Gods Eater? Crikey, I think I would be stuffed after just one.
Let’s begin with a bit of confusion. Gods Eater Burst is the improved version of the Japanese game God Eater. Now I can understand the addition of the word “Burst” at the end, sort of, as it designates that the game has been improved and has had a bucket load of extra content included. What really makes my head hurt is the fact that it has gone from “God” to “Gods”. Even the game itself seems confused as to what is going on, referring both to “God Eater” and “Gods Eater”. Perhaps this will go down in history as one of the great unsolved mysteries, the reason for the added “s”? Still, enough about the name, what’s the game all about?
Those of you who have played any of the Monster Hunter games will quickly recognise the format. Players team up with their buddies to take on epic monsters in combat and then use their remains to craft new and more powerful weapons and equipment in order to take on even more epic monsters. Rinse and repeat. Although this has all been done before, the same can really be said for most video game genres, and that doesn’t mean that Gods Eater Burst doesn’t offer a damn good example of this type of gameplay.
Rather than taking the Fantasy setting of Monster Hunter, Gods Eater has chosen to go post-apocalyptic. In this future vision of our world, creatures known as Aragami (A Japanese term meaning basically Demon or God, hence the games’ title) have pretty much wiped out humanity. Of what is left, an organisation known as Fenrir want to reclaim what is left of the world and rebuild it. Players take on the role of Gods Eaters, warriors charged with the difficult job of removing these havoc-wreaking Aragami from this world. Interestingly, the story has more depth than I would have expected and certainly offers a few surprises along the way that are guaranteed to keep the player involved, to some degree at least.
Taking on missions, the player will be given the task to eradicate various Aragami, beginning fairly easily with individual creatures and then mixing things up as the game progresses with larger groups or larger creatures. The variety of these creatures is really quite impressive, with a huge collection of different shapes and sizes, along with different strengths and weaknesses. the player is generally told what the weaknesses are before embarking on their mission, allowing them to prepare the appropriate weapons and equipment, and basically making life a lot easier.
The battles themselves are more often than not a complex affair, with the player having to plan carefully their strategy. These beasts are powerful and would really only take a couple of solid blows to end the players adventure. Along with the defensive shield, the player has two weapon types in the melee and projectile category. The huge amount of customisation available in the game, by using DNA taken from fallen Aragami, enables a variety of different melee weapons that will suit almost every taste and tactic. Massive, slow moving weapons that deal huge amounts of damage, or smaller, quicker weapons that inflict less damage, but can hit more times. Weapons can be infused with powers that inflict extra damage, such as fire or ice for example. The gun is of utmost importance, allowing the player to attack from a distance, and has a similar level of customisation. Players will be able to craft their own bullets and tweak the effects of such in amazing and inventive ways. The use of the gun is limited and dictated by the use of the melee weapon, making sure that players have to get their hands dirty in melee combat.
The gathering of materials for weapon and equipment customisation is handled in an interesting way. Instead of carving the creature up after defeat, the player transforms their weapon, known as a God Arc, and basically devours the lifeless creature, drawing out the spoils for later use. But waiting until the beast has fallen is not the best way of achieving this. Attempting to devour the creature whilst it still breathes is a risky prospect, but one that comes with rewards. Being successful will result in the player entering Burst mode and gaining temporary bonuses and abilities, along with much more impressive loot.
Perhaps the greatest foe to combat in this game, is the repetition. Many gamers, fans of the Monster Hunter series for example, will not find too much of a problem here. But for those not used to the constant grind of taking a mission, killing a beast or beasts, taking another mission, killing more beasts etc. will find that the game, complete with more than 200 missions, may get a little tiresome. The variety of Aragami and the slow, yet interesting story, do go some way to combat this, as do the games environments.
To say that the game looks damn good would be an understatement. Although the characters themselves are not the most impressive, the backgrounds themselves are really a joy to behold. The vision of post-apocalyptic Japan, with ruin buildings and a general sense of despair, offer a haunting view of the future and give the game yet more variety.
Gods Eater Burst is not a game that will appeal to everyone. But it looks good, plays well and offers variety in everything except gameplay, which should be enough to keep fans of this sub-genre busy for ages. It seems that the PSP is the favoured platform for games of this type and Gods Eater Burst is certainly amongst the best on offer. Playing alone, things get dull much more quickly. But with a group of friends, there is nothing better than taking down some epic prey. Go and eat some Gods.