TGS: God Eater 2 is Like One of My Japanese Animes (Also, Like Monster Hunter)

TGS: God Eater 2 is Like One of My Japanese Animes (Also, Like Monster Hunter)

Namco lowers the barrier of entry to monster-hunting on Vita.

You probably never played Gods Eater Burst, because (1) most people who read this site are U.S.- or Europe-based human beings, (2) it was a Monster Hunter clone, and (3) it hit the West well after the overseas PSP market had imploded in on itself.

So, you probably don't care too much about the sequel, which Bandai Namco had on display at their Tokyo Game Show booth this year. Chances seem pretty slim that Namco will bother to localize it into English, given that the first one landed with such a dull thud and the Western Vita market isn't looking much healthier than the PSP market was at the time.

But maybe they should! God Eater 2 may be a Monster Hunt clone, sure, but it's a pretty good one. It aims for accessibility, trading the sluggish feel of Capcom's juggernaut for faster-paced action. The four-player cooperative creature combat remains in place, though for loner types you can also venture forth with up to three AI companions as well, as you take on a variety of missions (based on the TGS demo) to slay both rabble mobs and hulking monstrosities alike.

The central hook for God Eater 2's combat has to do with your character's dual combat stances. While the bulk of the action brings melee combat to the fore, you can also transform your gigantic sword into a rifle that lets you gun down enemies from a safe distance. The rifle mode has sharply limited "ammunition," which actually takes the form of an energy gauge that can be refilled by switching back to melee mode and landing a succession of blows on a bad guy. Sure, this makes no sense at all, but it makes for a good play mechanic.

Aesthetically, God Eater 2 also aims for greater accessibility -- in Japan, that is. Its visual style is decidedly anime in approach, with the dull colors and subdued tropical character designs of Monster Hunter giving way to vivid primaries and big-eyed grizzled warriors who look to be all of 17 years old. Slabs of bone and metal armor instead take the form of light accessories that accent the characters' cool designs; one of the girls in the promo art wears an open vest with a white cloth wrap binding down her chest, anime samurai-style. Methodical semi-realism definitely isn't the watch word here.

While the visuals may not do much for me -- the cartoon kid heroes clash profoundly with the fairly grungy backgrounds and grotesque monster designs -- God Eater 2 appeals to me for all the reasons that Monster Hunter feels so opaque. It's accessible and fast, whereas Monster Hunter requires patience and mastery. I have no doubt that this same low barrier to entry will make for a far more shallow experience than Monster Hunter, but it seems ideally suited for pick-up-and-play action... whereas Monster Hunter is the sort of game you either play for 100 hours or you don't touch at all. As someone not exactly burdened by copious free time, something a little less demanding sounds just about right.

Again, God Eater 2's localization prospects aren't the greatest, but as we've seen with Final Fantasy Type 0, sometimes loud demands make a difference. Quick, someone, go start a petition.

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