I have largely avoided the Monster Hunter games as the thought of diving into a series that is known for its unique learning curve and (at times) outdated mechanics never appealed to me. That part of my brain that enjoys obsessive loot-gathering, though, has always been intrigued by this style of game. While it may suffer from problems of its own, GOD EATER: Resurrection works well as an entry vector into the world of hunting/crafting action-RPGs.
Set in a future where powerful beings, called Aragami, have all but wiped out life on the planet, you are part of a special force tasked with fighting back and bringing the Aragami threat to an end. As a “God Eater,” you’re equipped with a special weapon (God Arc) that is infused with some of the same organic matter (Oracle Cells) that comprises the Aragami (hence why you’re able to hurt them). Over the course of the game’s 100 missions, you’ll uncover more about these mysterious organisms and the weapons that you use as the narrative takes you through some themes that will feel all too familiar to any anime fan of the past couple decades. Each of these missions will play out roughly the same. You’ll get some info on what Aragami you’ll be going after this time, gather up the crew (be they human or A.I.) you want to back you up, choose your weapon, gun, and bullets, then head out to slay the target(s). Rinse and repeat until the game is over.
It’s worth noting here that Resurrection is a remake of the God Eater Burst title that was released in 2011 for the PSP. Despite the five year difference, many of the pros and cons that Locke highlighted in his review of the title back then are still relevant today, particularly with regards to the monotonous nature of the missions, the welcome break the story provides, the confusing bullet crafting system (though that has gotten a little tweak), and the (at times) clunky controls. However, that doesn’t mean Resurrection is just a high-resolution port.
Beyond the obvious graphical improvements, most of the game’s enhancements are found in its underlying systems. The number of weapons from which you can choose, for instance, has been increased from five to nine, which allows you to enjoy a little more variety in your play style. You can also further customize your gear thanks to the addition of a new reward, the “Abandoned God Arc,” a special item you’ll earn by completing missions that are classified as difficulty level four or higher. These allow you to enhance your weapons with new special abilities, like doing more melee damage, or earning more post-mission rewards, in order to make gear that best suits you.
Speaking of rewards, the materials you receive for completing a mission are now doled out more frequently than in God Eater Burst, thereby better ensuring you’ll get that rarer drop without having to run the same mission 20 times. The A.I. characters even have support abilities now that can further increase the rewards you receive. It’s a smart move, overall, to streamline the “gathering” portion of the game as it helps cut down that feeling of spending most of your time grinding for gear instead of playing the game.
The new weapons and the revamped rewards systems aren’t wholly new ideas that Bandai Namco and developer Shift thought up for this remaster. Both are taken from the upcoming GOD EATER 2 Rage Burst title that will see a U.S. release next month. I can’t help but wonder if this was done so Bandai Namco could garner enough interest in the series so there would be more interest in the new entry when it arrives next month. It’s not a bad motivation, per se, but it does leave Resurrection in this weird spot where it feels like a bit of a placeholder. That feeling is most apparent when trying to find a co-op session.
Even a week after its release, joining a random person’s game at any given point in time was extremely difficult. Three weeks later, it’s next to impossible. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure you have a group of people to play with on a consistent basis is to do so with your friends, which means buying up to four copies of the game. This is nothing I hold against the game or the developers, as it’s possible there just aren’t a whole lot of people playing it now, but it’s something that’s worth highlighting from a co-op perspective as battling Aragami with other players is a far better experience than playing alone.
The main crux of any confrontation with an Aragami is that it has certain weaknesses to different elements (Blaze, Frost, Spark, and Divine) and different damage types (Sunder, Piercing, and Crush). For the most part, you can easily choose the appropriate combination of weapon, gun, and bullets to cover any one Aragami’s weaknesses. However, as the difficulty progresses, you’ll face off against multiple Aragami with very few (if any) overlapping weaknesses. This is where your companions are the most beneficial.
With a group of human players, you can work out who is going to equip what so you have the best chances of being able to bring down the enemies efficiently. The Aragami never seem to scale based on the number of players, so the more the merrier. If you’re not able to find enough human players then you can always fill empty spots with an NPC, which could be one of the preset A.I. bots or an A.I. controlled version of a human player you’ve played with previously. The latter is achieved thanks to an interesting mechanic where you can trade “Avatar Cards” with any human player. This card stores two of that player’s equipment sets (which are done in the Loadout menu) as well as some metadata about their preferred play style, e.g., do they favor guns over weapons, how often do the heal their comrades, so that the A.I. can mimic that behavior. It’s similar to the pawns in Dragon’s Dogma.
If you’re forced to rely on the built-in NPC companions, don’t worry. For the most part, they do just fine and can act as suitable meat shields when needed. The biggest drawback to them is the lack of customization. While you can customize their “Personal Abilities” (i.e., abilities that boost their health, defense, make their attacks poison the aragami, and more), the equipment they use is fixed. This means you’re the one that has to adjust to them and you will likely have to spend more time replaying some missions in order to get the proper components to upgrade all of your gear instead of just that particular set you like.
There’s just enough that GOD EATER: Resurrection does right that I’m interested in seeing more. I’m curious, now, to see what comes of GOD EATER 2 Rage Burst and hopeful that it does a better job of fixing those areas where Resurrection still falls flat. I came away from the game feeling like there’s some promise here for a solid franchise and that it makes a case for why the hunting/crafting variant of the action-RPG can be fun, even if the proceedings aren’t always that exciting.
Our Co-Op Review of GOD EATER: Resurrection is based on the PlayStation 4 version. A code was provided by the publisher for review purposes.