God Eater 2: Rage Burst - HighrezGaming

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God Eater 2: Rage Burst / 24th of September 2016

A world in post-apocalyptic ruin unleashes a savage force which threatens humanity and forces them to seek refuge in large cities. Fortunately, not all hope is lost, as our hero and company form an elite squad that set out to fight these foul beasts with their specially developed technology. Is this really the plot synopsis of this game or some new-fangled anime all the hip kids are into? The answer is yes, it is. Granted, my condescension is all in jest as frankly as this game is supposed to be a sequel (though I have no idea where the pre-packed original is on my system despite the review code including God Eater: Resurrection) a basic premise run down is handy, though the two separate videos after character creation were a tad excessive!

You play as Dr. High Rez, or rather a ginger teen-aged Dr High Rez as he becomes a God Eater – a person trained in killing the Aragami that roam the ruined world – and joins the elite group known as Blood. Well, I chose to play as “Dr.HighRez” but you can, of course, create any character to play thanks to the character creator that appears upon setting a new game. The character customisation is rather serviceable though the colour palette controls are rather peculiar with players having to hold ALT and then fiddle about with WASD when surely mouse input would make far more sense. Some things such as hair style and hair colour can be changed later in the game however other things such as gender, eye shape and voice (which there are many options for upon investigating) will stay for that character’s entirety, I suppose gender reassignment surgery was one of the most notable victims of the Aragami induced apocalypse.
The gameplay is a third person multiplayer action extravaganza where you take on missions with NPCs and/or online buddies to go out into the wastelands and hunt down some nasties, collecting resources to change how you look and play as your God Arc switches from a melee weapon, a ranged weapon and a shield. In that respect, I suppose it should not surprise me that the publishers of this game, Bandai Namco, are also the publishers of Dragonball Xenoverse, a game with a similar “Mission Hub to arena, hunt for resources, clear mission, repeat” cycle. Though the more interactive menu aspect of Xenoverse’s hub world is far less prevalent or sprawling in the three or so rooms that comprise God Eater’s HUB although frankly, I found that to be a good thing given that both games restrain your movement options in the hub world and make the necessary menu navigation of both games (more so in God Eater 2 mind you) tedious busywork over long sprawls.

There are of course elements that God Eater 2 emphasises more than Xenoverse though, the first is item and party management. Instead of four consumables and two pre-set partners, God Eater 2 gives you a list of pocketed items that you must manage by shuffling the contents to and from the terminal inventory, while also managing your AI partners’ equipped skills and items, including perks such as “Friendship” where upon knock out, all party members of the same gender gain a power boost. The player character’s customisation is no slouch either, with power-ups, outfits and of course, whole God Arc (in-game term for weapons) variants available for switching up before you hit the field with differing approaches for damage, slicing, piercing and blunt force to consider among melee, shot types, range and fire rates for ranged and even defensive power and speed in your shield! There is also the procedure of getting a mission and reaching the field. Xenoverse’s “select the mission and off you go” is technically easier for newer players than God Eater’s “You are signed up with this agreed party, now make peace with your terminal and hit the ramp” though it does have the benefit of being more flexible and more visible for the player. If in online multiplayer, you are readied up, the game is clear to announce that to your party and highlight to you who’s still mulling over which sharp stabbing implement they’ll equip. It also makes sense as a development in the design given that the game in question is a sequel so naturally, a significant chunk of its player base is going to be people familiar with the game and its premise enough that some added complex comforts will actually be better than Xenoverse’s “punch in, game on” ready up.
On the field, combat works on a 3D plane with the player making predetermined attack chains (chains so easy you don’t even need to connect any attacks to combo) with the left and right mouse button, requiring good positioning and even proper shielding to prevent becoming a scrawny Aragami meal! Complementing the value of positioning is the ranged function that has two different ammo types to fire with, holding the fire command even allowing you to switch between ammo types on the fly much like you shuffle through your pocketed inventory for support items. Capping all of this and perhaps the most interesting element in combat is your God Arc’s “Devour” ability. When holding the secondary attack command in a melee setting will allow you to grow a dark monstrous head from your weapon and, if charged long enough, lunge slightly and have the monster head chomp into its target, which gives you a unique attack or even novel material based on the Aragami you bit a part of, dead or alive. It does encourage players getting close to Aragami to make use of and in combat a bit of risk/reward since charging up locks you from moving around and bringing up defences. It also gives players that are more of the “charge to battle” kind than the “better prepare all my equipment for this specific mission” king as the Aragami attacks gained from Devouring can be used to compensate for lacklustre planning. Granted it isn’t an ideal method of Aragami hunting, chase the nearest Aragami with a specific attack that will make hunting the target Aragami much easier and hope you can devour the attack in question, but the skill-based alternative to a more plan dependant game is one I personally enjoyed.

The biggest downside of the game is its conveyance of narrative, namely cut scenes and the character models in them, the player character especially! Cut scenes fluctuate from full animation to text boxes with character vocalisations to a hodgepodge of the two. I respect that cost efficiency maybe part of the issue however in that regard, that’s still no excuse for having so many different cut scene formats. Just pick one and save another for especially key moments, don’t go for more and butcher them for money saving. The problem with character models, is acting, namely facial expressions. I get that setting my eye type to half shut might rob some expressions from the character but that’s hardly an excuse for my character sporting the same dumb look for Every. Single. Scene. It seems like after getting laser beamed in the wrists, all the player character’s emotions just died bar sleepy headed contentment, even Xenoverse had the player character gasp with surprise then quickly switch to being seething with determination.
The game was undoubtedly fun. While I admit, the story was not drawing me, I found its gameplay and some mechanics more than made up for it. This game is definitely one for fans of games in the vein of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series that are looking for a different take on the mission based hunting genre, bonus if conventional anime with post-apocalyptic magitech gets your dark beast head to charge up and devour!
Greg Baxter
 
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