I was worried God Eater 3 would either overwhelm or bore me, but it’s hard to anticipate both. The anime style, catchy music, and promise of adventure held me enough to take on the game, even though I’ve had no experience with the previous entries and the trailer lacked any real pizzaz. I wanted something new, deep, and fresh, but in the end, I wonder if its name was the cleverest thing the game had to offer.
This is the third main entry in a series that loves to release expanded versions of the same game. So many compare this series to Monster Hunter and I wanted to avoid that if I could, but there are just too many similarities to ignore. For those wanting more of the same or who might have desired a more direct and guided experience, God Eater 3 could still make some quite happy.
God Eater 3 is a hack and slash action game that is very stop-and-go with its gameplay. It requires players to learn strategies, manage equipment and upgrades, and respond quickly to attacks while possibly being a little grindy for some. However, it has a more relatable story and prettier anime boys, but that isn’t really where it succeeds as much as some personal tastes might be met.
God Eater 3’s world isn’t a lush open continent but a dark, depressing place where children are used as disposable warriors and the weapon is more important than the person. These weapons (and the people who wield them) are the only thing that can stop the ash and monsters that are slowly consuming the world. It’s easy to get the motivation of these characters—survival. I just wish the story did more with this. The narrative isn’t this game’s strong point and the big moments rarely feel earned or as interesting as they might have been in a straight up anime.
The character creator is a bit limited and some aspects don’t look right. I also had a slight annoyance that they had me pick a voice even though I spend the cutscenes as a mute—it’s for the grunts. The other characters range from more forgettable than what I had for lunch yesterday to almost interesting, but then they have poorly written dialog and bad random lines after combat like, “I forgot to wear socks, oh well,” or wondering what type of nail polish one of the other characters is wearing.
In MHW the players set out into a detailed large open area that can be explored and taken at any pace, while in God Eater 3 we have small instances that all look the same after a while, as zones are often revisited. There is a time limit and as soon as the objective is met a countdown to return home starts. It’s a repetitive formula and the lack of exploration hurts the experience.
The game feels very restricting in the beginning. It doesn’t help that the starting area is a literal cage the characters keep returning to. The locations players spend time in between missions do change and get bigger, but there is something slightly suffocating about them. It doesn’t help that you eventually have a child following you around these areas also making it feel even more cramped. I did not ask for this.
As far as tutorials go, I appreciate how detailed God Eater 3 is, even if I still had to experiment to figure out exactly what a couple of things meant. I was constantly wondering if I had missed some part of the upgrading or fine-tuning process. There is so much to read in the first few hours, a lot of menus and lists to check, leading to a ton of small things to remember during combat. I had wondered if there were better ways to get some of this information across, but imagine a good portion of it wasn’t needed for returning players.
Gameplay is easy to compare to Monster Hunter and the reasons are evident to anyone who plays both. The mechanics aren’t necessarily any deeper, but they felt as easy to get into as the story did. I enjoyed having the gun mechanics and switching back and forth, allowing me to adjust my playstyle as the encounters changed. I especially liked the system of eating one of these supposed gods to acquire bonuses and a buff toward killing others of that type. It felt neat and strategic. It’s just a shame that so much of the gameplay feels like only pressing square and triangle while waiting for other abilities to proc.
Movement itself doesn’t feel too bad, minus some awkward moments with the camera, but the controls are not intuitive. The buttons are assigned poorly, having simple actions like dodging requiring multiple inputs and many basic movements messed up by the same button being responsible for multiple actions. Sometimes I’m not fully sure what my character is going to do when I press certain combinations. I think my own speed costs me at times and cancelling out of some actions doesn’t always seem to work.
Missions can be tedious if someone isn’t fully into the gameplay. It doesn’t help that the enemies never get interesting, even if the design and details about them are cool. After each excursion, there is always something new to change or tweak with the characters, constantly checking the crafting, ability, and upgrade menus. It’s fun to watch the character and allies grow in power, but once that slows down it feels more like a slog.
Simply put, the game isn’t visually stunning and won’t impress anyone. There have been reports of a few framerate issues but I only noticed a little bit of slowdown myself. In a lot of ways, God Eater 3 doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade from its predecessors, though it is in the hands of a new development team. Even though I may not have played the first few entries, it isn’t hard to see that the series hasn’t progressed a ton from its previous systems. This is a title that focuses on the gameplay and if that doesn’t grab a player, there won’t be much else there to keep anyone’s attention.
For fans of the series or those who connect with this game over others in the genre, God Eater 3 will probably feel worth the time and it sounds like they are going to be developing several updates and adding some new monsters for free. The multiplayer will offer some entertainment as well, with the player taking their customized character into four or eight player scenarios. These Assault Missions are chaotic while still needing a little something more.
God Eater 3 is a good game, it’s just sad most will skip it. I liked the game more at first because it dives in more directly and the missions feel much easier, but it’s sad how quickly the excitement stalls out. The story escalates quicker and feels more like some of the Final Fantasy titles I enjoy—so it’s more relatable. Now though, if I wanted to play something in this genre I would head back to MHW, but this is an enjoyable alternative that just doesn’t meet that god level.
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