God Eater 3 Review
Developed by Marvelous, Inc. God Eater 3 launched to a moderate reception earlier this year, continuing the ongoing saga of battling the Aragami with powerful reverse-engineered weapons known as God Arcs. With a somewhat wild and winding narrative that overpowers the enjoyable gameplay, the title has finally made its way onto the Nintendo Switch, letting you save the world in ruin anywhere you go, but is it worth bringing the apocalypse with you?
God Eater 3 attempts to fill the player in on what they may have missed from the previous entries, and it accomplishes this by throwing a whole lot of terminology and half-answers at your face to see what may or may not stick. It is a ton of information, but never quite enough to get a full answer for new players, and I found myself having to look up a lot of questions I had between battles. Clearly I hadn’t played the previous games in the series, but there was still something about God Eater 3 that grabbed my interest. There are some fantastic mechanics here with fun combat to be had, yet it’s bogged down by constantly offering about three minutes worth of combat for every 10 of dialogue. This does lend itself well to the portability of the Switch, but only if you are looking for something to play in very short bouts.
As far as gameplay goes, the best analogy I have is Monster Hunter meets Devil May Cry, yet the game is very light in both respects. You’ll be able to upgrade and craft gear based on parts you devour off of fallen enemies – much in the vein of Monster Hunter – and so the more powerful foe you defeat, the better the gear/parts. It’s nice to have crafting in the game, and the further you progress the more recipes you unlock, but ultimately it could have been replaced with a basic store and had the same effect. Combat is quite reminiscent of Devil May Cry with the ability to fight in the air, hacking and slashing and pulling off interesting combos. Yet, again, it doesn’t quite have the same kick as you would hope. Targeting in combat can be quite a mess and the uninspired environments can make these short encounters on the battlefield feel repetitive in a hurry.
That’s not to say it isn’t somehow quite enjoyable. Swapping between melee and ranged weapons on the fly is a lot of fun, especially since ammo is recharged with melee attacks. Even the shields look cool as they attach to your weapon in unique and interesting ways. The slick design of the God Arcs – combining the mechanical with the biological – look fantastic and feel awesome with a nice variety of weapon styles that accommodate whatever your playstyle may be. The level design, however, does not benefit from the same attention to detail. The setting for the game is interesting, but its presentation feels last gen.
I was apprehensive at the control scheme using the Joy-Cons, as games which have a slightly more complicated layout can be just a little more difficult with those tiny controls. The game itself handles easily enough from a mechanical aspect whether docked or in handheld mode, but it is over-complicated and does not feel intuitive in the slightest. I can’t tell you how many times I intended to do something like raise my shield or check my inventory and managed to use a healing potion instead. I mean, cool, I needed it, but even the on-screen prompts didn’t help. I feel like if I had previous experience in the series than this would all have been a breeze, but coming in as a newcomer wanting a fast paced, post-apocalyptic hack and slash, I was instead met with a confusing yet formulaic coming-of-age story about teenagers with powers overcoming adversity and saving the day. I had hoped for more out of this game – that’s not to say it isn’t a nice palette cleanse between more flushed out titles – but I don’t feel there is enough of a draw to make me want more of this played out story.
God Eater 3 is a middling experience of ideas and gameplay that paradoxically work and don’t work. It can be a lot of fun and it can be a slog of dialogue. It can be an intense firefight and epic battle, but only last less than a minute before returning to base. Somewhere beneath the tangled web of ideas lies a wonderful game but for now, in its current state, it’s a serviceable experience to pass the time on the go if you ignore the narrative and stick to the hack and slash chaos. I had hoped for more out of the level design and overall presentation but sadly it feels like something from the late PS3 era. Hopefully Marvelous will learn from this experience to make God Eater 4 everything we could ever want in the end times.
**Nintendo Switch code provided by the publisher**
- Interesting Narrative/Plot
- Easy For Short-Burst Gaming
- Cool Combat Mechanics
- More Dialogue Than Combat
- Complex Controls
- Familiar Tropes