“if you’re looking to satisfy an animé game fix, God Eater 3 fills the void nicely.”
As is the case with many older franchises with fresh sequels, I haven't really had the pleasure of playing the previous God Eater games, though I’d been meaning to get around to the series, since a friend insisted these games would be up my alley. And boy, was I in for a treat. I completely forgot that this game looked like an animé. The opening already had me in awe; it became quickly apparent that this game would devour my free time for the next couple of weeks. Here's my review of God Eater 3, developed by Marvelous First Studio and published by Bandai Namco.
The game starts you out as a captive - young, faceless, and hooded. You play as an Adaptive God Eater or AGE for short. That's basically someone who is able to go around the Ashlands, the blasted ruins of the past that are now the outside world, inhospitable to a normal human. Your unique job is to fight and defeat Aragami, this game's version of your standard monsters, mainly to clear up routes for other people to pass through safely.
From here, you'll be able to customize the way your avatar looks. This part took me quite a while, since there were a lot of satisfying choices available, from hairstyles to voices. The game also tells you that you can change some of your appearance later on in-game, for variety's sake, so you don't have to get too attached to the number of clothes you start with - you'll eventually get your own wardrobe that you can mix and match in order to make your experience as animé as you want it to be.
Moving forward, there’s a time-skip early on - you’ve come of age and are now required to take an exam to see if you can survive in the Ashlands. Tutorials will be shown here and there to give you a quick rundown of the basics, with a few cutscenes to round it all up. The story beats will keep on coming as you progress, and this won't be that hard to do. You're more than likely to repeat tasks just for the sake of trying out other weapons and such.
If it isn't apparent enough, God Eater 3 looks and plays similarly to CAPCOM’s Monster Hunter series. While it’s easy to make that comparison, God Eater 3 distinguishes itself in terms of its gameplay, pacing, storytelling, and, of course, the animé aesthetic; if you’re looking to satisfy an animé game fix, God Eater 3 fills the void nicely. As if the concept weren’t Japanese or edgy enough, Ashlands fashion consists of black electrical tape, which ought to satisfy both the “waifu” and “husbando” crowds.
“The lack of impactful player choices gave me a bland feeling of being whisked away into a story narrative, and being a side character who just happened to be there. “
A Divine Smörgåsbord
Hunting and tracking monsters isn't really a thing in God Eater. You're dropped into a small area where you'll fight an Aragami. This ensures that you won’t spend too much time or trouble before getting into the fight.
The Aragami are different beasts compared to the ones in Monster Hunter. They're fast, have very small vulnerability windows, and even when you do happen to break off one of their bonds to stun them, they often have ridiculously large ranges/hitboxes, so you're not completely safe. After all, a cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal.
God Eater 3 features a number of weapons (called God Arcs) to choose from, and all of them are available from the start. So if you're looking to specialize in the newer weapons such as the Biting Edges and the Heavy Moon, you can most definitely do so.
The movesets are varied and streamlined; you unlock more for each of the weapon's special moves as you use them. I myself ended up unlocking all of the movesets for each of the weapons, just so I could figure out which one fits my playstyle the best. The game also includes an extensive weapon crafting tree, close to how Monster Hunter works - you garner parts from devouring defeated Aragami to use for weapon crafting or upgrades.
That being said, there's more than enough meat to chew on once you start going through the motions of playing the game. The repetition in these arena-based combat missions is satisfying enough that you end up breezing through the story as well.
You'll be joined with a couple of the other supporting characters later on, but you will meet Hugo right off the bat. Throughout the whole experience, Hugo was probably my favorite character. He's not only tough, but he also looks great while doing what he does.
These companions kept the game interesting for me. Dialogue between characters felt vanilla and kind of stunted, but I wasn't really expecting much from the story. Regardless, it’s compelling enough that there are only a few slow moments.
In combat, however, your companions fill the roles of teammates and brawl with the Aragami you're up against. While they're great for support, I've never gotten the sense of having them work consistently with my wishes. For example, it’d be nice if one of my teammates would focus on topping off my health whenever I get hit, but they only seem to do this when I'm on the brink of getting incapacitated.
There's also a multiplayer feature - Assaults feature online matches lasting 5 minutes, wherein you play with other people online to defeat a single Aragami. Other than that, you can acquire their avatar cards, so you can use them as companions in-game if you prefer them over the story companions.
An Insatiable Appetite
The game is both beautiful and fun to play. Although I didn't get the chance to play it with other people, it still looks like it'd be a fun multiplayer experience. While the gameplay and aesthetic alone had me hooked, God Eater 3 does indeed have some negative factors I just can't ignore.
The lack of impactful player choices gave me a bland feeling of being whisked away into a story narrative, and being a side character who just happened to be there. Sure, in pretty much every game of this kind, you’ve got protagonist armor and/or plot devices aiding your character, but here, they feel tacked-on. Whenever there's a cutscene, Hugo usually does the talking. Story-wise, I basically felt like Hugo's sidekick, for the most part; that said, I would have been totally fine with this if my character actually felt like a character and not just a player avatar.
There's also the considerable amount of grinding. I'm totally fine with replaying content, but I do know for a fact that this may be a turn off for some people. The repetitive nature of how the game works around fighting the same monsters over and over again can be hit or miss for some. It’s a good thing the combat is God Eater 3’s best feature. It's also why I've spent so many hours just going through it with different weapons. It genuinely made me feel like I was gaining experience in order to get better at fighting the Aragami. It’s truly an exhilarating experience when you can take down an opponent with little trouble.
That’s about it for negatives. The issues are minor, I didn't experience any bugs, and the game ran perfectly on the PS4 Slim. In the current gaming landscape, you kind of expect bugs to pop up now and then while you're playing, but my experience with God Eater 3 was clean and glitch-free.
Overall, God Eater 3 is a great arcade-y hack-and-slash game with an animé aesthetic and matching characters to boot. It might not be a perfect game, but you can bet it's a fun one to jump into if you're just looking to smash some monsters’ faces in with a really big sword.
[This review is based on a PS4 review copy provided to Too Much Gaming by Bandai Namco.]
What I've played
70+ hours spent playing the game
Main game finished once
Did not play multiplayer
All God Arc skills unlocked
(+) Good weapon diversity without getting too complicated
(+) Animé aesthetic, plot, and characters
(+) Big, epic monsters to fight
(-) Moderately grindy
(+) No bugs found during my playthroughs
God Eater 3 is available now on Playstation 4 for $59.99 and PC/Steam for 2,195.00php