I love GOD EATER as a franchise, as it takes everything I like about Monster Hunter and throws away everything I don’t, replacing it with better stuff. So, I was looking forward to getting back to clouting Aragami with big swords with a GOD EATER 3 review.
Your first step into the world sees you creating whatever beautiful abomination you might want to make in the character creator. This is surprisingly in depth, giving the player a lot of freedom in creating their avatar in the game world. Elements such as hair and accessories can be altered in-game too, in case you fancy a change from time-to-time.
As your then stupidly dressed player character, you’re thrown into a prison called a “Port” with other equally stupidly dressed people, as you’re forced to complete Missions for no real discernable purpose. This does level out and open up within the first few hours of the game, however, taking you on board Hilda’s caravan.
At this point, the various factions and organisations come in to play in the narrative, along with the secret cargo that Hilda is carrying for a suspiciously high fee. More characters join the fold too, bringing their own motivations and history to the story. Much like many anime titles, the narrative twists and turns, with some actually surprising moments.
Sadly though, the story is not the strong point of GOD EATER 3, with a lot of it heavily veering into stale and well-trodden tropes instead of trying anything new. As such, after a while, we couldn’t help but skip a lot of the dialogue and narrative moments just to get back to the infinitely more enjoyable side of the game – the gameplay.
Who doesn’t like hitting impossibly big monsters with weapons the size of buildings? Well, that’s the order of the day here, and the various Aragami are your marks. Using a variety of light attacks, heavy blows, dodges, and careful blocking, you engage and take down your foes of various powers and abilities.
First you need to choose your weapon. which runs the range between twin blades and huge hammers, casually stopping at scythes on the way. You can change your load outs at the terminal between missions, so definitely give all of them a try. Especially the firearms as the differences between them are staggering.
These aren’t the only powers at your disposal though, as all AGEs like yourself have the ability to “devour” your enemies. This serves multiple purposes, aside from causing damage, such as harvesting resources from dead Aragami and activating your ace in the hole in terms of combat ability – Burst.
Burst gives the player a boost in pretty much all stats whilst the state is active, and gives access to the Burst Arts. These special moves will replace certain moves in your repertoire with more powerful attacks that can be levelled up, used to unlock other Burst Arts, and can be switched out to suit your playstyle (I personally love ones with vampiric effects).
Every mission sees you working with up to three AI companions, that all operate independently of the player, but can be linked with through the Engage System to temporarily boost the abilities of you and your allies (this can be set through the menus too). These characters actually behave pretty well during encounters, so you rarely have to worry about them.
The different Aragami all have different abilities and weaknesses, so picking the right allies, skill loadout and weaponry before an encounter is key here. In fact, it’s astounding how much strategy can be found here, with the player having the ability to (should they want to, of course) micro-manage every aspect of themselves and their allies.
This is where the extensive upgrade and levelling system comes in. Almost every ability can be levelled up through use, every weapon can be upgraded if you have the blueprint and required components, and every character can have their abilities altered and upgraded. If this is your thing – as it is mine – you’ll be spending a lot of time in menus and loving it.
Finally, the multiplayer, which allows the hunt to play out over the internet in a somewhat heartwarming collaborative effort. This means that the game can be played with four-player co-op, for those that aren’t a fan of the AI allies, or you can take on Assault Missions that allow up to eight players to combine their strength against a tougher Aragami.
The best thing about these modes is how consistent the net code is, as a poor connection between players would ruin any semblance of strategy. But I personally had no issues with finding other players or in the gameplay itself. A game as frenetic as this could have been severely tarnished by poor online but Bandai Namco and Marvelous have done great work here.
Aesthetically, GOD EATER 3 is a bit of a mixed bag, with the visuals and sound design itself being absolutely incredible but being supported by lacklustre musical tracks. All of the character models are distinctive and cohesive, and all of the Aragami are wonderfully impressive and more than a little disgusting at times.
The combat sound effects are punchy, and the voice over isn’t as grating as games like this often can be, with the exception of Amy, but you can lower the frequency of her commentary should you want to. The only problem here is that, outside of the intro cutscene, all of the music here is largely forgettable. Not bad, per se, just doesn’t add anything to the experience.
Truth be told, GOD EATER 3 is a fantastic experience that combines the thrill of the hunt, with impossible scenarios, and over-the-top visual flair. The story of the game and the music found throughout might be a little lacklustre, but the sheer enjoyment that can be found in the gameplay makes up for all of this and more.
If you love the Monster Hunter formula and want something a little faster and slicker, this is your game. It’s more enjoyable than it should be taking down these beasts, and bringing together the perfect team to defeat them, whether offline or on, is supremely satisfying. It’s fast, it’s gruesome, it’s ridiculous, and it honestly doesn’t care.