Life has been all but decimated by mysterious and dangerous creatures known as Aragami, and cities lay in ruin from Ashblight. To combat these powerful beings, humanity has crafted ‘God Arcs’, biomechanical and multifunctional weapons which utilise the Oracle cells of the Aragami. But these weapons can only be wielded by unique beings known as God Eaters; people who are bonded with the weapon and infused with the same Oracle cells. Forced to roam the wastelands at the command of the dregs of society, these God Eaters are the only thing standing between humanity’s survival and total extinction.
God Eater 3 is the latest instalment in Bandai Namco Entertainment’s monster fighting franchise, and the first game to release on a home console as opposed to previous instalments’ handheld origins. The core premise of the game is relatively simple – you are a warrior, part of a team of God Eaters whose mission is to set out and destroy Aragami with your powers and save humanity. The game (and story) plays on a lot of tropes and clichés that we are used to in both anime and RPG games of the like (our protagonist has heightened abilities above those of their peers, they have a special connection with a mysterious being, etc) and is relatively stock-standard, but still entertaining. Additionally, we are treated with a great soundtrack and voice acting that doesn’t make me cringe every five minutes (though the dialogue could use work, as always).
Stylistically the game appears as you would expect, though quite polished too – making great use of the 3D cel-shaded technique so many anime-styled games are known for. Mixed with brilliant colours and glowing effects, this game definitely doesn’t disappoint in the visuals department. It does suffer from a typical male gaze though, which is evident from the older female characters – you’ll know what I mean when you see the character Hilda.
The gameplay of God Eater 3 will be strangely familiar to anyone who has played a hack and slash action RPG before; you select a mission for your character (and your squad mates), get dropped into the warzone, and hunt down your target to defeat within the time limit. Your God Arc has two functions – weapon mode (twin blades, swords, two-handers, hammers, etc) and gun mode (sniper, shotgun, rifle) which can be used to your gameplay advantage depending on how you fight and the enemies you encounter. When in gun mode, your God Arc expends DP which you can recharge by hacking and slashing the enemy. The God Arc also has a shield mode as well which you can use to block and dodge, allowing you to be strategic when fighting your opponents. Additionally, you can dive through the air which allows for quick escapes to retreat or dodge.
Using your Devour power, you can attack the enemies by taking a huge bite out of them (which can also obtain items and collectibles which can be sold later) which charges your Burst Arts attacks. These can be powered up over time and allow strong attacks against the Aragami, which can also be chained together to make you an unstoppable machine – combine this with the ‘Engage’ mode where you link up with your NPC God Eaters and you can obliterate the enemy in no time. It is at this point that the combat tends to get frustrating though; through all the heavy button-mashing and pressing, there’s no enemy health bar to tell you how far you have to go, and no way of defending yourself if you get knocked down in the middle of a heavy combo.
Of course, now comes the annoyances. The targeting system leaves a lot to be desired as it easily switches on and off the enemy. That is, if you can remember which button it was – the amount of button bindings and keypresses gets extremely complicated (I was jumping around when trying to pick up items) and half the time you won’t do what you want to do. The gameplay itself is a tad repetitive, and follows the structure of starting at your home base, interacting with everyone, choosing a mission and then going out and fighting monsters, over and over again. And when you’re in your home base, your character walks with the speed of watching paint dry (unless you hold down R1 – seriously, whose idea was that?)
There’s just something about engaging all your special attacks at once and unleashing on an evil Aragami that is almost soothing and stress relieving; seeing an explosion of neon colours on the screen as you obliterate your enemy in a flurry of blades and weaponry. God Eater 3 may not be as flashy as its peers, but it is still a good entry to the series and is sure to appease fans of the series as well as the genre.
THE PS4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY ITS PUBLISHER.
God Eater 3 doesn’t particularly do anything new and amazing for the hack-and-slash RPG genre – but what it does, it does really well. Despite the drags of the narrative, and extreme gripes with button bindings (and sometimes forgetting which buttons to press), God Eater 3 manages to keep you wanting more through combat, weapon upgrades and different battle tactics.