After going through different games, I have noticed that I begin to neglect handhelds. This had to be corrected and what would be a better game for the hunter to write about than a “hunting” game. Don’t worry though, my spectrum on games is larger than that, but since a 2nd game is in the making (and hopefully will come to us from the far way land of Japan), I figured, I would take a look on the first game.
The first statement about the game which comes to my mind is, that it is basically Monster Hunter with a story. Whenever this is true or not, I will explain in this commentary. (or review…or whatever you would like to call this)
Basically, in its very core, it is like Monster Hunter. Before you, dear (possibly non existent) reader skip the whole thing and write a monologue of how wrong I am, let me explain. You take missions (i.e. killing monster), collect objects, get money, upgrade your weapons and kill more of those things. This is the same thing you do in Monster Hunter, but that doesn’t make God Eater a shameless copy of it.
Let’s start with the setting. In the near future, a meteor crashed on earth and with it, strange cells which consume, develop and evolve too quickly than mankind could handle the situation. These cells took form and turned into Monsters (Aragami) devour anything in their way from buildings to humans and other Aragami to evolve into bigger creatures. And normal weapons don’t really hurt them. You can do the math, why human kind is at the point of extinction in this game.
The only hope are the God Eaters, humans infused with the Bias Factor which wield huge Swords and Guns to battle those creatures. And you are one of them. As fresh meat *clears throat* Rookie you joined the Far Eastern Branch of Fenrir (which is a nice name in hinsight, I will explain that later) to be one of the New Types, a new Generation of God Eaters, which can switch between blade and gun in battle.
Without spoiling too much about the story, let’s look at the NPCs. You can take them to battle, they help you and are generally useful (when they don’t shoot you, when you engage close combat…isn’t that right, Kanon?) The AI isn’t that bad either, pretty solid I would say, which each Character having his/her own “tactic”, but since it is more story based than Monster Hunter, let’s look at them from the story perspective.
What do we have? Your Unit consists of…A happy-go-lucky, little brother type of person (Kota), a benevolent good Leader which is rather carefree and easy going (Lindow), the nice, fanservice medic Lady who has clearly a thing for her Leader (Sakuya), the young, talented, wellspoken, rather self-confident (just look at her clothes) recently transfered girl (Alisa), and last but not least, the brooding, unfriendly young man who has serious issues and believes he is a monster (Soma). We have all heard of those types before, but that isn’t bad. A little cliche, but not bad.
And how can I forget you, the almost silent protagonist with no backstory and whose gender doesn’t make a difference at all. (Well, everyone assumes that you are male and there is just one dialog which is changed when female…and that wasn’t important.) Naturally, you aren’t just the fresh meat for the Aragami but as well for some of the mess which happens inside of the branch.
…Why do I always get a bad vibe from such guys?
Story, well yes, I didn’t expect much and I was surprised when I found out that it was quite…soild. In a good way. Of course, there are a few flaws (like predictable twists) or the thought that some character (especially side characters) could have been more fleshed out more, but all in all, it was interesting and entertaining. The voice over was pretty good as well. (or at least it didn’t gave me a headache)
When it comes to the battle, the only thing I have to critize a little bit is the mechanics and the camera. The latter is never there where I need it and after a few matches, my fingers started to hurt (due to the buckly mechanics) because of always rejusting them and keeping an eye on the thing I had to kill. I hope they correct that in the sequel. Of course that is a personal matter.
What I find great are the dynamics of the weapon. You can switch between gun, sword and shield in battle if the need arises and you can modify bullets for your gun and test them. You can alter the weapon as well, just like in Monster Hunter, through parts you collect from Aragami. Then there are different kinds of grenades, traps and bombs which you can buy. There is also the option to devour a part of your prey to get a boost and resources. The Aragami don’t look bad either, especially the stronger forms who are a real challenge. (Hannibal…I have a hate-love-relationship with it)
Was it worth the hunt? Yes, definitely. To be honest, I enjoyed it more than the Monster Hunter games because of the story I had more like a goal or got curious what will happen next. On the other hand it lacks the variation in things of weapons and armor (In God Eater…your look doesn’t really affect anything. Even when you wear a ridicioulous bear outfit)
Is God Eater a bold copy of Monster Hunter?…Eh…How should I put it? It has the stigma like every Adventure Hunting game that it was released after MH (which was released in 2004 by the way. GE came out 2010.) After a concept of a game is made and proven that it can work, it is just natural that it will appear in other games. My point is, that you can’t reinvent the wheel over and over again. What matters is how the game is presented and how the mechanics are improved or altered.
Being able to switch weapons in battle offers other strategies and opportunity than chosing them before the mission. Then you can’t create new traps, grenades or something in the mission like you could in MH. Then the artstyle is different. God Eater sports a more anime-style look (even in the opening scene) and is something between a little bit colourful and apocalyptic wasteland, while MH has a definetly more colourful and “happier” setting. (happier is debatable, I know.) There are differences as well as similarities in things like gameplay, but the setting is different as well as the focus. In MH you just hunt for the hunts sake and become stronger, GE relys here more on the story. I will say the games are similar, but won’t go as far as to claim that it is a shameless copy.
I will draw the conclusion line here, fun facts like name meaning and such are below and optional.
Hannibal (not Lecter, but the ante portas- Hannibal, a general which almost got hold of the Capital of Rome – I find it funny that the Aragami is later turned into Calligula…a crazy, bloodthristy Roman Emporer)
Name theming…What have we here? Japanese, Latin, Greek, Chinese, Sanskrit, German…oh what joy…*clears throat* Of course, most of the Aragami (which basically means malevolent/destructive deity or deity incarnate, depending on how it is written) are named after Gods, but there are exceptions. Like the Zygotes (means “cells”), Quadriga (a chairot drawn by four horses), Sariel (an arc angel) etc.
The one which really stands out is the Borg Camlann. I can offer two explanations. First, the more known one, is that it refers to the last Battle of King Arthur (where he died), the second is that it is named after the Roman fort of Camboglanna (which is Brittonic for “crooked enclosure” or “crooked bank of a river”)
Arda Nova…Latin, if Arda comes from “Arden” which means “great forest” and “Nova” means “new” (in astronomy a star which releases a tremerous burst of energy and becomes temperary bright.)…I see what you did there, Game. I see what you did there.
Fenrir? Norse Mythology? Wolf who devours Gods? How…fitting?
From the main characters…which stand out? Yeah, it is a rhetorical question. Of course, Johannes Schicksal, Soma, Dr. Paylor and Lindow. Johannes being a bibical name (ironically means “God is gracious”) and Schicksal being the german word for “fate”.
Soma is a more interesting case. It is greek for Body and in biology is the term for the body of a cell, but the fun fact comes in when we see at the Sanskrit meaning. (heaven, ether, sky and…nectar of the moon (yeah, seriously.))
Lindow is actually a surname (from a nobel german family) and it mean “One came from Lindall (linden tree valley)” So, yeah, what has the name to do with all that? Well, the linden are a germanic holy symbol, trees which would help to unearth/find the truth. I might be interpreting to much in it…but it’s oldly fitting for the character. (Sakuya can come from the word saku “bloom”, but can also refer to konohanasakuya)
Paylor…just how can I not laugh at this? A marker of pails and buckets…or a word for a frying pan…I…think… I will stop there.