Wednesday, July 6, 2016

God Eater Resurrection (PS VITA)

Bandai Namco's "God Eater Resurrection" was a new experience for me. I had never played any of the previous games in the series, and only had a vague idea of what it was about. Going into it as blindly as I did I found that I was mostly concerned as to whether or not I needed background info on the previous game/s, or if it would be a standalone experience. Thankfully, despite throwing out names, events, and explanations all over the place the game still offered the gamer a proper entry point into the series without losing them along the way. I kind of figure "God Eater Resurrection" is a remaster of the first game, or something between the first and the second release considering how the game played out plot-wise, but that is only a guess.

When it comes to the given story, and gameplay therein Bandai Namco's developers continuously drop hints of specific characters' involvement as well as information on a corporation fighting to save humanity, and the plague of alien creatures known as the Aragami which are hellbent on wiping out all of humankind to the point of extinction. This fight becomes evident through the main character which is a generic creation molded to the gamers' specifications at the beginning of the playthrough. A character that is a standout presence in the story being told, but only vaguely so through the implied "chosen one" cliche that has been used in so many other JRPG adventures. Past the game's intro cinematic, and initial character creation which harbors detailed name, voice, color, and aesthetic options it becomes apparent that your character is to take on the previously mentioned cliche role of an extraordinary individual, and that he/she is to make strides in the waning warfare that has the corporation you are working for backed into a corner along with the remaining human population.

For whatever reason you are special among the other recruits, and thus you are adopted into a new God Arc program at the Fenrir Corporation's East Branch with a new God Arc weapon ready for your binding contract. This pairing of man/woman, and triple threat weaponry known as God Arc is performed at the island facility, and it is here where orders related to your newfound powers are distributed and further explained. It is the Fenrir Corporation which runs said island establishment, and it is they who are ultimately humanity's last hope against the looming threat of annihilation set into motion by the Aragami who have invaded the futuristic Earth. It is also in the East Branch of the Fenrir establishment where you will meet your commanding officers, and comrades in arms in a joint effort to fight the good fight. As a Fenrir recruit you will ultimately gear up, and brave the missions laid out for you in the standard, urgent, and special assortment for the sake of survival.

Though your obligation is forthright in explanation your accepted mission objectives, or rather the missions you'll be fulfilling for Fenrir will in effect help stop the growing Aragami invasion, and bank you some loot supposing you don't succumb to the effects of being attached to a weapon crafted from the same cells as the beasts you are trying to exterminate. You will take to your duties optionally in both the offline, and online environments with supporting characters, and/or players at your side. While you are a one man/woman army in your own right it is a team effort, and through gameplay you will come to realize just how vulnerable a person in your position can be in the face of such adversity.

Gameplay ...

Gameplay in "God Eater Resurrection", as it were is a threefold engagement. By that I mean you will be managing your created character's role, and their accompanying mission objectives after you've learned the ropes of gameplay (tutorial missions), and have accepted one of three different types of missions (standard by difficulty, urgent, special) to take on. The third thing you'll be tasked with is character equipment management, and that too is done within the East Branch hub. It is in this base of sorts that you'll learn who you are, what your newfound weapon is capable of, and how to complete mission tasks. In the East Branch hub you'll also find accessible, and inaccessible rooms that house your superiors, and fellow recruits. There are even terminals in place to access game info (bestiary, characters, music, movies, ...), store/remove items, and ready yourself for the battle at hand.

As far as said fight goes you are readily equipped with a major multi-tool that packs one heck of a punch. With your new God Arc in hand you will be able to change it's weapon type into three different main forms including that of a sword, a gun, and a shield. Each of which has sub-categories or alternate forms that affect gameplay according to their inherent capabilities on the battlefield. With the God Arc in it's offensive forms (sword/melee) you'll be able to take down enemy Aragami targets, and consume them for items/materials that can then be used to upgrade, or craft new weapon types. In it's defensive form (shield) you can even assist players, or party members through link aid (revival) and link assists. Either that, or defend against incoming Aragami attacks. Each weapon form can be switched on the fly, and can benefit the wielding character in various ways depending on circumstance, and enemy type. For example a flying Aragami is best dealt with using the gun type God Arc, and a specific bullet type. Speaking of bullet types you'll find a vastly more diverse collection of obtainable ammo than gun weapon types alone. Simply stop by the East Branch's shop, and you can use your obtained currency to gain them, and any other weapons, or equipment that you deem necessary. Of course the more you play, and complete mission objectives the more the shop items will open up to you.

While weapon play is a huge focus in relation to combat the battlegrounds on which you fight also serve their own purpose, if slightly so. The landscapes on which the missions take place are 3D environments that come complete with ledges to climb, and maze-like paths put into place to make locating, and destroying the Aragami a doable task. Knowing how to approach the fight, and how to make the best of your surroundings is half of the battle. Even with combat options such as assist items that can be brought up in the "SELECT" menu you will need to learn how to out maneuver, and defend against the Aragami using both your God Arc, and the landscapes around you. With your God Arc weapon at the ready you'll find that you can not only deal damage, but that you can access a sub-menu of assist items (health refills, stun grenades ...) as well as maneuver defensively and offensively as you wield any form of the God Arc. Running is a possibility, as is evasion, and targeting. As I mentioned earlier you can even climb up onto a cliff side for advantages over the ground dwelling Aragami.

As with any action JRPG such fights also come with their own set of limitations. In this case there is a stamina meter which governs how long you can run or evade. There's even a health bar that let's you know how close you are to death. Since the gun form of the God Arc uses ammo there's also a meter for it that lets you know when using the sword form would be in your best interest. It's all about learning how, and when to use what. Thankfully your character, and his/her teammates come more prepared than I may have made it seem. Along with God Arcs players also have upgradeable stats, and skills which will come in handy as the difficulty in the missions increases. Using earned 'GAP' and 'AP' points from completed mission objectives you can empower your character, and his/her party beyond the base level. It should also be noted that the missions where you earn these points will award you a completion rating accordingly with "SSS+" being the highest obtainable score. For those of you taking the game online you'll find this as an opportunity for bragging rights as your character has a player card which shows your feats of prowess.

The Verdict ...

When it comes to gameplay options there's definitely plenty to do in "God Eater Resurrection". Whether you play through the missions, enjoy the informational tidbits surrounding the game's lore, listen to the soundtrack, or watch the in-game cutscenes it's a game that more than warrants it's $20 asking price. If you pre-order "God Eater 2: Rage Burst" on the PS4/PS Vita you can also get this game as an added bonus making it an even more worthy purchase. For those of you worried about PS Vita graphics I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the game's anime character design, enemy design, and environmental elements are all noteworthy. While they may slightly pale in comparison to the PS4 they more than hold their own on the PS Vita. The really cool thing is that the PS Vita version features cross-save option, and maybe even cross-play between the PS4 (I'm not 100% sure about the latter)? The game gets my seal of approval, regardless!

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