God Eater was a competitor to Monster Hunter back during the height of the series. Even if the sales of the series were never as good as Monster Hunter, it still managed to do relatively well. It was a project of Bandai Namco after Monster Hunter started to pull off crazy numbers on the PlayStation Portable leading to the rebirth of the hunting genre. It might have originally chased the same crowd but it is a completely different game now and nothing like the most recent Monster Hunter World.
God Eater 3 ditches the portable co-op experience in favor of a more global online multiplayer. This is the first time the series has made the full transition to more powerful hardware but despite that, the overall presentation and quality remain lackluster. Environments reuse assets, feel barren, and suffer from repetition. Maps are hardly open and seem completely linear so exploration is boring. The saving grace of it all is that combat is better and enjoyable now. There is plenty of customization and multiple weapons to use in the mission-based narrative of God Eater 3.
The story begins directly after the events of God Eater 2: Rage Burst. It features a post-apocalyptic world Ashlands that is full of giant monsters called the Aragami. They are a threat to humanity which is why an élite group of heroes rise up to end them. They call themselves the God Eaters and use a special type of weapons labeled as God Arcs to defeat Aragami. They are the only ones who are capable enough to hunt and eradicate any Aragami in this world. They do this with their God Arcs weapon powered by the Oracle Cells.
In God Eater 3, humanity experiments with a new breed of God Eaters. They name it the Adaptive God Eaters or AGEs for short. These are the only capable hunters who can go out in the Ashlands to hunt the Aragami. Since they are incredibly powerful, their freedom gets restricted to avoid having them out in the wild and instead they are kept in underground prison cells. The game’s introduction and tutorial take place in such an underground cell where you slowly begin to learn the combat mechanics and do a set of test missions.
God Eater 3 is a fun game once you dig deeper into it but the opening is just ugly and slow-paced. It is a slog to sit through the opening set of missions where you do minor tasks disguised as tutorials and sit through load screens one after another. If you can somehow survive it, the game begins to slowly open up more and finally offers you some freedom in combat. It is a terrible way to start the game and honestly speaking, it could have turned off a lot of people who don’t have time to sit through it all.
The combat underneath it all is fun but starts to feel like you are doing button mashing the more time you spend with it. Your character can equip a mêlée and ranged weapon in addition to a shield for defense. All of these can get upgraded or new weapons crafted by completing missions and earning new blueprints for a weapon or item. The customization that you can do for your character doesn’t necessarily have to do with generic RPG stats but it is more focused on thinking of a strategy with an emphasis on partner skills, burst attacks, and weapons.
The one issue that I had with the story of God Eater 3 was how it presents a silent protagonist. It is such a terrible idea that it makes you feel detached to the game. Your character hardly appears like it is interacting with others and the game presents a dialogue choice to make you feel like a part of the conversation. The issue is that it just doesn’t work that way. Thankfully, aside from that, the story is fun and offers some memorable characters. I also enjoyed the character design that had a certain anime aesthetics to them and looked stylish.
The pacing in God Eater 3 can suffer due to the mission-based design. Loading screens continue to disrupt the action cutting from missions to story cutscenes. The cutscenes themselves offer excellent presentation but the writing is not that great. If you are a newcomer who is hoping to learn more, prepare to get confused after the prologue ends. There are a lot of unknown words which get thrown around expecting you to understand them but I think this should have been a more beginner friendly game. This is more of a nitpick since God Eater 3 is clearly a sequel that expects you to have played the previous games in the series.
Getting back into combat, the movement can sometimes feel sluggish but it could be intentional since this is common in the genre. The controls will take a while to get used to but once you get the hang of it, it is satisfying to hack and slash the Aragami monsters to death. I am not a big fan of the AI partners though and multiplayer is where God Eater truly shines. You can join a party of up to 4 players in co-op during the main story mode. The co-op multiplayer support is available as an option that is accessible from a terminal which lets you manage inventory or equipment. You can reach it before starting any mission.
God Eater 3 might be a fun game but it doesn’t feel like a proper evolution that the series deserves. The textures look bad and the level design doesn’t leave a good impression due to linearity. It fulfills the criteria of making you kill giant monsters but it doesn’t do it in a satisfying way. The story,–even if it is enjoyable and has some fun characters–is not that memorable. There is no portable version this time yet the game doesn’t seem to have benefited much from removing this restriction.
God Eater 3 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Set in a post-apocalyptic setting, it’s up to your special team of God Eaters to take down god-like monsters devastating the world. With an epic story, unique characters, and all new God Arcs and Aragami, the latest evolution in ACTION is here!
Final Score - 7/107/10
As modern games approach a more broad design, God Eater 3 has continued with its linear but a more tightly focused gameplay structure. It works fine for what the game aspires here, but compared to its competitors, there is definitely a sense of disappointment and missed potential.