God Eater 2 is the latest in a trend of Japanese games being released for a western audience in an updated or remastered form. Originally appearing on the Vita in 2013, the game’s updated Rage Burst version is making its way to the west for the first time on PS4.
Events are set in a world decimated by the Aragami, monstrous beasts that wreak havoc for humanity. Three years on from the events of the original God Eater (conveniently included with God Eater 2 as a similarly upgraded Resurrection Edition), a Red Rain has fallen on the Far East region, infecting all it touches with a fatal plague. As the newest member of the Special Forces Blood division, you and your cohorts are sent to investigate.
While that sounds like a potentially interesting launching-off point, the story is mostly just window dressing for a mission-based grind-‘em-up, in the vein of the Monster Hunter series. Working from within a small home base zone, you’ll select between story and side missions to progress through the game, with cutscenes peppered between the story content to draw you through.
Thankfully, the combat itself is fairly interesting. Much like the aforementioned Monster Hunter, God Eater 2 lets you choose between several varied weapon types for your character, dependant on your preferred play style. Most also have several modes, such as the game’s default weapon switching between blade, gun and shield configurations, allowing you to tweak your tactics per enemy on the fly.
Less thankfully, movement on the field is painfully slow. With large, interconnected zones for you to move through when seeking out targets, it’s a real slog to move your character at their light jogging speed – and while the game does feature a dodge move to speed up your locomotion, the dead-stop between dashes hardly makes it any faster. Once you manage to make it to an enemy things do get better, but the shift between the speed of movement and the speed of combat really pulls you out of the experience. Given how grindy the game is, you’re going to be dealing with this a lot – so be prepared.
You’d hope the story side of things would help, but alas, not so much. As mentioned above, the story is really only the thin layer of glue holding the game’s combat segments together, and is made up of some of the worst Japanese-game clichés that persist to this day. Characters are fairly one-note, and you can pick their archetype from their first scene; the enigmatic leader, the goofy guy, the stoic older warrior, the alluring female in a leadership role, the creepy girl, the “I don’t realise how sexualised I am” younger woman. Combined with clunky dialogue and the usual lusty men tropes, it’s a hodge-podge of my least favourite elements of Japanese game culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love Japanese games – just look at how many RPG reviews you can find under my name on this site – but this is not the land of the rising sun’s best work. I mean, look below.
On the right there? That’s Nana, one of your primary characters. Look at what she’s wearing. Yep, basically a white headband to cover her nipples, held up on one side by… A single suspender, wrapped around her throat? She’s also introduced while eating a long, meaty sandwich enthusiastically. You get where I’m going with this. And here’s a fun fact: Julius, the ‘enigmatic leader’ in the centre there, works for the same military team. Apparently uniform standards are very different for the two genders.
At its core, God Eater 2 has the capacity to be an engaging game. The combat is deep enough that you could have fun trying out all the different weapon and character combos over the course of its story missions, as well as the extra content added as part of the Rage Burst edition. If you’re a fan of this grind-heavy style of RPG, it’s a good holdover until one of the AAA series release a new title. Just be forewarned that you’re going to be wading through a lot of cliché nonsense in the game’s vestigial storyline to get there. If you can handle that, more power to you… But this reviewer will be moving on to newer, better-dressed things.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst was reviewed using a promotional code on Playstation 4 as provided by the publisher.
Review: God Eater 2: Rage Burst