God Eater 2: Rage Burst released in Japan last year, itself an extended version of 2013’s PSP title God Eater 2. Ever since its release Western fans of the series have been clamouring for the game to release over on these shores, and luckily Bandai Namco listened!
Set in a post-apocalyptic Japan, God Eater 2: Rage Burst sees you play as a member of the Blood faction of God Eaters, a group of people who take on missions to defeat gigantic creatures called Aragami – who have brought destruction and devastation to the country. The Blood faction are unique from other God Eaters in that they can channel an ability called Blood Arts, skills that can alter the course of battle in one moment.
Once you have created your character and viewed the opening cinematic, you arrive in one of the game’s hub areas as a fresh faced God Eater ready for battle. These hub areas have various levels where you can find characters, and all feature a terminal where you can manage your loadouts, abilities and items, and an Operator desk where you can accept missions and find out what you need to do next in order to advance the game’s story.
Once you’ve chosen a mission and selected up to three AI companions to join you (or human players using the game’s online features) you take to one of the various areas to do battle against the Aragami that threaten your people’s existence. These missions generally contain a few small aragami and one gigantic one to do battle with. The game gives you a rather generous forty minutes to defeat these foes – I found myself beating most stages within ten minutes – and you have a wide array of skills at your disposal to defeat these beasts.
There are numerous melee weapons for you to choose from in the game, and you also have a gun for long range attacks. You will need to use both of these weapons during battle to defeat your foes, and switching between them is as simple as a quick press of the Right trigger. Your melee weapon can be used to perform either a light or heavy attack, and each attack builds an OP (Oracle Point) meter, giving you the ability to use your gun to fire whatever ammo you have equipped. When using your melee weapons you can lock-on to enemies using the Left trigger – this will prove useful as the camera can be erratic at times, although the lock-on does fail at times when things on the screen get a bit too hectic or if things move to quick. Finally, there is a ‘Devour’ ability. When you are in melee mode you can use your God Arc to ‘devour’ a nearby target. You can perform this move on either defeated enemies or during battle, and doing so will allow you to gather materials from your foes whilst also powering yourself up. The AI characters will make use of this often during battle, and it is an extremely useful move that you will want to get into the habit of using!
One thing that God Eater 2: Rage Burst doesn’t do well is explaining what everything in the game does. It took me a while to figure out how to switch the ammo I had equipped, and also how to use the various God Arcs that you unlock at the end of each mission that can be applied to your weapons to boost your skills.
I found that this alienated me from the game at first. I was going into missions with next to no abilities or skills equipped, and as I progressed through the missions I found the game to be getting quite tough – even with the three AI characters helping me out. After about eight or so hours, once I figured out what was going on and started crafting new weapons and equipping abilities, I found myself enjoying the game a lot more. I was soon selecting the right weapons for each mission and dishing out a lot of damage. The database that is available in the terminals in the hub areas is especially invaluable – telling you all about the Aragami and what their weaknesses are, allowing you to prepare for battle as best as you can.
Luckily, your AI teammates are excellent in God Eater 2: Rage Burst. They are great fighters, rarely dying in battle and they will also look out for you if ever you need healing or reviving. The strength of the AI can make the game feel a little easy at times, but when you are in the thick of it in some of the later stages, you will be thankful of all the help you can get – and the characters all have a great sense of camaraderie that accentuates the friendship and sense of teamwork between the God Eaters.
This extends to the cutscenes in between missions, which break up the monstrous battles with light-hearted and humorous encounters. The characters look great, and the English voice-overs are pretty good. The only thing that I will say is that the game’s story feels a bit weak, at times I failed to understand what was going on and it seems like it has just been written to act as a filler for the downtime between the battles that you will fight. Again though, the longer I played, the more I got sucked into the game and I found that I couldn’t put it down – always longing for one more mission before I put my Vita down.
If you are looking to see everything that God Eater 2: Rage Burst has to offer, putting your Vita down is something you will not be doing for a long time! The game is packed full of content and it will take you 100-plus hours to see everything the game has to offer. Aside from the main story missions there are hard missions that up the ante, special missions that appear from time to time, individual character missions that extend a character-specific story arc and the additional Rage Burst missions – so more than enough content for you to get through, not to mention the added bonus of the original game, God Eater: Resurrection, bundled in as part of this content heavy package. Put it this way, due to the sheer scale of this game there is still plenty for me to see and do long after this review has been written!
Overall, God Eater 2: Rage Burst runs really well and is great fun once you have got past the initial barrier of not really knowing what you are doing. There are some textures that will remind you that this originated as a PSP game (especially the arenas that you do battle in), and there isn’t much variety amongst the general, grunt-like Aragami. Other than that though, the game looks and sounds pretty damn great – and will feel instantly familiar for fans of either Toukiden or Freedom Wars. Bandai Namco may have taken their time getting this game to you but once you have your hands on it, it will be a long time before you can put this monster of a game down!