God Eater 3 Review
Sony PlayStation 4Also available on PC
The monster hunting sub-genre of RPGs has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years, with new entries in the titular series becoming more accessible to broader audiences as well as new contenders attempting to grab a slice of the behemoth-slaying pie. As the series’ first iteration developed for home consoles, God Eater 3 aims to take a big bite with its broader range of customisation options and shinier coat of anime-styled paint.
The world of God Eater 3 is in the same post-apocalyptic state as previous games, albeit grimmer and darker than ever. Your voiceless character is an Adaptive God Eater - typically called AGE throughout the game - a powerful warrior trained to wield weapons known as God Arcs, and humanity’s last hope for defeating god-like creatures known as Aragami. At this point in the God Eater timeline, AGEs are treated less like heroes, and more like commodities used by government-like bodies called Ports. The game paints this sad state of affairs right from the beginning with the player character and their companions living in a prison along with far younger AGEs who are being raised to take the place of those who fall in battle. During one of your missions, your Port finds itself under attack by Ash Aragami, which are far more formidable than regular ones, leaving you and your crew stranded before being rescued by a vessel commanded by the amply-bosomed Hilda. It's from here where God Eater 3’s story takes off into a more interesting and engaging direction that is entertaining enough if you’re a fan of familiar anime tropes, but will be found wanting if you’re expecting something more.
What makes God Eater 3 a fantastic game is its fast-paced gameplay and deep customisation options. As the story progresses, you unlock new abilities, such as the attack-enhancing Burst Arts, and stat boost sharing Engage system, all of which allow you to build your dream God Eater especially catered to your preferred way of slaying giant monsters. What is particularly enthralling is creating Custom Bullets. You can choose up to 8 different modules to create shots for your ranged attacks with all kinds of properties. The only drawback is that the stronger the properties, the higher the energy cost of each individual shot.
Combat is fast, frenetic and fuelled by your God Arc’s ability to consume power and items from Aragami. One moment you’re lunging at your foes with devastating melee combos, the next you’re dodging their attacks and unloading a barrage of bullets and other ordinance only to dash back in to let your God Arc take a power boosting bite. This specific feature of your God Arc is what activates Burst Mode which opens up the use of the majority of your abilities.
AI teammates are also there to assist you and have their own customisation options called Personal Abilities which allow you to not just enhance their battlefield strength but also their behaviour. This came particularly in handy as we found the companions to be too strong as they were able to kill enemies before we got a chance to jump into the fray. You’ll spend quite a bit of time devising your team’s strategy with options such as assigning teammates to prioritise secondary targets and using healing items when you’re low on HP.
All this crazy action, unfortunately, is padded out by one of the series’ more frustrating hangups. Like its predecessors, God Eater 3 has you wandering around your base looking for characters with speech bubbles to talk to before opening up your next mission, the artificial nature of which is further emphasised by the girl at the desk telling you to wait a bit before you can go off to slay more behemoths. While some of the dialog in these instances can be important to the story, we often found ourselves fast forwarding through the numerous ones that were just there for filler.
Being the first of the series developed specifically for home consoles, God Eater 3’s visuals have evidently been stepped up. Characters look slick and well-defined in their anime art style, and animations during combat are smooth, making attacks feel fulfilling. It’s during story segments where the game decides to take a break and reduce matters to standing around and talking without much expressiveness. The environments, for the most part, look more detailed and there’s a slightly greater variety to the battlefields. However, these battlefields repeat for several missions at a time despite the story moving to different locales on the map. A missed opportunity considering how much more horsepower the developers had to work with.
God Eater 3 is in many ways seen as “Anime Monster Hunter” but that statement is reductive at the least. Its fast-paced combat and staggering customisation options do a solid job of separating it from other games in the sub-genre. There’s a distinct difference between the slower more methodical battles of Monster Hunter and God Eater’s frenetic dances of death. Despite some of its shortcomings, God Eater 3 is a worthy contender in a space that is attracting more attention, and an undeniably solid buy for those itching to slay some giant monsters.