Gods Eater Burst Review
Developer: Shift / Publiser: D3 Publisher of America / Played on: PSP / Price: $39.99 / ESRB: Teen (Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence)
I’ve got to hand it to D3: Gods Eater Burst is one of the most ridiculously awesome titles for a game I’ve ever heard (though NIS challenges for the game-name wars in pretty much every release). Indeed you’ll hack and slash your way through countless gods as you battle to save the future of post-apocalyptic Earth. Hunting giant monsters and dining on the gods certainly sounds like a promising romp, but a bizarre title alone can’t save Gods Eater Burst from repetitious gameplay and uninteresting characters.
The story of Gods Eater Burst revolves around Arigami (commonly referred to as Gods), single-celled organisms that evolved into gigantic beasts that ravaged all over the Earth. Combating their quick evolution and ever-growing knowledge is the group known as Fenrir. You play as a new recruit for Fenrir, and after customizing your character and running through some basic training you’re thrown into the fray. The story plays out in bite-sized missions (over 100 in total) and a good deal of cutscenes. You work with all of the recruits and officers in Fenrir, each one revealing a unique yet cliché role (brooding senior veteran, enthusiastic young recruit, etc.). Things start off slow and don’t get interesting until 30 or so missions in (about six hours), and even then the story isn’t the highlight of the game. The majority of the many missions are side quests that don’t even have an effect on the story. Instead of following the main storyline you can opt to take on extra missions to earn more money and items by killing monsters. In these side quests you can choose your own team of recruits to aid you instead of being forced to use certain characters as in the main story. While there are a couple interesting plot twists both early and late in the game, it’s not enough to draw you in and maintain your attention. I want my RPGs to have a lot more narrative substance than Gods Eater Burst has to offer.
It would be hard to review this game without comparing it to Capcom’s Monster Hunter series since they provide virtually the same style of game but are set in different environments. Gods Eater Burst’s missions each task you with removing a set number of Arigami in a certain zone in order to accomplish your goal. A great variety of enemies ranging from one-eyed flying beasts to grotesque, tentacled abominations offer a good challenge and keep the action fresh. You and your team use God Arcs as your main offensive weapon. The God Arc is a versatile tool of destruction that can act as an overly large sword for melee combat and a powerful gun for doling out death at a distance. You switch between the two mid-battle and attack your foes as you please. You unleash a special attack that transforms your God Arc into a growling wolf-like muzzle that takes a bite out of your enemy, which grants you special items and increased mobility and power for a short time in battle. The action gets intense and playing with either AI teammates or friends through an ad-hoc connection is fun.
Well, the combat is fun for a while at least, but after slaying the same monster time and again it can get downright monotonous. Each Arigami has a weak point where it is susceptible to more damage (usually the back) and many of the creatures follow the same attack patterns. After playing for several hours I was just going through the motions. Outside of combat your options for diversity in gameplay is limited: you can upgrade your melee and ranged attacks as well as your shield, but that’s it. Finding or purchasing materials to utilize in this synthesis can get very tedious, and all it really amounts to is making a slightly better weapon to fight slightly stronger monsters. It’s a real grind, and only action RPG diehards will find enjoyment in it for more than a handful of hours. There is nothing else to do between missions other than talking to your fellow recruits, reading the emails they send you, and creating or buying new types of weapons. While the short missions are great for gaming on the go and offer some thrills, there is no depth outside of the combat beyond weapon customization.
There is a lot of stuff to do at one time in Gods Eater Burst and balancing the controls proved to be daunting. Basic actions like attacking and jumping are handled with the face buttons, while locking on to enemies is assigned to the R shoulder button. The D-pad controls the camera and a quick tap of the L button conveniently snaps the camera back behind your character. Double-tapping R changes between melee and ranged mode for your weapons, and hitting select brings up your inventory of usable items. Now, do all of that at once! Gods Eater Burst isn’t an overly complicated game but you have to finagle a lot of buttons just to align your target properly. Controlling the camera is easily the worst of these tasks, as it remains stationary and doesn’t flow around corners unless you’re targeting something. But you can’t lock on and target an enemy when you’re using ranged mode, making actions even more complicated. Moving around and controlling the camera at the same time can become your biggest adversary in later missions that require you to take out several Arigami at once. I feel like Gods Eater Burst would have a better control scheme with a PS3 controller simply because it really requires more buttons than are available.
Gods Eater Burst has a good range of level locations and diversity amongst characters and monsters, but their repeated use undermines the identity of each. Destroyed cities, dilapidated bridges, and ransacked temples all look great but get boring after killing monsters in them over and over. I remember thinking one stage that took place on a bridge that was falling apart with the sun setting in the background was awesome, but after fighting there nearly a dozen times it’s not nearly as cool. The Arigami have a variety of types, but stronger iterations of the same monster just have a different color scheme and no new characteristics. This palette-swap feels like a cop-out, which is a shame because the game is technically and artistically good looking.
While Gods Eater Burst is not broken or unplayable by any means (in fact it can be very satisfying if you have someone to play with), there are very few redeeming factors. Fans that want something like Monster Hunter but not in the same setting shouldn’t hold their breath for Gods Eater Burst to be anything more than a quick diversion. A complex weapon creation/upgrade system and strategic team-based combat can’t do enough to pull this game out of the ranks of average action RPGs.
6 / 10