God Eater 2: Rage Burst opens with your stereotypical animated intro: it's got punchy Japanese rock, a nice sense of style, and it does a fine job of getting you pumped for some God eating action. Bandai Namco's latest export gives a good first impression, then, but you may struggle to maintain your enthusiasm as you begin to tear into the title proper.
Now, that's not to say Rage Burst is a bad action role-playing game – far from it, in fact – but it tries its hardest to put you off before you've had a chance to really get stuck in. The release prides itself on the sheer amount of customisation that it offers: there are six different fighting styles to choose from, you can craft your own weapons, guns, and shields, equip specific skills to your gear, and you can even retool your party's abilities to give each member a different role to play in combat. There are countless combinations of skills, equipment, and character abilities to experiment with, but the underlying problem here is that the title barely explains how it all works.
Look at it this way: we were nine hours into the game before we discovered that we could switch elemental bullets on the fly. We were around 15 hours in when we finally worked out how to use our long blade's 'Zero Stance' – the only guidance we had on the matter was a non-playable character telling us that it was the weapon's unique ability, but neither he nor the game actually told us how to pull it off. Put simply, Rage Burst is an unnecessarily obtuse release that would really benefit from having a step-by-step tutorial.
You could argue that there's a distinct learning curve at work here, but almost all of this stuff is thrown into your lap after you've completed a couple of basic training missions. It's an overwhelming amount of intricacies to wrap your head around, especially if you haven't tested the waters with God Eater Resurrection – Rage Burst's predecessor. Compounding the problem further is the story's initially slow pace and boring missions. It takes a good few hours for the plot to offer up anything that'll truly grab your attention, and it takes even longer for quests to start posing any real challenge.
However, if you can get through the first five to ten hours of Rage Burst – and we admit that may be a big ask – then there's a good chance that you'll start to get hooked. By this point, you'll have come to understand many of the systems that we mentioned earlier, and you'll have found firm footing within the story. Like any good monster slaying RPG, God Eater is hard to put down when you're making progress, whether you're upgrading your weapons or getting to the bottom of the latest plot point. When you've got something to work towards, everything seems to click into place, and you're left with a structured, rewarding, and addictive experience.
There's no doubt, though, that the game's at its best when you're in the thick of it, bringing down huge beasts with your team. As is the case with Koei Tecmo's Toukiden series, your CPU controlled companions are very good at what they do – they very rarely get knocked out during combat, and they're quick to heal you or back you up if you're struggling. While their prowess in battle does mean that the title can feel a bit too easy at times, there's a pleasant sense of camaraderie as you and your buddies fight side by side.
Speaking of fighting, the game's combat system offers up a lot of fast paced fun. At its core, Rage Burst is a relatively simple hack and slasher with a shooter twist; you can switch between your melee weapon and your secondary gun at will, allowing for a quick change of tactics whenever you feel like it. Couple the switching mechanic with combo chains, powerful special moves, and a slick evasive dash, and you've got the recipe for some dynamic and engaging action.
Needless to say, another layer of depth is added to battle when you bring other players into the mix. Online co-op allows for up to four God Eaters to group up and tackle missions together with their custom characters, and although some objectives can seem trivial when you're working with three competent players, harder quests demand a touch of teamwork, and when you and your comrades click – taking down colossal monsters in the process – it's incredibly satisfying.
Co-op play may emphasise what the release gets right when it comes to combat, tactics, and teamwork, but you don't have to get social in order to enjoy the huge amount of content that the game houses. Set aside from the main story objectives, optional hard missions provide plenty of opportunity to get back onto the field of battle and hone your skills, while special missions pop up from time to time and give you a chance to grab an abundance of extra crafting materials.
But even if you ignored all of the title's optional content, you'd still be presented with a lengthy campaign to cut through. As we wrote earlier, the game's plot does take a little while to really get going, but once it does, it makes for a reasonably interesting post-apocalyptic tale, despite its fondness for anime character archetypes and cliches. Indeed, the cast isn't the best written or the best developed that you'll find in an RPG, but their personalities do bounce off each other quite nicely, and as the main character, you're always made to feel like you're pivotal to the plot, with an emphasis on dialogue choices and your ability to form bonds of friendship with your ragtag allies.
So, Rage Burst plays well and it tells a decent story, but how does it look and sound? Being a PlayStation 4 port of a Vita title, it's perhaps no surprise that it appears rough around the edges, but a colourful art direction and a host of cool character and monster designs are usually enough to keep you from getting hung up on the title's shoddy textures. Meanwhile, the audio features a surprisingly great electro-rock soundtrack, but the voice acting doesn't fare quite so well. The Western release is dubbed in English only, and while the voice work is solid across the board, there are baffling moments where the dialogue sounds horribly compressed – like it was recorded through a phone in someone's bathroom. We don't know whether this is some sort of bug or if the developer ran out of working microphones during production, but what we do know is that it's insanely jarring, and can really take you out of the moment.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst provides hours upon hours of monster slaying fun, but only if you have the patience to wrap your head around its overwrought progression systems. Once you've broken through the initial slog and you're confident in your God eating abilities, you'll find an addictive action RPG that's enjoyable as both a snack and as a three-course meal.
Yo yo yo yo yo it's ya boy Shotgun Rock in the comments section below. Let me know if you have any questions about the game or the review - I'll try my best to answer them!
@ShogunRok What's the enemy variety?
Edit: also, how does the Vita version fare, let's say: framerate-wise?
Umm. Literally the first thing I did after making my character was access the in game archive and watched the video tutorial for performing the Long Blade's Zero-Stance. There's tutorial videos for all kinds of advanced tactics to help you master the combat.
@finalstan @ShogunRok Similar to Stan, im interested if you had a chance to play the vita version, particularly as ps4 game is a port. How do the two stack up. Really interested in getting this for playing on the move so would appreciate any thoughts if you have had a chance to check out both! Thanks
So I never played the first one and thid review got me interested in getting both! What should I do?
@AFCC if you buy God Eater 2, you get the remake of the original game as a download code in the box i believe (dependent on where you live). It should say on the case
"Oh no! There are giant strong beast killing everyone! Might as well dress in hot topic clothes that don't cover my entire skin to go fight them!"
Is it just me or does Resurrection feel way more complete and polished?
@Rob_230 Holy molly that's nice! Thank you ;D
Can't decide if I should buy it or get Deus Ex though xD
@finalstan Enemy variety is decent enough, I never grew too bored of fighting any particular monster. There are a few reskins here and there, though.
As for the Vita version, it runs quite well from what I've played. I didn't put as much time into it as I did the PS4 version, but I never had any really noticeable performance issues other than a bit of pop-in.
@Rob_230 Yeah, the Vita version is okay from what I've played. Obviously looks a little rougher in places, but the only small issue I noticed was a bit of pop-in. My only (minor) concern with the Vita version is that the controls are a little more awkward, mostly due to the Vita's design - but I guess that's personal preference on my part, too.
What kinda disappoints me of the game is that Rage Burst feels the same as Resurrection but with the addition of blood arts, few new enemies, a cat (or is it a wolf) girl and a new story. Also, while the character customization is slightly better than Resurrection, I was expecting it to be like Freedom Wars' much more varied customization. Then again, God Eater is about Teenagers fighting monsters, not grown adults. Oh well. I did find the game more replayable than Resurrection since the game was ok in my opinion (Not bad but I still prefer playing more Soul Sacrifice, Freedom Wars, Toukiden and Monster Hunter. It is better than RO: Ace though).
@SoulsBourne128 Compared to Toukiden Kiwami, the character creation is now more in-depth in Toukiden 2.
@NathanUC I thought visually for some reason that GE: Resurrection looked a little bit more polished than GE2: Rage Burst as well.
Picked this up yesterday for the Vita and was surprised to see that I got a free download for God Eater: Resurrection. For some reason I thought only the NA PS4 version came with that.
So I'm playing GE: R right now, but I hope to sink my teeth into this one soon.
Here in Italy it's € 70 and even if it comes with the digital version of Resurrection I think it's still a crazy price for a port. Valkirya Chronicles is € 25 and Gravity Rush € 30. I'l keep waiting for Toukiden 2...
You do know there are two basic training levels that teach you the basics and a bunch of Tutorials in the "Archives" which the game hints you should look at it when the game tells you about the Archives... right?
@Utena-mobile I found the base character customisation quite good. You can't tweak the tiny details like nose shape, eyebrows, that sort of thing - but there are a load of different faces to choose from. That said, almost all the available haircuts are longer styles, and a lot of them look really similar. Can't choose body types.
As for clothes, there are accessories for your head and face that you can pick when making your character, and there are a bunch of uniforms that you can buy. As the story goes on, you gradually unlock clothes that you need to craft as well, and there's a good amount of variety. Also worth mentioning that clothes don't have stats or anything - purely cosmetic.
@andreoni79 : i know. I suggest buying the Vita version for 2 reasons:
1) this is a portable game in its roots and it is best experienced on the handheld.
2) on Vita it costs 40€ and still comes with a Cross-Buy version of Ressurection, meaning you can play the first episode on both Vita and PS4.
Ofc, if you wanna play GE2 on PS4 you don't have a choice but to shell out 70 bucks.
But personally, i wouldn't reccomend it.
Thanks, but I don't have a Vita. I'm not a big fan of this genre and MH3U is still enough form me but a new PS4 title would be welcome!
@Major-Zero Please don't bring something like this up in the comments section.
@WanderingBullet Not only visually, but just about any aspect I look at seems weaker than Resurrection.
I'm hoping it's only because I unlocked everything in Resurrection, but only put a few hours into God Eater 2. So far, 2 things REALLY bug me. No quick devour and I can't figure out how to 'store' OP like in Resurrection.
Eh. I'll just stick with Monster Hunter.
@Ralizah Your loss then... GE is one of the best games ever for me.
Oh BTW if your wondering why the graphics seem less than that of Resurrecion it it because the game is actually older than GER... same for the controls, you'll notice there is no quick devour (R1 + Triangle).
This will never replace Monster Hunter for me. I'm playing MH Generations right now and man, it's gotta be the greatest game ever made!
That said, I'm digging God Eater all the same. I bought this on PS4 which came with Resurrection, and I'm buying both on Vita, and the physical copy on Vita from UK which I'm importing. So sick of digital releases here in NA.
And that's just how this genre goes. Takes time to learn. Best played with an iPad in lap with multiple wikis open.
@NathanUC Ah, I see. Well, I didn't buy the game (decided to wait for Toukiden 2 instead) but I did watched a few videos on YouTube which is where I noticed the visual difference.
Just curious but how long did it take you to unlock everything in Resurrection?
@Bliquid while I use to agree with this statement in the past I no longer do, I got kiwami on vita & ps4 and it felt so more at home on the big screen as does gundam breaker, I opted to get this on ps4 and my god it plays flawlessly
@WanderingBullet I think it takes about 5-10 hours to unlock all the mechanics, but you'll keep unlocking attack styles until around 40 hours I think.
@NathanUC That's not to bad. I was expecting a lot of grinding involved like MH or Toukiden.
I am kinda interested in getting this but feared it was just a poor man's Toukiden Kiwami. After seeing more footage and reading this review however...it still seems to be a poor man's Toukiden Kiwami
Looks fun though so I'll surely get it when it goes on sale.
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