[Review] Gods Eater Burst – Not Too Tasty
Available on: PSP; Publisher: D3Publisher; Developer: Namco Bandai; Players: 1 – 4; Released: March 15, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Website
Gods Eater Burst stands out amongst its monster hunting, Arcana touting brethren with its anime-like visuals and character designs. Instead of monsters, players hunt Aragami beasts in Gods Eater Burst, which roughly translates to the same thing, so players know what they’re getting themselves into. Beyond that though, the gameplay offers little that players haven’t seen before and is a mediocre game at best.
When players first jump into the Gods Eater universe, the visuals will instantly grab them. Aside from the cliché cutesy, moe and reserved, cool designs, the game has a variety of environments as well, such as lava filled battlefields and city ruins. However, for all the variety that we get, bland and generic level designs will quickly bore players and reveal how different coats of paints can’t cover up lazy level designs. The lava in the battlefields do nothing other than provide a barrier between different spots of the stage and force players to take the long way across winding roads, all the while Aragami beasts can walk across lava or fly over buildings, making levels unnecessarily long.
If there had been some change in the Aragami beasts’ attack patterns, then the experience would have been far more engaging. Instead, players will find themselves repeating the same tactics until monsters fall dead. After several sessions, the game begins to feel like clockwork, boiling down to little more than basic preparation around base, such as inventory management or equipment creation, and taking down marks. However, the preparation process itself sometimes became a pain. Upon returning from a mission, players will have to go through an elevator, up a hallway, and back into their room before they can manage their inventory or equipment. Both options are essential to this game, yet it is such a hassle to access either one. Although it may make sense that characters have to do all that in their own rooms, from a gameplay standpoint, it is definitely unnecessary and seems like a cheap way to force more playtime out of players.
Gods Eater Burst offers two basic weapon types, a gun and a sword, with several subcategories. However, they offer little variety and, aside from stat bonuses that offer no aesthetic differences, are practically interchangeable in gameplay. In addition, there is no leveling to speak of, so the types of strategies players adopt will change little throughout the game. Ironically, bullets, the smallest in the game, stand out the most. The customization options are almost limitless, allowing players to create a bullet that will suit their needs. Initially, players only start off with elemental bullets like normal shots, mortar, or homing lasers, but these seem like child’s play compared to some of the possibilities, such as a laser that can surround the player like a force field. This feature is pretty complicated and definitely has a high learning curve. Sadly, most players probably won’t even explore this feature because of its difficulty and the fact that it is, to be honest, unnecessary. Having gone through half the game so far without using the feature once, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have used it unless I made an effort to try the system out.
Gods Eater Burst’s other saving grace is the detail the artists put into both the monsters, characters, and even the weapon itself, the god arc. Some of the monsters, like the Quadriga, are truly a feast on the eyes; as the Quadriga’s exhaust opened up to reveal a missile launcher, I couldn’t help but yelp over both excitement and the adrenaline rush that that told me to “jump the hell away.” Regardless of weapon chosen, the god arc will seamlessly transform from one to the other. These little visual details are a sure treat for videophiles, barring the PSP’s graphical limitations.
The game is mediocre for the most part, with an interesting bullet customization feature, interesting designs that will excite anime otaku and details that show an effort from the artists’ part. On the gameplay front, the game gets stale quickly and will probably need gamers to work harder to keep their attention on the game than the other way around. By no means is the game terribly designed, but it just feels uninspired and unfulfilled. Gods Eater Burst definitely has room for improvement, and it will be interesting to see where it can go in the future with the necessary changes.