God Eater 2: Rage Burst Review
Would the real Monster Hunter please stand up?
Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise for whatever reason, has yet to make it to PC. Its deft combination of teamwork focused action RPG antics in the pursuit of big loot and even bigger monsters, make it a perfect candidate for the platform and thus its absence is all the more keenly felt as a result.
Enter then Bandai Namco and their God Eater franchise. A rambunctiously anime styled take on the very same action adventure sub-genre that Monster Hunter subscribes to, God Eater 2 Rage Burst storms to PC in an attempt to fill the Monster Hunter shaped hole that has remained unfulfilled all this time.
Set in a fantastical sci-fi world where humanity has been driven back into a group of habitats by a mysterious and beastly foe known as the Aragami, God Eater 2 Rage Burst casts the player as the newest recruit of an elite combat unit known as ‘Blood’. Driven to carry the fight back against the Aragrami threat, Blood employs the titular God Eaters and their powerful abilities to eradicate this fearsome new enemy. Rather than just weaving a straightforward tale of humanity versus monsters however, God Eater 2 infuses its narrative with subplots and conspiracies to layer events in a way that elevates it even beyond Capcom’s own Monster Hunter franchise.
God Eater 2 Rage Burst broadly splits itself between two different settings; the ‘Blood’ hub, and of course the battlefield where you (and maybe some friends) will carry out the entirety of your monster smacking. In the case of the former, you basically take your custom created hero around a rather small social hub where you can speak to other characters, buy items, research new equipment and take on missions. When it comes to those missions, God Eater 2 starts you off gently enough with a smattering of tutorial style sorties in order to get you acclimated to its monster smashing shenanigans, as you venture out into the battlefields which make up the game world.
Right away, the first thing you will notice about the environments in God Eater 2 Rage Burst is that they are small – like, really properly small. However, while the diminutive size of its environments serve as a reminder of the franchise’s origin on consoles, these much more intimate arenas ensure that there is no lull whatsoever in the action. Speaking of the action, God Eater 2 Rage Burst certainly does not disappoint. Viewed from a third-person perspective, each mission that you take on in the game generally involves you and your team taking down one or a number of Aragami, and this is typically achieved through a combination of ranged and melee attacks. It’s not just all about offence though, since any decent God Eater player worth their salt needs to become familiar with not only evading attacks, but learning how to use their shield to block incoming attacks completely, too.
Wonderfully deep, there’s more to doing away with the various Aragami than just hacking or blasting away at them. Indeed, when engaging your foes at range, you must consider the various types of elementally-fused ammunition which can deal more damage against certain types of Aragami. There’s a real, sophisticated core to how combat works in God Eater 2, since you can’t just spam ranged strikes ad infinitum as these attacks must be replenished by engaging in melee combat. The upshot of this, is that it forces a much more well-rounded approach to combat where ranged attacks are balanced with dealing out more intimate forms of violence. Sitting atop these finely-tuned systems of combat are two additional sets of powers called ‘Blood Arts’ and ‘Blood Rage’, which when charged by executing specific attacks, can unleash hugely damaging and flamboyant looking attacks upon the enemy, often decimating them in short order.
Rather than just destroying each Aragami and then moving onto the next however, you can actually use your God Eater powers to devour your monstrous foes, leeching rare materials from them which can then be used in turn to upgrade and craft new and better gear. On the topic of shiny new loot and equipment, the amount of customisation available to the player is simply vast. Everything from powers captured from fallen Aragami that can be infused into your gear, through to forging new shotguns, spears, sniper rifles and just about anything else you can think of, all come with their own attributes, strengths and weaknesses when employed against different Aragami. Finally, your foes themselves, the Aragami, are a wonderfully varied bunch; each with their own look, powers and of course, their own surprises which make each encounter as exhilarating as they are dangerous.
Performance & Graphics
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+ 2.9GHz
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB / AMD Radeon HD 6670
DirectX: Version 9.0
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 15 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible or onboard chipset
God Eater 2 Rage Burst is quite the welcome surprise from a technical perspective. First off, this happens to be a really decent PC port; a fact that is notable simply because of how much a rarity these days it would seem. With a nicely optimised frame-rate and up to 4K resolution support, God Eater 2 Rage Burst also allows players to tweak a whole heap of visual settings, including everything from shadow quality and texture filtering through to FXAA toggling and particle effects. Nonetheless, despite permitting a good amount of visual tweaking, God Eater 2 Rage Burst is still very much a console title at heart and those origins bleed through too, with smaller environments and character models that while flush with great art direction, are low detail and animated stiffly.
Performance-wise, God Eater 2 Rage Burst gives a great account of itself. Though my own modest rig (2.8 Ghz i5 CPU, 2GB Geforce GTX 670, 16GB RAM) isn’t equipped to run the game at any resolution above 1080p, it can handle everything that is thrown at it during busy scenes with the highest detail presets engaged. Indeed, the framerate rarely falls beneath the 45fps/50fps mark, which while not perfect, is still fluid enough to be eminently playable, and most importantly, hugely responsive.
A cornucopia of anime-styled sound effects and music, God Eater 2 Rage Burst is audiovisually as close to an anime in videogame form that you can get on PC, outside of Bandai Namco’s own Naruto licensed titles. When it comes to the voice acting side of things however, God Eater 2 Rage Burst is somewhat uneven. Not being able to choose a Japanese dub wouldn’t be so painful were it not for the fact that the English dub feels so poorly produced, with many of the characters being overacted to the point of ear-clawing hamminess. Here’s hoping that a future patch or free DLC offering can reinstate the original Japanese language dub option.
Though God Eater 2 Rage Burst proudly wears its console DNA on its sleeve, it nonetheless remains an intriguing and hugely entertaining prospect. While the act of taking down an especially powerful Aragami is horrendously satisfying in single-player, it’s when such feats are completed as part of team with other players online that it becomes a truly compelling prospect, and the satisfaction gleaned from such endeavours is magnified.
In addition to the core offering of God Eater 2 Rage Burst, getting the God Eater Resurrection prequel as a freebie is certainly a wonderful gesture, and while Resurrection isn’t as impressive as its full-blooded sequel, it still remains something that invariably stacks a whole load of value onto package that already brims with longevity.
Ultimately then, In the absence of the Monster Hunter series on PC, God Eater 2 Rage Burst almost effortlessly fills that void. With a neat narrative the likes of which Capcom’s franchise simply cannot boast, and a frankly staggering amount of creative latitude for the player to wage war on the Aragami menace, God Eater 2 Rage Burst is an essential prospect for players looking for their next fast-paced fix of anime-infused, monster smashing action. Oh, and bring friends too.
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST VERDICT
A tremendously well optimised PC port of one of the better Japanese action RPG franchises out there, God Eater 2 Rage Burst gives a great account of itself on PC to the point that you nearly forget that Monster Hunter even existed.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Taking down an extremely powerful Aragami with just seconds left to spare on the mission clock
Good vs Bad
- This is a great PC port - huzzah!
- Online multiplayer is greatly rewarding
- Upgrading and fighting stronger enemies is compelling
- God Eater Resurrection chucked in for free
- Environments are small
- No Japanese language audio