God Eater 2: Rage Burst – review

We are big fans of the “go on a mission to kill things that are much bigger than you” type of game – and God Eater 2: Rage Burst is exactly that sort of game. It’s easy to compare it to Monster Hunter, so we will. It’s not as good as Monster Hunter, but then few things are. However, Monster Hunter isn’t on PC (well not properly at least), and God Eater is, and it’s a fun game.

There’s a God Eater Anime and while it is in the same universe it’s not necessary to have spent any time watching it to get to grips with the game. The Godlike (Demonlike) Aragami appeared on Earth and started to kill everything, so now children and young adults (God Eaters) are given weapons fused with some Aragami powers which allows them to save all of humanity (hopefully).

It pulls no punches when it talks lore at you. An onslaught of nouns that left us confused for a fair heft of the early game; it made us feel inept at working with the different weapons, systems and the exasperating list of upgrades, skills and general stats. There is a database filled to brim with explanations for most, but not all, of the terms. It’s not alphabetised so it ends up being an incoherent mess rather than a useful guide to the world, where you might never even find what you’re looking for.

Jargon aside there is still a huge amount to get your head around and it’s overwhelming at first… and second…and some things still confuse us a little. Thankfully, the combat is dead easy to learn and all the weapons feel viable. They offer a range of playstyles and once you gain access to Blood Arts, you can augment a single aspect of the attacks a weapon makes. This does make some attacks just far better or more fun, but we found the most viable attacks tended to be ones that just attacked over and over again because the damage was far greater with those and, other than the risk of RSI, it seemed to be just that little bit easier.

At the beginning it’s a little too easy for a few too many missions. There’s perhaps a little too little going on in almost every level. The maps are smallish, some being snugger than others, and when we were up against multiple beasties of the smaller kind it was alright. Even when it was just a few small ones and a big one it was still quite cosy. Two big ones in a smaller map? Not so much snug, but crowded and less fun. It’s challenging when this happens but with the maps being quite small, even if the Aragami are at opposite ends they tend to find their way to one another while you’re battling. The game is at its best when you have staggered encounters as you get updated on how close a new enemy is, slowly increasing the tension; it makes the rush to defeat whatever’s in front of you all the more exciting. It also makes missions that throw loads of larger enemies at you at once less interesting and more frustrating by comparison.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the camera was better equipped to the task but, when fighting the larger ones, as you sometimes have to move into corners of the map, or near walls or other Aragami, the camera doesn’t like this so you won’t see most of what’s going on as something will block off your view. We were left flailing (actually literally flailing our hammer) at the large Aragami as we wanted to hit their weak spots from a corner. All we could see was some hind leg and some numbers. Which is not particularly helpful, especially when the game is at its best when you can react to the movements Aragami make.

Surprisingly, the time spent in missions for most levels up to about difficulty 5/6 is probably going to be 5-10 minutes at most, as it was for us. Most missions are relatively straightforward and only a few enemies could take the beating we were handing out for any extended period of time. That’s not a bad thing in itself but when it’s paired up with poor pacing of the story, it does feel like there are too many “Story” missions and not enough “Free” missions.

When we say poor pacing we mean really poor, it progresses at a monolithic pace. Between missions we were scurrying back and forth to the various areas of whichever base we were currently on and it normally only consisted of four maybe five lines of dialogue. It’s just overly frivolous and means everything is disjointed and often inconsequential. It’s epitomised by a character that has been injured talking to you over the course of the intermissions of about four missions, only revealing the crucial information right at the end when there are clearly people who are in danger and their safety is paramount.

In that regard it feels like a teen anime game. In many ways it is. While a fair portion of the cast is 18-25, a fair few are either child soldiers or were at one point. Most of the female characters are dressed for male titillation with a main character, Nana, managing to wear something more revealing than underwear. It’s also got a plot that we saw coming from a mile off, as it’s less than subtle at foreshadowing what’s going on.

Despite the camera and the poor pacing it’s still a fun game; it’s by no means Monster Hunter but it’s not really trying to be. It offers a nice bit of hack and slash with a surprising amount of depth and customisation. The story might be a bit old hat but if you want a Podcast game, then this is a really good candidate.

critical score 7

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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