to hunt and exterminate monsters known as Aramagi, which are pushing mankind to the brink of extinction. Within this division however is a special group of people known as the Blood Unit who are able to harness and use a special power called Blood Arts. You’re found to possess the same latent ability and are thus enlisted into the unit to serve as humanity’s new beacon of hope.
The story has its fair share of ups and downs, but the impact of these moments are dependent on your attachment to the game’s cast. There are quite a large number of characters and they’re actually quite well developed thanks to optional conversations and side missions which flesh out their backstory and personality. While I appreciate the effort put into their development, they still came across as pretty generic. To make matters worse, the core characters, introduced pretty early on, feels almost interchangeable with those of the first game. Julius, the leader of the Blood Unit fills the role of Lindow, while Romeo and Gilbert feels like a palette swaps of Kota and Soma respectively. I tend to generally have a higher tolerance for these kinds of archetypes, but I found myself not caring much for anyone in the game. This is not to say the story is a complete flop as I still found myself invested in the world itself and genuinely found some of the character motivations quite intriguing.
Story missteps aside, the actual gameplay of God Eater 2 is an absolute blast. At its core is a monster hunting game through and through. You’ll accept missions from a hub area that always involves you slaying some Aragami either by yourself, with AI controlled NPCs or with other human players. By killing them, you’ll obtain various materials and monster parts needed to craft and upgrade your equipment, allowing you to take on even stronger enemies. It’s a tried and tested formula and the loop is addictive, but God Eater sets itself apart by taking its combat in a totally opposite direction to that of Monster Hunter.
Where Monster Hunter encourages slower, more methodical combat, God Eater forgoes all of that in favour of fast and frantic action. On a basic level, you’ll be stringing together combos consisting of light and strong attacks and each move can immediately be cancelled by dodging; resulting in speedy hit and run tactics. Your God Arc can also be transformed into a gun giving you the option to attack from afar when you need to get some distance between you and the enemy. The systems in place work well together and switching between ranged at melee attacks instantaneously never got old.
The God Arcs has one more special feature, and that’s the ability to transform into a giant mouth that can ‘devour’ enemies. By holding down the triangle button, a huge mouth will emerge from your weapon and when released, will take a big chomp out of the Aragami. If this is performed on a dead enemy, you’ll get monster parts needed for equipment upgrades, but used when they’re alive and it’ll put you in a state known as Burst Mode. While in this state you’ll gain temporary buffs as well as a special Aragami bullet. You can either use it against an enemy or you can fire it at an ally, transferring the Burst to them, thus increasing their Burst limit. This is an important tactic to keep burst mode going among team members. God Eater 2 also introduces Blood Arts which modify your attacks in different ways as well as Blood Rage which is like a super enhanced version of Burst Mode.
I’m a huge fan of games that let me customize my character to my heart’s content, and God Eater 2 provides that in spades. There are 6 melee, 4 gun and 3 shield types to choose from, each providing a different playstyle. Passive skills created or gained after battle can be installed to them allowing you to mix and match different buffs. Best of all however is the bullet creation mode. The tools provided here is truly spectacular, allowing you to modify almost all of the bullet’s attributes, right down to its trajectory and elemental properties. For instance, you can create a bullet that fires 2 projectiles, of different elements and sizes, at different angles, which create a little ball that sticks to the enemy when it hits, and explodes after a few seconds causing poison damage. There’s so much you can do with this and I don’t even know how much time I spent creating bullets tailored to the different Aragami types.
God Eater 2 was originally a PSP game, and it shows, in not just the look of the game but oddly in how it sounds as well. While the graphics didn’t really bother me, the characters’ voices in cutscenes were extremely muffled and sounded downright awful. Overall, the presentation of the game is just not up to scratch, and what’s worse is the fact that it reuses a massive chunk of assets from the first game. At least the soundtrack is quite good and I especially enjoyed the J-rock opening theme and the song that plays when you enter Blood Rage mode.
Even with all of the narrative and presentation issues, God Eater 2: Rage Burst is still one heck of a fun game to play, both alone or cooperatively. If you look beyond the flaws you’ll find a monster hunting experience with deep customization options, a fast paced combat system and really unique and menacing enemies.
Last Updated: September 12, 2016