God Eater 3 is a lot of things: complicated yet streamlined, goofy and serious, fun but not particularly inspired. The third entry in the God Eater series on the surface feels like a Monster Hunter or Dragon Quest game. There's a team, a battalion's-worth of weaponry, giant monsters, and a complex role-playing system to customize it all. But we'll let the amazing and beautifully animated intro to the game's main menu speak for itself (see below).
In God Eater 3, the player takes on the role of a God Eater, a child given unique abilities that make them the perfect soldier in the war against the destructive Aragami (giant monsters). Truth be told, their abilities are actually more a of curse than a gift, as the imbuing of some of the Aragami's power into a human has disturbing and painful side effects. Additionally, the government doesn't give these new soldiers (officially dubbed Adaptive God Eaters, or AGEs for short) any freedom, forcing them into a sort of slavery where they fight the beasts by day and wait in a jail cell with other AGEs by night. But after an ash storm destroys the facility that houses the main character and his/her friends, they finally have the freedom they've always longed for.
God Eater 3 features character creator that's a lot of fun, allowing a limited but distinct variety of choices. Your character can have any color hair they so choose, in addition to eye-patches, bows, and even bunny ears to adorn their head. Your silent protagonist quickly makes friends with Hugo, the de facto leader of the AGEs in your battlement. He does most of the talking, helping players in a few short tutorial missions that do their best to explain both the lore and the gameplay of this post-apocalyptic world.
Each level follows a similar structure, seeing the player drop into a small area populated with Aragami. After all the monsters are defeated, the player is transported back to their hub world where they can talk to various NPCs, upgrade their loadouts, and prepare for the next mission. The combat of the hack-and-slash variety and in addition to their power, each AGE is equipped with a God Arc - an incredible weapon that functions as both a gun and a sword (and a shield). The guns don't appear to be very effective early on, but because of special ammo types like freeze, see usefulness once the enemies become more difficult to take down. Blade form is the primary way to deal damage, and players will see damage numbers rapidly rack up when teammates are focusing one enemy.
Aside from basic attacks, the characters all have the ability to enter Predator Form, by absorbing some of the soul of a Aragami. Effectively, a giant demon mouth spawns from the character's Arc and eats some of the soul; this allows the player to enter a heightened state where they move faster, do increased damage, and get special bullets for their gun. This "Burst Mode" is highly effective in killing monsters, especially when combined with character's ultimate abilities. The starting power involves partnering with a teammate to increase total damage dealt from both characters for a short time. Each party member also has their own special abilities and different unique God Arcs.
God Eater 3's Aragami are challenging and diverse. Some of their individual appearances are frightening, while others look more like giant crabs or boars. All of their moves are generally telegraphed, so dodging around them and landing the killing blow every time isn't impossible. It doesn't take too much trial and error to get perfect "SSS" scores on missions. The game allows for a vast amount of replayability, encouraging players to go back and improve their grade.
The game also features four-player online co-op for its main missions and that's the recommended way to play God Eater 3. There are also special 8-player co-op assault missions where a matchmaker can group players with others and/or AI allies. While the AI characters are well-programmed and don't always act as damage sponges, God Eater 3 is clearly intended to be played with friends. The short bursts of exciting action followed by basic inventory and leveling up are ideal for a party of four. The story as experienced solo isn't really compelling enough to be more satisfying than fighting along side a real-life friend.
That being said, the game's characters are generally a blast, though some fall into anime tropes without offering much else to round them out. One has to wonder how certain armor for the female characters is at all effective against the Aragami. But the dark and simultaneously light world of God Eater does allow for a perfect backdrop for the over-the-top blade and gun action. The fluid movement on the battlefield is a nice accompaniment to the story that never feels like it slows down.
If God Eater 3 sounds like the average action role playing game, it's because it is pretty cut and dry. In the hours played, it was hard to find something that truly sets the game apart from similar titles. The combat's addition of forms (blade and gun) is unique, but the emphasis when fighting is generally on blade; other games do hack-and-slash better. RPG elements are streamlined but still rich enough to engage more seasoned players. The game's strength is in its multiplayer and drop-in-drop-out style of play. Fans of the series can't go wrong with God Eater 3, but it might not be the game that's getting the series any new ones.
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God Eater 3 is available now on PC and PlayStation 4 for $59.99. Screen Rant was given a PS4 copy for purpose of this review.