Monster Hunter World was one of my top games of the past few years, so I was really looking forward to dipping into God Eater 3, obviously an entirely different — though long-running — franchise and take on the monster hunting premise. A little closer to a frenetic action game, God Eater 3 excels in combat but unfortunately places those generally enjoyable monster hunts in rather repetitive missions, framed by a rote anime-style story that isn’t very memorable.
That story begins with the god eaters as prisoners, and after a tutorial mission, moves to the story proper, where the liberated god eaters are tasked with clearing the way for a caravan. Their primary targets are the monstrous Aragami, hulking and often creatively rendered amalgamations of biological and mechanical elements. Over 25 relatively short missions, you will fight increasingly numerous and more powerful Aragami, but thanks to the God Arcs - the god eaters’ powerful, multi-faceted weapons - many of the fights are fast, furious and over quickly.
Without a doubt, using the God Arc and its ability to instantly change from melee to ranged weapon and all its many upgrades and modifications is both the core of God Eater 3 and its most successful element. There are a few protracted fights but they come later in the game and they are nothing like the drawn-out, multi-stage encounters of Monster Hunter. The combat is heavy on fast action and using Burst Mode, which amps up the speed, damage and combo effectiveness of a specific weapon. Many of the bosses are significant and well-balanced between offensive and defensive strategies. Happily, the AI team members are competent and seem to acquit themselves with minimal direction. God Eater 3 can also be played cooperatively online, though I was unable to test this feature.
The story and dialogue are drowning in traditional, stock anime characters and sort of goofy, over-the-top and relatively nonsensical relationships. It all seems like harmless and forgettable fun that does little more than introduce new AI buddies and sets up the next mission and Aragami hunt. The score ranges from dramatic to chipper and over time grows pretty repetitive.
God Eater 3 is not a graphical tour de force but it’s colorful and vibrant and many lighting and weapon effects are striking, if environments are less so. Done in a semi-realistic, anime cartoon style, there is enough freedom in a character creation that player can craft a unique hero, complete with all the aesthetic elements core to the genre. Likewise, the God Arcs are nearly infinitely customizable. though the choice-heavy upgrade process isn’t necessarily well explained. What finally pulls God Eater 3 down is the relatively unchanging nature of its missions, which vary mostly in number of enemies.
Not having played any of the previous God Eater games, I can’t speak to how the franchise has progressed. As a stand alone product, God Eater 3 has generally engaging combat, some depth and complexity in terms of weapon and skill development and a story and character that are not actively bad, just generic and not very creative. Fans of Monster Hunter and games in the genre will enjoy the shorter encounters and faster, more fluid combat.