Thursday, June 29, 2017

God Eater Series

     Hello everyone its been awhile(an understatement I know). For this article we will be looking at the monster slashing franchise known as God Eater. This series has been around for a number of years but unlike the widely known Monster Hunter franchise its a bit under the radar so I thought I'd give it the spotlight in hopes that it could receive a bit more love.
     So the premise of God Eater is that Earth has seen better days as the land has been ravaged by powerful beings called Aragami and humanity has been pounded into the ropes. In each of the games released, you the player take the role of God Eater who are genetically enhanced warriors whose duty is to faced off against the Aragami and protect mankind.
     Since it made its debut God Eater has had a number of releases but a majority had been remakes which improved on the games mechanics while also adding new content. For this article I will be first talking about the first entry God Eater Resurrection which is a remake of the original version God Eater Burst before we look at its sequel God Eater 2.
     While a main focus of the game is fighting the Aragami there is a narrative built around it. The player takes on the role a new recruit who is assigned to a unit in the Far-East Branch where they find themselves facing powerful monsters and other threats. The story is progressed by completing the "Main Missions" with each challenge steadily increasing in difficulty. I wont spoil any major plot points but I will say that its a decent narrative with some good moments of drama but at the same time there isn't a lot in it that I would consider to be jaw dropping. That being said the storyline is mostly just a nice layer of frosting on this cake with the game's major strengths being its gameplay elements.
     As stated earlier the goal of the game is to defeat the Aragami with each mission having the player assemble a small team made up of the game's cast and alongside these characters work together to slay the monstrous opponents that oppose them in each given task. Battles are fast-paced requiring the player to rely on reflexes and tactics to achieve a victory with each Aragami requiring a different approach to defeating it whether it is weapon type or a specific element.
     This brings us to the weaponry available to players. In the Resurrection version of the game there are six types of melee weapons to choose from, these weapons are the Short Blade, Long Blade, Buster Blade, Boost Hammer, Charge Spear, and the Variant Scythe. Each of these weapons has its strengths and weakness, for example the short blade is fast allowing the player to get in several slices with enough time to evade an enemy attack while the Buster Blade is extremely slow but has devastating power. There are also four types of fire arms for players to use which are the Sniper Gun, Assault Gun, Shotgun, and Blast Gun and like their melee counter parts give players different options on how they may want to attack from a distance. Last are the three shields(Buckler, Shield, and Tower) which allow players to block Aragami attacks the difference between them is the speed at which they allow a player to defend and how much defense they grant.
     Customization in the end becomes a key component as a player does not have to commit to a single combination of weapons. It is possible to get through the game with the same arsenal as I managed to finish my playthrough using just the Long Blade, Assault Gun, and Shield. However it is encouraged to mix things up as certain enemies have different weaknesses to certain melee weapons or elements(fire ice, electric, or divine).
     There is also a unique feature in Resurrection called Predator Style. Aside from your melee weapon, gun, and shield the player has a fourth means of attacking enemies which is a ability called Devour. This is a charge attack that gives the player the chance to chomp into the hide of an a Aragami not only doing some damage but also give the player character a boost in power. With Predator Style there a numerous new moves added to this attack some which allow players to Devour from the air or attack a wider area than one could with the standard Devour attack. This as a result allows a player to be a lot more versatile in combat.
      When it comes to presentation God Eater: Resurrection looks really good overall with solid character models that look both clean and polished even if they are not all that detailed although this maybe intentional in order to capture the style of an anime. When it comes to the Aragami these are cool looking beasts with scales and other small details well pronounced in their designs with each of these monsters having a unique look aside from a couple of color palette swaps but that's a minor issue really.
     God Eater 2 occurs several years after what occurs in Ressurection with the player character taking on the role of the newest member of an elite unit of God Eaters called Blood. Things are a lot darker than before with people suffering from a horrible disease caused by a blood-like rain and new deadly Aragami all the while a sinister presence waits with an agenda of its own. Like with the first game I wont spoil anything related to the plot but I will say that while it seems that the creators of these games appear to be raising the stakes they don't seem willing to take major risks. I should correct that a bit as they do pull some heavy punches on the player during the first half it becomes completely undone by the second.
     Several new gameplay elements are introduced in God Eater 2 however Predator Style are absent here. The first of these new game elements are the Blood Arts. These are an array of powerful attacks that can be unlocked for the melee weapons. These abilities grow stronger the more times the player uses that specific Blood Art and become harder to level up with each rank gained.
     In the second half of the game the player will learn the ability to use Blood Rage which is a sort of berserker state that is activated by completing certain requirements and if successful increases the player character's over fighting ability to a huge degree. This can make a big difference should the player find themselves facing a powerful enemy of a group of them but it can be a bit frustrating at times to activate.
    There is also the Blood Bullets and Bullet Editor that allows the players to create new and powerful projectiles. These can range from the direction the bullet travels to a mixture of elements and statues effects. It will look complicated in the beginning but it worth playing around with as I found several combinations that utterly wrecked the Aragami in a number of situations so it is worth the bit of work that may need to be put into it.
     Lastly are the Character episodes which are episodic events with a number of the games cast of characters. These not only allow the player to bond with the character(s) or getting involved in missions or antics but also get useful bonuses for those characters which encourages the player to complete them. When it comes to the quality of these episodes they are a bit mixed with some being genuinely heart warming or hilarious to others being average or just very short and dull but as stated earlier it does help players in the long run a bit.
     Compared to Resurrection however Rage Burst falters a bit in a couple of spots in the sound department. The voice acting while good for the most part feels either awkward or lazy at other times with the voice actors either not saying the presented line of dialogue and instead creating a different or shorter version or not saying anything at all aside from a small giggle or something to fill the dead air. This doesn't occur during important cut scenes however but it does stand out in comparison to the previous game.
     Another example occurs during a couple of Character Episodes for the character Ciel. During main storyline cut scenes her voice English actress gives Ciel a mature yet soft voice but during Character episodes the pitch of her voice is a lot higher in attempt to possibly sound more girly which stands out and is very jarring.
     The biggest offense in the sound design however is the balance. What I mean in saying this is that a number of times there is a lack of harmony between the music, voices, and sound effects with some drowning out the others especially the very former. This will be come obvious to players very early into the game with the music for example being so loud in several cut scenes that it practically drowns out dialogue. I tried to lower the music a bit to fix this but it does little if anything at all and from the way it looks it is never going to get patched.
     Overall the God Eater series are enjoyable games that while flawed in places are a good time and I think that if you enjoy games like Monster Hunting franchise or Anime media I would recommend that you go check it out. God Eater: Resurrection and God Eater: Rage Burst are available on the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC.
     Thank you so much for reading, I know its been too long since I posted anything here but I hoped you enjoyed this article and I will see you all next time!

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