At this point, I think we all know about God Eater. Do you remember the two first versions, God Eater and God Eater Burst though?
God Eater Burst was God Eater + DLC and a whole lot more, from reqorked characters and storylines, to added content, fixed bugs and added gameplay elements and changes. An almost perfect expansion to a game. The premise is very beasic for these games. The player had missions in small areas with barely more than 8 things occupying the screen, with very fast combat full of hidden mechanics(various cancels and a lot of ways to combo), three-in-one weapons of blades, gun and shield for maximum manoeuvrability, aerial and dashing combat, no distractions from the environment and the “monsters” being outright the bosses of the game. As in, the boss you’d encounter at the end of a difficult level in an action game with a tough as nails encounter. Not only that, several missions were boss gangbangs with no remorse. And a story. And they followed the DMC3 philosophy when it came to how combat works and how bosses work. Fast-paced, twitch reflexes with free-flowing player input and almost zero physical restrictions while the enemies were very meticulously crafted enemies that had been beefed up to the maximum, with an array of behavioural patterns and attacks when the situation called for it. The breaking of parts and getting better loot for it carried over from MonHun.
Keep all these things in mind as this is the skeleton of God Eater. When the game run its course, things were dicey within Bandai Namco due to it thought of being just a standalone release from its makers, Shift. Bandai Namco just liked the money it rolled in and decided to make a new one. And that’s where the problems started. By September of 2011, a year after its japanese release and 6 months after its international release, news of a second game in the series surfaced, with new screens emerging :
The graphics, looked like something that could rival Type-0, the Final Fantasy game that would come out that year on the PSP. Then, the trailer came out :
“OH MY GOD IT’S AMAZ-wait what?” were probably the first thoughts of those who knew of God Eater. Alls well and fine, new artstyle, new aragami, new weapons and new NPCS(prototype Nana and Prototype Gillbert for those wondering) but something was horribly off. “Do you have what it takes to be the chose one?” that right there was a warning sign. God Eater, while having a story, was about character progression and small scale, personal tales of struggle and bravery. Even in the one instance you and your team stop the world from getting…mildly worse, it’s more of a personal tragedy than an aversion of an evil plan the righteous hero prevented. In its core, God Eater is about you and your teams adventures and how you bond over adversity. With that…oh well, it’s going to be out in 2012 on the PSP with a new style for cutscenes and style of clothing. Perfect, at least those aren’t tampred with.
After a year of mysterious silence and I mean mysterious, right down to Bandai Namco actively removing the TGS video, retracting statements etc, news resurface about the game and they dwelve in the new mechanic, the Blood Arts. The visuals have changed and while they said “due to fan reaction”, something was fishy. You’d think by then, it would be impossible since they’d have made a considerable amount of the game made by the TGS2011 and if they changed it, they;d probably get GEBurst devkit and just add the new mechanics etc and go on from there. The graphics though…don’t seem like that.
With another facelift, a new release date of 2013 and the announcement of being cross-platform with the leading kit being the PSVita, something had gone horribly wrong. The PSP sequel that was teased, was hastilly scrapped and thrown into the depths of the abyss, signs of casualizations were setting in. Cross platforming being one of them, especially when the PSVita was hyped beyond belief by almost everyone with no proof of that hype. It’s bad enough that Shift was also working to bring with SONY and Dimps to make their own Hunting Game, Freedom Wars, which was essentially Shift and DIMPS being called by SONY to salvage the 2011 Panopticon conept trailer for the Vita. It was a disaster by that point. Not to mention that this went over a lot of people’s heads :
Burst was the result of us taking in all the feedback we received from gamers about the original GE and trying to make the first game as complete a package as possible.
With GE2, we’re trying to pinpoint what users found fun about the game; we’re taking it apart and reassembling it from scratch.
The GE series is about high-speed action and a story that makes you the hero.
The way those two aspects combine is what I think makes the game appealing to users, and to start out, we’re going to make both aspects stronger in GE2.
-Producer Yusuke Tomizawa, Famitsu Interview
However, among those that have put down GEB for quite some time for whatever reason, we let the hype go into our heads. And the game seemed fine until I and others played GEB again. Lots of things were so wrong it almost turned us off. Worst, by the time that happened, this was announced :
Yeah, the game had sold pretty well in Japan and the west started wanting it when the words PS4 appeared on screen…woooooo…then the anime proposals came in and you know the rest. At that point, forgetting the abysmall story in the game, the DLC was fixing a lot of stuff that was wrong in the game while adding new mechanics…some of them being the base of what God Eater would become eventually. It started with levels. And not just Blood Art levels. By the time GE hit the PS4, we had levels for everything and everyone, even skills and worst, the slow combat was encumbered by a close-up camera along with this :
Numbers indicating full well the damage output of weapons. By that time, I checked out hardcore, not even Phantasy Star Portable pulled that kind of crap. Gone were the technical skills and twitch reflex fights, gone were the hidden techniques and insanely detailed bullet customization that could make for some of the most imaginative tactics used in the game. It was clear that Shift and Bandai Namco had no intention of making a great game just another Phantasy Star clone to safely compete against Phantasy Star Online 2 / Nova since it seemed to be taking its time and stayed in the limelight with its dedicated following. Instead of clashing heads agressively with Monster Hunter and Toukiden, it regressed and chose a path that would ensure quick profit. Disgusting. The game that God Eater 2 could have been was lost after that TGS trailer back in 2011, perhaps even sooner. That quote by the producer was very telling. Talking about reassembling everything from scratch was code talk for making a Vita game. And that didn’t go that well…maybe. God Eater 2 had slower and lower sales than the first two God Eaters, capping at 700000 units from both consoles when Rage Burst hit the shelves yet the first game alone had sold around 610000 units by March 2011 when it ceased production and while GEB had just 30000 units sold less in its first week than what GE originally had but quickly made up. It could be because of the transition that a lot of players were lost or due to lack of new games between years and worse, lack of news, interest waned down. Had the game been out on PSP in 2012 like it was originally intended, maybe things could have been different. Maybe if the original director stayed on board and kept the producer in check, we wouldn’t have such reckless actions. Who knows, we can only speculate what happened during that radio silence where almost everything went wrong. But what about an actual God Eater 2? What about a true sequel and true evolution of it?
Let’s take the basics and expand upon them. First off the story and the main character. While you were a newcomer that had to work your ass off after your captain went MIA and you were promoted simply because you were a 2nd generation God Eater in a team of 1rst generation vets, this time you are now the captain and instructor of your very own team, graduating from Rindou’s while handing him back the reigns…and his waifu. That way, not only can the player transfer their characters and interact in new ways with the new cast of the game and the story doesn’t have to bend backwards to accomodate the new players who don’t have the previous game. Even if you were to meet the old members in the story and get them to fight again they could simply go “ah, just like old times”, prompting the newcomers’ interest to go back to the older games and wonder what their avatar’s relations and adventures were. And you keep the theme of God Eater, the action follows you, your avatar and it’s comprised of small personal stories, culminating in something inspirational for the player and the group, tying the individual and overarching themes of those small stories woven in the narrative that deepened your bonds with those interactive unit members.
Also, you can transfer your character whole instead of having to recreate everything from scratch and even transfer some of the old equipment. They could fix the problem of being OP by locking these high level equips you chose under ranks that are enhanced via story progression.
Next come the graphics…and they require no reworking at all. While having some cinematic scenes like that TGS trailer would be cool, ultimately the art style of the first game is far tighter and more in line with the game and the overall vision of what the series had and was going for. Plus, the first game, for all its content was just barely 970 megabytes and didn’t even require install data and that crap. Yeah, suck it GE2. As for the music, Go Shiina is pretty good but the game could use more tracks like this :
We are suppossed to be fighting…gods. But with these themes, the music is supposed to follow suit and it might not be to the liking of some people, an example would be me. It’s a problem I have with other hunting games, they have fitting music for the game but I’d rather listen to my own hype shit when I’m going toe-to-toe against a Vajra-Ravana-Haniball-Ogretail-Sekhmet orgy. I’d rather listen to “It Has To Be This Way” blasting through than anything else. Fixable with custom soundtrack, something the PSP is very capable of doing without even hindering the hardware or the loading times at all.
Finally, the gameplay. Woo boy, is there a lot to talk about here. First off, the player should be able to move between the Friar and his old headquarters, the Japanese Fenrir Branch, each on of them offering different things but also different missions. The idea would be that the old areas exist slightly altered, only so briefly touched upon to show that some time has passed since then(one or two years since the last game) while the newly created areas for the game would be only accessible via the Friar, being a moving base that travels quite a distance and has air support. That would also make for a fine way to have variety in areas and Aragami and the mixes of the two that can happen. Not to mention, the interaction between old and new party members happens in those two different bases, even if you can bring whoever you want in missions. The basic interactions can only happen on each base, showing the divide of the rookies and the veterans as a theme.
The Aragamis…apart from perhaps adding an attack on each of the old ones the best way to go about is add an elemental type for each species that the old game didn’t have as “new mutations” while making some new ones. The new Aragami for GE2 weren’t bad to be honest, they were among the best features of that game but the ability to face even the unique ones as bosses should remain instead of relegating story bosses to one-time encounters. Something new and challenging would be to have some human shaped Aragami that represent the stage between the ones we know and Shio, making for interesting Boss encounters in one-on-one situations. That being said, like the Arda Novas, they shouldn’t be overused and come up as a surprise to the story. A variant of them could be the Berserker God Eater, like what Rindou was before he semi-transformed into Corrosive Hannibal. That would make for an intense fight. It would be even more interesting if the small Aragamis that spawned in the area were devoured by the humanoids to replenish health instead of using medicines and first aids like the player while having them get Aragami bullets, prompting the player to treat beyond annoyances.
The players should be able to cancel any sort of action with a jump and the jumps flexibility and arc should be a bit more flexible for the stamina it consumes, like Dante’s jumps. As for weapons…Short Blade, Long Blade and Buster Blade should be kept exactly the same as GEB, with one or two additions to the moveset. The Short Blade should get the R+Square move of Rising Edge and the Buster Blade should get the R+Square move of Parrying Upper, with Parrying Upper being able to cancel everything and guard everything even if the aragami passes through the player. The ideas presented with the weapons in GE2 were also very good, since Short Blade has such fast and immense Dash and Jump cancel potential, make its moveset reflect that by making it more of a trickster. Adding the ability to dash in the air once and the ability to dash twice on the ground like Trickster of DMC4 is pretty great and extends aerial time. The way the Short Blade should be handled has to change a little bit though when it comes to attributes. The balance between the Sunder and Pierce attributes should be dependant on the shape of the blade and not have things like Wild Sword, a sword that looks like a bladed wing, have more pierce attribute than sunder(if anything it should at least have a balance since it acts both as small swords piercing the flesh and as a nasty slash…perhaps even a shave off) and given that the Charged Spear is to be added, the Short Blade should opt for a balance between those two attributes. The Long Blade was almost perfect, it just needs the R+Square stance from God Eater 2 except this time it’s function is somewhat altered to be the Dash Cancel of the Long Blade, effectively cancelling all attacks and cooldowns immidiately at the cost of a little stamina but the next action comes out twice as fast and the combos reset. Also the player is able to keep holding R and mash square to access Impulse Edge from the stance which works exactly the same as in GEB. Last but not least the Buster Sword needs to be a bit sturdier and be less susceptible to knockback from enemies when guarding and perhaps use its Guard Cancel to the player’s advantage by making it like the Royal Guard style. The idea would be if the player perfectly guards against attacks, his next attack gains a bonus in power, preferably the stronger the attack that was nullified the bigger the bonus. The Buster Blade also gets a cancel of its own in the form of Parrying Upper(the R+square attack), costing a little stamina but it cancels any action done at the moment and the player proceeds to parry and immidiately attack while the next action done comes out faster and Parrying Upper can have the cooldown after the attack cancelled either by guarding or doing another Parrying Upper. Finally, the stance the player adopts when holding the weapons should change accordingly to present the weight and fighting ability. Short Blade should adopt the stance it has on God Eater 2 or this stance, Long Blade should either adopt this stance or something similar to that or this pose. The pose Buster Blade has is perfect, as are the gun holdings.
Moving to the new blades, they are very good ideas honestly. They should keep the Variant Scythe, Charge Spear and Boost Hammer because not only the ideas presented there are pretty good but the movesets are very good for the most part. They also provide great alternatives for the basic premises of what the Swords are in the game. Charge Spear is basically the Short Blade of the new weapons, boeasting both Pierce and Sunder attributes with the fastest moveset out of the three new but is slower than the Short Blade due to it’s further reach and charge attack. The way Charge Spears should be handled is that like the Short Blade, the Sunder and Pierce attributes should depend on the shape of the blade. Lance blades should be full pierce, no sunder attribute at all, spear tips should add a bit of sunder, tridents should almost balance between the two and finally, have a naginata styled blade with no pierce and only sunder damage properties. The moveset should change a little and have 5 attacks instead of just four and the square combo should be a bit more flashy and resemble slashes to make sense with the spear and naginatas. Finally, the stance of the player should be changed to this one. Next is the Boost Hammer and apart from saying that is should have an ax blade line that has the special ability to change every attack from crush to sunder, just to be the antithesis of the Granite Tombstone. Also, in direct contrast to the Buster Blade’s dual properties, Boost Hammer has only crush attribute, doesn’t have guard cancels but the Boost mechanic will be used to accelerate it’s attack speed tremendously while dealing heaps of damage instead of it being a mere special move like in GE2. Finally the Variant Scythe…I guess should remain as it is. the idea of a weapon that has medium to long reach with faster attacks but at the cost not as great damage and the fact that the range is not fixed should counterbalance it with Long Blade.
Finally…the guns. First change that should happen would be adding a quick change attack that costs some Oracle Points and some stamina by pressing R + X at the same time and the move should be universal for all the gun weapons and it should be something simple, a short range blast shot that the hero uses the momentum of to transform his God Arc and do a strong swing for some damage that can continue into combos. Now that that is over…the way the guns were divided…wasn’t bad actually. The thought behind it isn’t bad at all, so let’s make it better than it actually was in GEB. So we have Assault, Sniper and Blaster guns in GEB and their differences should be in their extra abilities and most important of all, their stats and the addition of the Shotgun, just like in GEB so all bullets are game for all guns. Assault guns should have a very good balance between Pierce and Crush attributes with quite the range and the fastest rate of fire no matter the type of bullet, the speed depending on the player’s input and its R+O ability should be a quick dash in a straight line with insane rate of fire, given the OP of course. Sniper should be much slower than Assault, tied with Shotgun in terms of firing speed but its bullets naturally have the longest reach, highest pierce attribute of the four but also the lowest crush attribute, it has the ability to zoom and double zoom to hit targets that are far away and by pressing R+O the player goes into concealment until he attacks, allowing the player to set up for snipping. Blasters have the highest crush attribute and the lowest pierce attribute but the greatest elemental aptitude in a single element compared to the more even spreads of the other guns. Its R+O ability should be to store excess Oracle Points into an additional socket of the gun, allowing for the player to potentially have twice the amount of Oracle Points he normally has(none of that 9 gauges shit), allowing for the biggest and most damaging bullets to be used with that gun. Finally, the shotgun boeasts slightly higher attack attributes than the Assault but also slower rate of fire than it but it greatly enhance the damage of spread bullets and even add a damage multiplier the more spread fragments hit the target in one shot, with it’s R+O ability being a very powerful shotgun blast that makes the player jump back quite the distance.
The guns also have special abilities enhancing certain types of bullets being fired by them. Apart from the correct type of bullets having a multiplier of 1.1 in non-elemental damage when used by the correct gun, there are other benefits as well. If Assault Bullets(the normal looking bullet types) are used with Assault Guns, they are fired with no recoil at all and are fired two at a time with no extra cost. If Sniper Bullets(the very long and very thin bullet types) are used with Sniper Guns then they get to have their reach doubled and don’t break the concealment. If Radials(the whirly type of bullets) are used with a Blaster gun then their duration lasts a bit longer. If Shotgun Bullets(the fat bullets) are used with a shotgun they have the chance to inflict critical hits upon impact from a certain distance, indicated by a circle flash appearing on the Aragami, with each bullet that hits not only dealing 1.1 multiplier damage but also critical if pulled off correctly.
Shields require almost no reworking, if anything, the only thing I’d fix is the knockback from attacks after a guard. Buckler shields should have the normal knockback from GEB, Shields should have half of that and Tower Shields should have no knockback at all. Just a small addition. Now fashion sense, if anything all the suits, hairstyles and colours from the first should return while adding some new on top of them. The biggest addition I’d put though, would be cosmetic Aragami armours. Given that the shields provide the player with natural defenses stats as well as guarding defenses as well as the backstory concerning the lack of armours, the Aragami garments and armours being only cosmetic makes sense but it gives the player a great sense of achievement. Think of not only Monster Hunter but most of the games in the genre, the feeling the player gets from seeing a complete armour set based on a monster he slayed is amazing. Plus you get to look amazingly awesome. Plus, Mask de Ogre exists!
The Predator Style is another neat idea but one that ultimately is either overworked or laid on a flawed foundation. What should be done is that the Predator Style is actually a set of moves that are used both offense and devouring. Like in GEB, the player has the control unit in the God Ark but the ways he can now devour enemies differ. Adding an aerial devouring technique is essential this time, complimenting the standard devour and the quick combo devour found in the first two games, done by pressing the R+Triangle buttons at any time the player is airbourne being a generally fast devour maneouvre but ultimately only filling halfway the Burst Gauge. The way it should be is that the player chooses how the God Arc’s control unit is able to devour in those three instances and the way this happens is the charge speed, devour speed, cooldown speed, reach, way / motion of devouring and the fluctuation of the little damage done. That’s it.
Finally, the Blood Arts. Again, not a bad concept, just a misused one. But it could work greatly if it was combined with the one aspect of the game that is unique to God Eater alone : the Burst Mode and Link Burst. That alone makes the game stand out as it incorporates what is basically a Devil Trigger in a hunting game. First off, buffing the Burst mode should be paramount, by increasing the number of dashes on the ground and the air by one and adding a flowing motion between them like in DMC4, rolling should be faster, add the ability to jump off enemies via Enemy Step that resets the numbers of aerial dashes and jumps, providing the player with a way to stay airbourne almost infintely provided there’s Stamina to burn. Then comes the biggest change : Burst Arts, basically Blood Arts but heavily reworked. A melee weapon can have up to four Burst Arts that are only activated upon entering Burst mode and the higher the link Burst, the higher the multiplier of damage(Level 1= 1.001, Level 2= 1.01, Level 3= 1.1) from the attacks. Burst Arts are gained every 2 levels of upgrade and they don’t take away the place of skills but they are shown in the same table as the skills, below the stats, seperated with a line right in the middle. Each melee category has its own Burst Arts and their set-ups are set in stone and differ from line to line. For example, between two Long Blade lines, the Loeweberg and the Katana lines have different set-ups that fit their shape and Aragami. The Rage Arts are meant to emulate attacks that the Aragamis they originate from use so a lot of the time Rage Arts work as moveset changers instead of simple attack enhancers in Burst mode. In Rank 2 the Ground Burst Art is unlocked, utilising either the Square or Triangle or both attacks, in Rank 4 the Aerial Burst Art is unlocked and utilises either the Square or Triangle or both aerial attacks, by Rank 6 the Dash Burst Art is unlock and utilises the dash attacks, with Rank 8 unlocking the Special Burst Art, utilising the R+Square special attack of the weapon. Rank 10 only increases their damage.
And that’s it really. Nothing else was really needed to be done for a God Eater 2 to exist and be awesome. Hell, the cherry on top of the game would be adding a romance option for the male player with Alisa, given how much she wants him. So simple. It would be a standard jump to a new game in MonHun terms. And it would have been amazing.
Here’s hoping that whatever Shift cooks up next is better. Have a good one everybody, cheers. 🙂