God Eater 2: Rage Burst Review
God Eater 2 traveled a similar trajectory that its prequel followed. It started as a game for the PlayStation Portable, received an enhanced release (this time ported to the PlayStation Vita), before finally making its way to the console. While fans in the West received the superior version of the original release with Gods Eater Burst, they were left grasping for air when every form of God Eater 2 came and went in Japan years ago.
In a single season, Bandai Namco has seen fit to release both God Eater Resurrection and God Eater 2: Rage Burst on the Western shores. In my review, I said Resurrection held plenty of content for the low financial entry it commands. But does the sequel justify its full price tag?
The story plays out in an almost identical pattern to the original. You are a newly recruited member of the Blood faction of God Eaters and just so happen to be someone capable of wielding the imposing God Arc weapons. These instruments are the only things capable of taking down the mighty god-like Aragami beings (hence the name) that have threatened mankind's existence.
The flow of gameplay also remains the same, playing out in a mission-based format. You are given a series of tasks to accomplish that range in difficulty, with more challenging assignments becoming available as the story goes on. You are not alone as you can bring up to three additional teammates to aid your created avatar in combat.
I feel it's important to note just how many systems are shared between God Eater Resurrection and God Eater 2: Rage Burst. It's been a long time since I reviewed Gods Eater Burst, so apologies if some of them wasn't unique to these new editions. However, things like partner skills, after-battle bonuses, and relationship building are all featured once again in Rage Burst. As a result, I will not spend time discussing these mechanics as it would be redundant.
The controls remain the same - you can attack, block, jump, guard, and use different skills on the Aragami. It's altogether presented in a far more user-friendly design than Monster Hunter. By using your God Arc to devour a fallen enemy, materials can be gathered and used to craft new equipment and upgrade existing armament.
Players can customize their weapons with a range of stat bonuses and other benefits while also earning AP (ability points) by taking part in combat that can unlock new skills and abilities. You can also earn tickets which allow you to bypass a lot of the challenge and monotony that goes into finding materials by just letting you purchase many of the important items.
Thanks to God Eater Resurrection, the transition into this entry is steady thanks to the comparable graphics. Whereas Resurrection was attempting to revitalize a much older PSP game, God Eater 2: Rage Burst offers a more visually appealing showcase for the engine it is based on.
Not only does the animation flow smoothly especially during combos, but the models are far more refined than in Resurrection. It won't awe you on the level of higher budget games, but it remains remarkable enough with the style it portrays to get the job done.
What God Eater 2 makes up for in visuals, it lets one down by recycling assets from the original God Eater. Many maps are re-used, as are many of the Aragami you will face on your journey. There are some new types exclusive to this release, but they don't do much to inspire. This is rather inherent to the genre. Monster Hunter had this problem, Toukiden had this problem.
One of the more bizarre issues with Rage Burst is its sound production. In some important cutscenes, the audio can come across as muffled - almost like everyone is speaking through a walkie-talkie. I can't tell whether this is an issue with the game itself, but others have reported the same complication.
This appears to be inherent to the PlayStation 4 release (it even happens on the controller speaker), so hopefully a patch can be released to resolve the trouble.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst also features online multiplayer just like in the original. Up to four players can participate in either main story missions or one of the dozens of side missions available. While it's great that this feature is available, it suffers the same dilemma as God Eater Resurrection in there is barely anyone participating in this feature.
Basically, you better have a group of friends willing to participate or get used to playing offline with the computer. And hey, at least party A.I. is solid enough to get the job done.
The characters are significantly more interesting and likeable than they were in God Eater. Not only are their designs more eye-catching, but the voice acting is more appealing. Sure, some characters can be a tad melodramatic (I'm looking at you, Julius), but I enjoyed the conversations the cast had amongst each other.
The voice acting is superior to the original God Eater, which is good considering we are still stuck with the English dub (no Japanese voice track here). A lot of the music featured in the game is also fantastic, bringing a level of excitement to the action happening on-screen.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the story. After more than a couple dozen hours into the game, not a whole lot was happening. I started caring more about the plight of the cast towards the end, but by then I was feeling underwhelmed.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst doesn't differentiate itself as much as it could have. A lot of the content remains the same down to most of the menu navigation. The original God Eater held mass temptation as it came out of nowhere to bring a fantastic twist on what people would expect from mission-based gameplay with a more story-driven approach. Here, it feels like the developers rounded up what they could in an average fashion.
The God Eater series is far more approachable than Monster Hunter ever was. Those looking to ease into that type of experience will find plenty to enjoy here. The fact that first-run copies on the PS4 and PC (at least in America; in Europe it's for any edition) include a free copy of God Eater Resurrection is brilliant. Plus, Nana is in it, so I give the game bonus points for the existence of Nana.
An argument can be made that God Eater 2: Rage Burst is the most polished entry in the series, collecting all the gameplay content into a single release while adding new features like the Blood Arts, some new maps, and new costumes.
It is far superior to its original PSP version, but it only takes a small step as a sequel. The series needs to take a leap if it wants to compete. Fans should definitely pick this up, but newcomers would be better off testing the waters with God Eater Resurrection first.