It is easy to compare God Eater Burst to any other Monster Hunter game. Both of these action RPGs have you running around with a party of four, battling giant creatures and harvesting their organs for your new hat. While between missions you use all the body parts, scrap metal, and plants you find to construct bigger and better equipment, in hopes of using your new items to take on more ferocious enemies. Now comparisons like this are unavoidable, but calling God Eater Burst nothing but a Monster Hunter clone would not be doing this game justice. The quick pacing of the missions, variable combat, and slow but satisfying storyline sets Gods Eater Burst far enough apart from the Monster Hunter series. It is not a perfect game by any means as some people will become frustrated with the controls and camera and I predict die hard Monster Hunter fans will scoff at the abridged style of the game. With these points in mind, it was difficult to deny the satisfaction of hunting giant monsters with my friends that Gods Eater Burst gave me.
What is appealing about God Eater Burst is the infusion of a story and setting that is actually appealing to the player. After a satisfying character creation you are tossed right into an anime style story (read – LONG) that takes place in the Far East in the not so distant apocalyptic future. It revolves around a core group of “God(s) Eaters” who are all part of an anti-monster organization known as Fenrir. Your job as the new recruit is to lead your party of 4, mission by mission to eradicate the earth of monsters called “Aragami”. I will warn you that the story begins off very slowly but it eventually develops into an engrossing experience filled with voice acting and over 100 missions for you and your friends to co-operatively tackle. If you don’t have any friends, the game fills in the empty positions with competent AI party members.
Aragami come in all different shapes and sizes
The mission structure is completely piece-meal and it works perfectly for being a portable game. You head to the kiosk and pick from the list of missions (sorted by difficulty) then away you go. Like any good creature pursuing game, preparation is essential before you head into battle. Unlike the others in the genre the quest giver actually drops you some serious hints about what the Aragami weakness is. I don’t have time to waste when I am on the go with portable games so these pro-tips were a keystone in my efficiency and success throughout the game.
The missions themselves take between five and ten minutes, depending on the level of difficulty. It was awesome to be able to hop into a mission, find the creature, slay it, and head home all within a matter of minutes. The ease of access into God Eater Burst was much different than any other game of this nature and it drove me to play more. The only detriment I finally came across was the repetition of the mission structure. The game did not once deviate from the routine of head out, kill monster X/Y/Z, come back for loot. I wish there was some diversity in the missions as I did not really have to change any of my tactics from mission to mission. Every time I ran as fast as I could with my giant sword ready to slice whatever came in my way and this did the trick every time.
The weapons are pretty righteous, too bad there are so few of them
Speaking of giant swords, the combat in the game is definitely satisfying even if they are trying to overcompensate... Each character is armed with a giant blade, a massive cannon, and a large shield to boot. There are three variants to each type of equipment, allowing the player to choose a loadout that suits their play style. I dabbled with each combination but I was drawn towards the largest sword I could find and an assault cannon that could shot as many bullets as possible. While in combat the game does a good job of forcing you to juggle between sword and gun, but they have thrown a twist in that you can only fire your projectile when you have filled the gauge by using melee attacks. It sounds annoying, but it is a smooth transition and a good design choice to ensure that the player gets up close and personal with the Aragami.
The controls are standard for this style of game and that means that you will be battling the camera for the most part. Luckily D3 has included a lock on button (L1) that allows you to easily track your prey. I have to say that I prefer the combat in God Eater Burst just because it was smooth and easy to get into. Once I conquered the camera issues with a veteran ‘claw grip’ on the PSP I was downing monsters and making baskets out of their insides in no time.
Where I think the game falls short is really on the crafting portion. Much of your time will be spent trying to make new and improved equipment, but God Eater Burst feels like they diluted the crafting system in favour of more streamlined action. There are only a handful of new items to create and it is really a shame when all of the other parts of the game come together quite well. Instead of having a huge repertoire of items to craft God Eater Burst has opted for a bullet-creation system that is overly complicated and not satisfying at all. The investment of time that players usually put into these types of games comes with amazing equipment rewards and these are just not there as they went with a more immediately accessible more action oriented experience. What the final result is, I quickly found how repetitive the game is and there was no real draw since I knew that there was no ultimate weapon that I was striving to create.
The bullet customization system is overly complicated, you need a math degree to use it.
Being a PSP game, and living in North America you are going to need to utilize Ad-Hoc party because our commuter culture is just not there to justify taking this on the train with you in hopes of grabbing a couple random party members. A nice addition was the computer controlled party members that were mostly competent. No matter what, I was able to play with a team and that goes a long way in my books. When I did manage to grab a couple buddies to play with the missions were much more fun, just like any other good coop game game – it is always better with friends. What I enjoyed the most was the roles that each of us could take. One would outfit themselves to be a sniper, while the rest of us filled in team slots with medic, soldier, and defender. While not entirely necessary, your success will depend on a balanced team and I like being able to choose my equipment for the job.
The team dynamics play a huge part in taking down the monsters and when you are downed your team mates can give up half of their current heath to bring you back to life. A really cool feature because it emphasizes camaraderie and sacrifice for the mission, something that I feel is lacking from many co-operative games in this day and age.
God Eater Burst is an accessible action RPG that does enough differently from Monster Hunter that I feel it carves out its own spot in the genre. It presents a streamlined, action focused perspective that is easily accessible to both seasoned veterans and rookies of beast stalking. If you can get past the shallow crafting system and repetitive mission structure there is a strong story driven co-op focused game for you.