In a weekend with the demo, we had a chance to go hands-on with God Eater 3 and after what we experienced, God Eater 3 could very well be the game that dethrones Monster Hunter from being the ruler of action-based hunting games.
Since the release of God Eater on the PSP, the series has become one of my personal favorites over the past many years. While it can easily be described as an anime-style Monster Hunter sort of game, I’d actually beg to differ for several reasons more than you’d expect.
One of those strongest points comes from the fact that God Eater is known for its fast-paced combat, in-depth stories, and even more variations of weapons than what Monster Hunter has to offer. Over the years, God Eater would be expanded upon with the releases of both God Eater Resurrection and God Eater 2 Rage Burst on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4 and even on PC via Steam.
But when the announcement for God Eater 3 was made, I felt my heart skip a couple of beats in that very moment. First off, there was no doubt that God Eater 3 would be built from the ground up with the current-gen consoles in mind with PC as an additional option to follow. This means better graphics, better online capabilities, faster frame rate, and even more options to be had such as customizations and the likes.
Over the course of this past weekend, I finally had my chance to go hands-on with the latest entry in the series and what I experienced had quickly surpassed my expectations already set it steps ahead of Monster Hunter World.
Brandish the blades and let the AGEs hunt an Aragami
In God Eater 3 the Aragami have rendered our world almost uninhabitable due to the Ash they have spread through the air. Over the course of the demo, I’d only get small tidbits of information about the story the full game will have to offer. Many of those story elements unfolded before me in comms transmissions and mission selection menus that gave me a slight idea of the Aragami I’d be hunting down.
The menu’s themselves were easy enough to navigate within a moments notice. I’d be able to check my consumable items, my loadout, what missions I can access and even explore a single and lonely online mission, one that took a great bit of focus to complete when playing with random players from around the world.
During this time, I’d also get to take a chance to learn the games most basic functions, which worked rather well, allowing met o join from point A to point B with little trouble. Meanwhile, I would also get the chance to learn how to shift my dual blades into a single scythe before learning how to shift it into the firearm it could become just shortly after.
While Monster Hunter World certainly took an attempt at doing this, it didn’t do it to the very extent that God Eater 3 has ahead of its very launch. Sure, there are button guides on the screen to help you with each of your weapons, you don’t get the precise training that you do with God Eater 3 from the very start. Tutorials that are simple, easy to remember, but hard to master as you progress.
The AGES are the new kids on the block
To set the scene, God Eaters have come a long way since the previous entry into the series. They’ve changed and evolved over the years, introducing newer and stronger God Eaters known as Adaptive God Eaters or AGEs for short. These new God Eaters are powerful, wielding dual gauntlets to help them hunt the Aragami and hopefully save what little left of our world from devastation and the harmful Ash they bring forth with them.
Instead of a military force or some scientific power, the AGEs are something less than human in the eyes around them. They are expendable, slaves, ones that have to wear two gauntlets that act as handcuffs that only an official member of the local regime can unlock in order for the AGEs to deploy on a mission. Something that quickly draws me back to my time with Freedom Wars on the PlayStation Vita.
During my time controlling my character, an AGes himself, I found my hub to be a cell, one where his slave-like status is all but real and that this ‘base camp’ might be expanded upon when the official game launches. However, in this cell, I don’t get to see my sortie partners by the name of Zeke, Claire, and our brave leader Hugo that will lead us into battle whether it is our last sortie or not.
Aragami’s are diverse, unique, and feature a wide array of strengths and weaknesses to understand
Over the course of this past weekends demo, I was given a chance to explore one of the newest melee weapons in the series by the name of the ‘Biting Edge’. This new set of blades can be combined to form a double-edged naginata, one that can unleash quick and powerful attacks, but at one very specific trade-off while they are fused into one: The inability to switch your ranged weapon when you need it.
For the sake of the demo, I was given a chance to experience the brand new Ray Gun, one that unleashes a steady beam towards the Aragami placed before me. Just like before, weapons have their own status effects, the ability to change your ammo types, and lastly – consumables that you will use over the course of your missions. The biggest triumph against Monster Hunter should be quite clear for those that haven’t noticed it.
Your weapons. You get – in a way – three weapons at your disposal during a hunt. You get your melee weapons, a second form for them, and lastly, your ranged weapon alongside a God Eater to help you draw crafting materials and valuable items from those you hunt alongside special ammo for your ranged weapon to use. But knowing how to use them to the best of your ability is a challenge in its own next to knowing what elements, what weak points, and how some of the larger class of Aragmi fight.
Something that’s a bit more complicated than how Monster Hunter works. Luckily, your ranged weapons do come with various types of ammo you can equip into your loadout itself. Just remember, pay attention to the information you have as you continue on. Just like any other hunting game out there – Monster Hunter and Soul Sacrifice included – research the creatures you are about to hunt, it’ll help in the end.
Predator Style and Blood Arts have been revamped as Burst Arts in God Eater 3
One of the most important things in God Eater 3’s demo was the ability to use the newly revamped Predator Style and Blood Arts called Burst Arts. In previous entries you could only have a single ability of this type equipped, making it so you had to decide what kind of attack you had wanted to use before unleashing it on the Aragami around you. In God Eater 3 that’s no longer the case.
Now, you can assign three of them separately to corresponding attack types including ground, aerial, and dash. They handle much the same as they did in God Eater Resurrection. Just as you might imagine, these Burst Arts are modified attacks that are flashier than a basic attack and deal quite a bit more damage than a standard attack, but the catch-22 is that you can only use them when Burst Mode is active.
Thankfully some of the past attacks from both God Eater Resurrection and God Eater 2 Rage Burst do return, making a worthwhile adventure, but it only adds onto another new feature called the “Accel Trigger,” which activates once a player has fulfilled a specific amount of requirements. The requirements can be as simple as hitting a combo finisher, performing a just guard several times, Engage, or even an aerial combo in order to cause your stats to get buffed.
You can edit the effects caused by the Accel Trigger from the terminal before heading out on a mission. A useful feature to have when hunting down the Ashborn-type Aragami, a new type that can assault a player with their very own Predator attacks that will consume an AGEs energy if the hit has been landed. So it’s something to watch for as some can heavily hinder a character while others can cause various other status effects.
God Eater 3’s gameplay performance is absolutely outstanding
One thing that puts God Eater 3 ahead of Monster Hunter is its level of performance and how well it plays. Unlike Monster Hunter, God Eater 3 runs buttery smooth almost at a seemingly steady 60fps at 1080p on the PlayStation 4 Pro. An admirable feat. if I might say so myself. Even as a long time fan of Monster Hunter, I’m actually happy to see someone has prioritized a balance between both graphical prowess and gameplay performance.
A problem I’d have with Monster Hunter World since it’s global launch. It also feels that God Eater 3 was built from the ground up with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro in mind. It’s a solid experience, one that is quite different from its predecessors. It’s smooth, the load times are minimal, and the quality of both visuals and audio is absolutely some of the best on the market.
But that also comes with the statement that character models, animations, and even creature designs feel as if they have been more redefined since the previous entry in the series. Some of that may be due to the newly established engine, but also the teams passion for delivering one of the most immersive and best-looking experiences on the market.
The Conclusion – But can it execute a dethroning from the ruler of hunting games?
When it comes to the potential dethroning of the Monster Hunter series, there’s a lot of work that has to be done, and that work will pertain to the variety of hunts available as well as post-release content. But luckily, that seems like something God Eater as a franchise is quite capable of moving forward.
We’ll find out just what God Eater 3 has to offer when it launches for PC via Steam and PlayStation 4 through PlayStation Network and participating retailers on February 8, 2019.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.