God Eater Burst naturally and deservedly gets compared to the Monster Hunter series. This is a mixed blessing as the Monster Hunter series is one of the biggest franchises in the world and if God Eater Burst is dismissed as a simple clone it would be a true shame. This game may be similar to the Monster Hunter series, but is distinct in both its visual and play styles and is a far more accessible game than Monster Hunter in many ways.
God Eater Burst tells the story of an Earth that has been overcome by mutant beasts called the Aragami and humanity is relegated to outposts of safety. An elite group of heroes has risen called the God Eaters. They wield semi-sentient weapons called God Arcs that can be used to destroy these monsters and reclaim Earth. You start the game by creating your own hero, who passes a trial that gives him access to a God Arc. You begin as a rookie God Eater and over the course of the game grow in power and skill, becoming a legendary hero.
The character creation for the game is incredibly deep, with great freedom over the look and sound of your hero. The game also rewards you with new outfits and accessories you find or buy that further customize the look and feel of your avatar. Once your hero is active the game proper starts and you are presented with some mandatory training missions, which is good because the game has an insane amount of depth if you choose to learn it.
Essentially you are tasked with cleaning up any Aragami issues that arise and in order to do that you need to master your weapons and items to fight effectively. The God Arc is a dual purpose weapon that can be various sword types, three types of guns and a sentient mouth that devours enemies. Switching between these modes is very easy and can be done essentially on the fly.
The God Arc is completely customizable, with various gun types, shield mounts and blades that can be changed in your base. The bullets for your gun can also be customized and switched on the fly during gameplay. You also have a wide variety of items that range from healing orbs, which allies can use, to offensive bombs and traps.
It sounds complex, and it is, but the game gives you a variety of tutorials and initially easy missions to orient yourself to the wide variety of options available. I found that despite the depth that this was a much more accessible game then Monster Hunter, with its dozens of tutorials and convoluted menus. Probably the best way to describe your abilities is to break out a mission and how it would happen.
- First you look at missions at the main desk and accept the one you want – only one mission can be loaded at a time.
- Next you would go to your terminal and set up your equipment loadout, God Eater Burst allows you to obtain equipment in the field, by buying it or by using monster parts retrieved after battle to build or upgrade items. In the equipment screen you can choose your outfit, your blade, shield and gun type as well as a list of bullets and items you have available.
- Once you are happy with your loadout you can enter the mission. Missions are done solo or with up to three other party members, AI controlled or via AdHoc network (I could not find any people to play Ad Hoc with so only used AI companions).
- Entering the mission zone you are presented with a mini map that that flags where you are and where your prey is.
- Approaching the Aragami triggers your team to start attacking (you can set basic rules for them) and then you enter the fray.
- Using your weapons are simple. By default the God Arc is a sword but it can be switched to a gun at any time and the bullets can be adjusted with a tap of button and a quick adjustment.
- Items are also tied to a button, but a menu needs to be overlayed before they can be used. It is a quick step, but the flow does get disrupted at times.
- As the sword, the God Arc can be triggered to ‘devour’ the monster while it is alive. This causes the sword to bite the monsters and triggers an overpowered mode for a short while.
- Once a creature is defeated you can devour the creature to get parts from the Aragami to be used later.
- Once all the tasks are completed the mission ends and you are presented with a completion screen giving experience points and rewards.
That is the missions in a nutshell. Sometimes you are hunting a special creature, other times wiping out everyone and other times you need to only get a certain amount of one type. The game remains somewhat fresh, and superior to Monster Hunter, in the fact that there is actually a decent story involving a conspiracy within the God Eaters.
There are a number of key characters you meet early on who have their own motivations and reasons for being a God Eater. As a new and promising recruit you are often brought into the middle of everyone’s plans and eventually play a key role.
The deep story does make this an engaging experience, but unfortunately the sheer size of the game and its hundreds of missions become repetitive at times. The story was enjoyable, but I found that I had to take breaks after a while because the battles, while dynamic and fun, are essentially the same thing over and over again. I always found myself coming back and playing more, but more variety in mission types would have been greatly appreciated.
Graphically this game is amazing on the PSP. Gods Eater Burst is set in a stylized and devastated Earth that looks remarkable. The art style for the characters and monsters is top-notch and really awe-inspiring. The faces are not terribly dynamic, but they still look great and the voice acting was actually quite good, with a few minor exceptions. I found this world to be much more engaging then I ever found the Monster Hunter one to be and because of the terrific look and feel I enjoyed the game a great deal more as well.
The controls and gameplay is incredibly tight if a little complex. Playing this made me wish that Sony’s new portable was out already as the game needs a few more buttons. Combat and navigation were very accessible, but as there is no pause during missions I found selecting items and bullets to be a tad difficult in the heat of battle. The camera is the biggest gripe I have, as is the case with most PSP games it is not well handled and because of the complex controls not terribly easy to manipulate on the fly.
These gripes aside I have to say that God Eater Burst is a terrific game. It has a really great look and art style with a setting that is fresh and a nice change from the rest of the herd. The game is incredibly rich in missions and story components and is well worth playing to see and experience the world presented in the game. God Eater Burst is well worth investing your time in and once you get a hang of the controls and mechanics you will find yourself losing hours to the game and not minding at all.
God Eater Burst is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence.