djratchet's God Eater Burst (PlayStation Portable) review

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A solid game for fans of the genre.

(Originally posted by me on PSP Demo Center, reposted for GB)

In a land torn apart by ruthless monsters, it is up to the God Eaters to hunt down the Aragami threat and save the Earth. Will the mysterious newcomer to the team give the God Eaters the edge they need to survive?

The Story Begins

The story of Gods Eater Burst kicks off with a new rookie that joins a team of warriors known as the God Eaters. God Eaters hunt monsters called 'Aragami' which have overrun the Earth, turning it into a barren wasteland. By using weapons that contain Aragami DNA, God Eaters devour them and steal some of their power with each kill. The God Eaters are always growing stronger, but the Aragami are always evolving, reproducing, and mutating at a much faster rate. No matter how hopeless it may seem, the God Eaters fight an uphill battle to kill these monsters so that they may be able to one day restore order in the world.

You Are The Hero

Instead of using a pre-determined character, the game had me create my own custom character. The customization options are pretty varied; I could choose the gender, height, weight, hair color, ethnicity, clothes, and even different voice sets for when I was in combat. These customizations are purely cosmetic and don't affect the gameplay in any meaningful way, but it is still a nice touch nonetheless. After creating a character, I was given the option to complete tutorial missions to familiarize myself with the gameplay and controls, which was immensely helpful to me, but is probably not needed for veterans of action role-playing games, such as the Monster Hunter series, since the gameplay is very similar.

A Day In The Field

As I just mentioned, Gods Eater Burst's gameplay should become instantly familiar to anyone that has become acquainted with Capcom's popular Monster Hunter series. For those of you who aren't familiar with Monster Hunter, let me break down how an average session of Gods Eater is played out. I get dropped into a fairly large area, usually bringing along a few AI-controlled allies along for the ride. Aragami roam around the stage, waiting to be found by my crew, and then we work to take them down. The Aragami never go down easy, so it basically boils down to a battle of endurance. As my team and I chip away at the target's health, the enemy may either mutate by moving their weak points around, or attempt an escape. If they try to run, we have to give chase. If the target mutates, my team's attacks will have to change until we find the new weak points. Most missions also have a timer, so it becomes a race against the clock, as well as a brutal battle against the enemies. After the targets have been eliminated, the team is extracted and brought back to the base, where items are re-stocked and the next mission can be viewed. Outside of battles, I could customize my equipment, which consisted of a shield, a sword, and a gun. These three pieces of equipment helped give the combat some much needed variety, keeping the gameplay fresh. Depending on what I equipped, it could change various traits such as attack speed, power, range, and defense. Making sure my character was fully prepared for the battles ahead was incredibly important. Aside from changing out weapons, I could also change clothes if I felt inclined, but the clothes were purely aesthetic without any bearing on the gameplay. This flow of completing missions was very easy to get the hang of, and I found it to be really enjoyable.

The Other Stuff

The graphics are pretty detailed, and look nice and crisp on the PSP's display. The sound effects and music are top notch, weapons seem to have real impact, and the music always fits the atmosphere. The voice acting is a bit iffy in spots, but it was never too bad. The multiplayer in Gods Eater Burst seems like a great draw. Unfortunately I was unable to try it, but up to 4 players can connect via an ad-hoc connection and work together on missions, which is great. I found myself wishing that the protagonist would actually speak during cutscenes, but this wasn't a huge deal. It was just a bit bizarre to hear all the characters have one-sided conversations with a silent character a lot of the time.

The Final Word

Gods Eater Burst is an impressive PSP game. The game gets tough, but it did a good job of steadily preparing me to handle nearly everything the game threw at me. I say nearly because I still ran into dead ends occasionally, but nothing a bit of extra grinding didn't fix. I wish the weak points on the Aragami were made more obvious, because it is usually really hard to tell, especially after they shift. Different difficulty levels may have also been useful for this game, for people like myself unfamiliar with this style of game. My advice is, if you are a fan of the monster hunting genre, this game is definitely worth looking into. I personally did not "click" with this game, but I appreciated what it brought to the table for fans of the genre.

Gods Eater Burst is by Namco Bandai Games, and is now available for $39.99 on UMD and PSN. I played the game for roughly 6 hours on my PSP, completing several missions.

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