Archives by Day

God Eater 3

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Feb. 8, 2019

About Andreas Salmen

I'm sure this is all just a misunderstanding.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PS4 Review - 'God Eater 3'

by Andreas Salmen on May 31, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

God Eater 3 is the latest iteration of the monster-slaying Action RPG series, where you team up with other God Eaters equipped with the latest God Arc weapons to take down monstrous new Aragami tearing apart locations around the globe.

Buy God Eater 3

It's been roughly a year since Monster Hunter World took the monster-slaying genre mainstream and received a lot of critical acclaim, but it's not the only franchise with towering creatures, massive bladed weapons, and resource gathering. The God Eater series contains equal measures of the same ingredients in an arguably more accessible and action-oriented package.

After several entries that mainly focused on the PSP and Vita, God Eater 3 ditched its portable entries in favor of the PC and PS4, which enables the series to evolve in presentation and scope. The third mainline God Eater title takes a step back from previous games and tries to mix its core gameplay with small additions and an entirely new storyline, so it's easier to jump in if you're not familiar with the series.

Much like its predecessors, God Eater 3 tells the story of a world infested with Aragami, which are large, god-like creatures that roam the earth and can pose a serious threat to humanity. That's why there needs to be a defense mechanism against them. As if that weren't enough to deal with, an event called Ashlands consumed everything and made the surface inhabitable while introducing even fiercer Ash Aragami. To fend off the monsters, some children are crossed with Aragami to wield massive weapons (God Arcs). Half-human and half-Aragami, they are called Adaptive God Eaters, or AGEs.

GE3 is set in an interesting universe and has enough lore to both entice and confuse newcomers, as the introduction is relatively shallow. The database is a great help, especially considering the amount of terminology and skills that the game throws at you. Having played the game for hours on end, there is a high probability that I still regularly mistake some of the many names and gameplay systems.

At the beginning of GE3, we can create our own character with some limited cosmetic choices to make the avatar our own that follows the general anime style of the game. We are one of three main AGEs in the port of Pennywort, and we're held as slaves to fend off Aragami and gather resources. We're dreaming of a shot at a better life, and a friendly caravan that promises shelter and short-term work finally offers us the prospect on freedom. We venture into the world and face the Aragami to drive the story forward.

GE3 quickly has you slaying monsters. Dedicated fans of the series may roll their eyes when I use Monster Hunter as a point of comparison, but the games are essentially similar. Before we can slay anything, we need to accept a mission from our base, which informs us about expected Aragami and potential item drop rates and rewards. Based on that information, we prepare our equipment, craft items or improvements, prepare items, and head out to slay another Aragami. Upon return, we may have gained more resources, equipment blueprints, and money, which we can spend to improve our gear. While that sounds eerily familiar to the aforementioned Monster Hunter, GE3 plays very differently in some regards.

Monster Hunter's combat is rather slow, but God Eater a fast-paced offensive feast that rewards tactical gameplay without sacrificing flashy moves. Our character has access to one melee and one ranged weapon, which can be transformed into one another at any point in time. The latter is tied to an OP-meter that is refilled as we perform moves on the battlefield. Melee consists of normal and heavy attacks that change if we perform them on the ground, in the air, or after a step. That opens up a few combo opportunities and is supplemented by the options to deploy a shield, a special attack per weapon type, and the ability to "dive" (raise your shield and dodge). Our gun can perform two types of attacks that shoot different pre-equipped ammo types.

Weapon types also make a difference and offer various perks, such as damage, range and speed. For the first time in the series, a dual-wielding blade is introduced that can quickly transform into a single long blade for slower attacks that reach farther and deal more damage. Add to that the usual symposium of short and long blades, hammers, and scythes. Projectile weapons are divided into laser weapons, shotguns and snipers, so mix and match to see what combination fits the best for your play style.

Raining down attacks on Aragami big and small is a joy, and it's rewarding to use an enemy's attack patterns against them. All Aragami have their own distinct look that ranges wildly from animal look-alikes to mechanical beasts. Once the armor of one part comes off — also called "breaking the bond" — the beast is stunned, and that area becomes more receptive to damage. Concentrating your attacks on specific areas, breaking bonds, and maximizing the damage you deal is empowering and yields additional rewards upon mission completion. That's just the basics. The game features many more items that it never really tells you about, such as traps and ability enhancers, that can tip the battle in your favor.

A key attack that AGEs possess is the Devour move, which bites a chunk out of an opposing Aragami. Then we enter a state called Burst mode, which greatly amplifies our abilities on the battlefield with higher damage and buffs, as well as Burst Arts, which are additional attack types that we can equip on weapons. We can use one Burst Art per attack type (air, ground and step) and an additional area effect for each attack. Ideally, we should try to devour regularly to keep Burst mode active and as high as possible to deal more damage and adjust our Burst Art attacks accordingly. Using Burst Art attacks allows us to level up and unlock more attacks for each weapon type. Burst is the height of the battle, and staying in that mode is pivotal to taking down beasts quickly and gaining rewards. For the first time in the series, we even face the Ash Aragami, which can devour AGEs to enter their own burst mode and deal even heavier damage.

This may seem slightly complicated, but the combat in GE3 scales quite well, and even if you don't master everything, you'll be OK. Many of these systems are integral to the experience, but many encounters can be won by simply mashing your way through or ineffectively using the systems without any specific tactics. It also helps that an encounter isn't over once you bite the dust, and you can be revived multiple times by teammates before everything is lost. This impacts the rewards and rating you'll receive at the end, but it lowers the difficulty significantly.

Once we return to our trusty mission HQ, we need to prep for what's next. The prepping part can feel overwhelming with the highly convoluted menus, underexplained systems, and an abundance of buffs and resources that are as varied as they are cryptic. On the surface, it's relatively easy to craft and upgrade your ammunition or one of the God Arc weapons, but the payoff is rarely obvious. Since the missions are the most fun part of GE3 but rarely last longer than a couple of minutes, it kills the pace to repeatedly spend as much time (or longer) messing with the menus in between missions. This integral part of the experience could've been done in a more intuitive and faster way.

The mediocre story often provides the most frustrating roadblocks. Approximately every 2-3 missions, the game tells us that missions are unavailable and we have to return later to resume. That means we need to search HQ for all interactable characters that may want to speak with us. The caravan isn't huge, but it's big enough to take a while to find and talk to a roster of characters. Sometimes, we hear a variation of, "Hey, you're doing well," or, "That's too bad," before we can return to get a new mission assignment. This creates a feeling of GE3 forcibly slamming the brakes every few minutes to rip you from your adrenaline rush after you beat another boss. This creates frustration and very odd pacing that the game could do without, especially since the story isn't that great to begin with.

Completing the story mode can take roughly 20 hours, depending on how much of a completionist you are. Missions only vary in the types of Aragami that are presented, as mission areas are enclosed stages that repeat regularly (like Monster Hunter), and the objectives don't differ much, either. In essence, we keep returning to the same subset of areas to fight new and returning Aragami, but it can be repetitive, especially when the game decides to increase the difficulty by giving you more Aragami at the same time. The only change in the single-player mission structure is expeditions, where we occasionally have to tackle multiple missions in succession, limiting the amount of prep we can do between missions and carrying deaths over.

GE3 includes an online co-op mode that lets us play all missions with other human players. This is fully integrated into the regular single-player game and can be started at any time. We can choose Assault Missions, which are special battle events with a time limit and up to seven human allies on the battlefield trying to take down the biggest Aragami. This mode yields special rewards, some of which are needed in the single-player game if you want to get the most out of it. It even features a ranking system based on performance. Other missions can be tackled by a regular party of four online friends; it's organized via a party system, and anyone can host a room. This is probably the best way to grind for materials, as we keep everything we gain online, and we can finish the missions way quicker with some human help.

From a technical perspective, GE3 runs great without too many irregularities. It isn't the prettiest game, but it succeeds in emulating anime-like visuals with detailed character models of all human characters and even more impressive Aragami models. Environments are a bit bland and rarely a sight to behold, but once in the action, they aren't really the center of attention. The repetition of environments grows old rather quickly, though. All in all, it runs and looks good enough, it serves the game very well, and it supports the gameplay perfectly, which is all one can ask for in this instance.

The story frequently goes for anime tropes that rarely have the desired emotional impact. On the flip side, the non-playable characters are interesting enough that you can forgive the title's narrative shortcomings. The voice acting and dialogue is somewhere between passable and bleak, but there's an option to change the voice-over to Japanese.

When combining all of its parts, GE3 is a roller-coaster ride of intense, adrenaline-filled battles, long trips through convoluted menus, and a bland story that is forced on you. For everything excellent, there is an element that can use some work. It gets better with time. As you unlock all abilities and skills and get a hang of its systems, the title opens up significantly, and it's incredibly fun to complete missions in the online co-op mode. Bandai Namco plans to release additional missions and story bits in free updates in the future, so there is even more content on the horizon.

Fans will certainly appreciate God Eater 3 as a solid continuation of the franchise. Newcomers, however, will probably have to force their way through a significant part of the experience to feel the same joy. There is a solid monster-slaying action-RPG buried under here; it's just a matter of how deep you're willing to dig to uncover its treasures.

Score: 6.8/10

More articles about God Eater 3
blog comments powered by Disqus