A Sequel Most Equal
HIGH The titular Rage Burst Mechanic…
LOW …which unlocks about thirty or so hours in.
WTF Gil? Gil! That’s not a Glaswegian accent, mate.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst starts off promisingly.
Shortly after starting, a cute, spunky, and slightly demented hammer-wielding psychopath welcomes the main character to the God Eater squadron by stuffing an Oden Sandwich into their hands, offhandedly calling it a ‘sammich’ or suchlike in the process, and therefore inadvertently endearing herself to me forever.
It’s a shame that the rest of game doesn’t follow suit — not because it’s bad, but because it barely evolves past its first few hours of play, and it’s a long, long, loooooong experience.
The God Eater franchise falls into the Hunting genre alongside things like Monster Hunter, Soul Sacrifice and a few others. In this case, mankind’s been pushed to the brink of destruction by monstrous entities known as Aragami, and only the God Eaters have a chance of fighting back thanks to their God Arc Weapons – weapons taking the form of massive hammers, pointy spears, oversized swords, and so on. The team gets chucked into a small arena, destroys the enemies within, and then it’s back to the shop with any bits they can salvage to power up their equipment before heading right back out again.
Having recently played through God Eater: Resurrection (an enhanced remake of the original God Eater Burst) it’s tough to shake just how familiar GE2:RB is. Sure, it features a new storyline taking place several years after the end of the original, but since the two titles have many of the same enhancements it winds up feeling very, very samey. It’s especially bad in the beginning — GE2:RB‘s arena environments and most of the enemies are lifted wholesale from Resurrection.
Not only that, but enemies require nothing more than some routine dodging, locating their weak spots, and smashing away at them until they run away to recover a bit or die. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that 80% of my playtime was spent performing a single move over and over (the hammer’s R1 and Square attack) and my online buddy playing the campaign with me used his circular scythe spin maybe 95% of the time. Given that each boss requires about ten to fifteen minutes of spamming the same attacks, the problem with repetition soon becomes obvious.
The formula does eventually shake itself up somewhat after about thirty hours when the Rage Burst content starts to kick in for real. It’s not much of a shakeup, but it’s enough to differentiate itself from what came before.
After watching the credits roll for the first time (and presumably eating a million of Nana’s delicious Oden sandwiches) new mechanics and enemies start to seep in through the cracks. The most interesting of these is the Rage Burst mechanic, where powering up a God Arc during combat will allow players to make pledges to said weapon. Pledges such as ‘I’m going to do ten thousand points of damage to that enemy‘ or ‘I’m going to swagger over there and smack the bugger a hundred times‘ which must then be completed before a short timer expires. Doing so is more than worthwhile, as it not only powers up the character to the point where they start laying out untold amounts of damage, it also makes them invincible and – amazingly – causes an overly energetic J-rock track to kick in. Using the Rage Burst is gratifying, and should have been available from the start.
All told, I finished up the game about sixty five hours after starting. That sounds like a lot of content, and to be entirely fair, it is. The problem is that most of it isn’t unique or worthwhile enough, and results in huge periods of grinding through enemies that have been felled repeatedly in countless previous missions. It’s like having to finish the first level of Super Mario World a hundred times before being allowed to progress to the next stage, taking away from the player’s enjoyment of the game rather than adding to it.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst also reveals other, less serious annoyances as the storyline progresses. For example, character missions where players can get to know the supporting cast through optional sidestories are locked out of the multiplayer mode for some unknown reason. The crafting menu for creating new items is one of the worst I’ve seen, where scanning through a list looking for components is rendered ridiculously awkward through the absence of an alphabetical sorting option. Most concerning is that the online population appears to be incredibly sparse, and it’s only made worse by the fact that potential teammates are gated off from each other by individual character progression and the inability to join matches in progress.
While I do think I’d have been slightly less burnt out if I’d played it in smaller doses over a longer period (and finishing its prequel beforehand didn’t help either, I’m sure), God Eater 2: Rage Burst proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there really can be far, far too much of an entirely okay thing.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Shift and published by Bandai Namco Games. It is currently available on PS4, PC and Playstlation Vita. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 2 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed since the campaign is playable in co-op. 65 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated Teen and contains blood, mild language, partial nudity, suggestive themes, use of alcohol and tobacco and violence. Fret not though! That may be a long list of vices, but it’s all pretty cartoony stuff with little bite. So to speak.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Nothing more than the standard disclaimers apply. While battlefield audio information may be missing, it’s unlikely to cause too much problems. Plenty of subtitles and visual indicators are available to assist.
Remappable Controls: Certain functions are remappable.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.
The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.
Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.