Monster hunting has been featured in plenty of games recently; while many companies try adding new mechanics and story elements, it’s difficult to say which IP does it best. Bandai Namco’s God Eater series is no exception. So does this relatively new series (in the West at least) bring down the beast or does it fall under the shadow of the giants of the genre?
God Eater 2: Rage Burst is set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by a race of monsters known as Aramgami. All is not lost — humanity has developed an ultimate weapon to fight back against these enormous creatures, the God Arc. Rage Burst is set three years after the events of God Eater: Resurrection and features a new group of Arc wielders who have just been united.
The game takes place on a mobile castle-like ship named FENRIR. After creating a character, you become the newest member of the a unique group called the Blood Unit. The narrative is delivered through selectable missions but not all of them are story based. The mission select screen allows players to choose from a handful of side-missions for those who are looking for rare item drops or skill training. These undertakings are free from cutscenes and can be tackled at whatever pace the player prefers.
Where story comes second in other monster hunting games, Rage Burst spends time developing an interesting cast of characters. Full of drama, suspense, action, and comedy, the story keeps the player invested in the world the game has created. Additionally, for those who have also dabbled in Resurrection, returning characters make an appearance and offer a type of reunion for seasoned players. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s unclear how to progress the narrative after a story mission when you are required to speak to a certain person in order to move things along.
Rage Burst seems to reuse maps quite often which ends up making missions feel predictable and mindless. Even items scattered throughout the map are in the same positions at every visit. However, the scale of some of the maps offer a different perspective when starting the missions at a different drop point, but even this can only be used so many times before it becomes old. For those who spent time with Resurrection, these maps will feel even more overused since many of them are recycled from the previous game.
After missions, party members can grant certain perks, but players are given a time limit to read through their loot drops and stats. At times, this can feel rushed which makes the countdown to take all the information in seem unnecessary. This is where you’ll find items for you to add to your weapons. You can also obtain pieces of defeated Aragami and construct additional weapons with their armor.
The biggest advancement to the series’ already robust weapon system is the “Blood Arts.” These abilities are unlocked after defeating enemies in a certain way. Once obtained, Blood Arts can be equipped to weapons to create an endless combination of buffs and stat increases.
For example, after certain conditions are met, players who use the long sword will gain access to powerful attacks like “Tornado Rush” and “Impulse Edg.e. Furthermore, each style of blade can be customized to fit the playstyle of the player.
The only other requirement is that they need to spend time developing Blood Arts for different weapon styles. Upgrading weapons takes time and certain weapons require special items to create. This encourages players to replay old missions and attempt to acquire the more rare items. However, this also can become quite monotonous after playing the same maps and fighting the same enemies over and over.
The battle system in Rage Burst feels extremely satisfying, and it should be given that it is the main purchasing point for many fans of the genre. Attack animations look amazing during an intense fight, even when all of your party members are attacking. through all of this the game keeps a steady framerate for the entire skirmish. However, same with the maps, many of the Aragami have been reused from Resurrection and the game only offers a number of exclusive bosses. This is a huge miss for the series and I felt as though fighting the same old enemies made this game feel more like DLC than a completely new title.
During battles players are able to bring a number of AI companions with them. Your party becomes more important as the game gets harder; understanding each member’s skills and strength essential for those who want to get a higher rank during the mission grading. The grading system is pretty lenient as I scored an A – S ranking even on missions where I felt I could have done better.
Rage Burst plays it safe for players who already love the series, offering recognizable areas, enemies, and mechanics. However, for those returning the series expecting to find something new will sadly be disappointed. Be that as it may, newcomers will be playing the best God Eater game in the series to date. You see, Rage Burst doesn’t attempt to set it self apart from other entries in the series, but it does present improvements to the genre by adding likable characters and a semi-interesting story.
All in all, the battle system of God Eater 2: Rage Burst is much more refined and smooth compared to Resurrection. Furthermore, your AI companions are actually dependable in an intense fight. These points coupled with the deep weapon customization and interesting characters makes God Eater 2: Rage Burst successful in making its mark in the growing genre of monster hunting games. Now if only they took more chances when making it stand out among the game’s previous entries…