In God Eater 3, players take on the role of a silent protagonist and Adaptive God Eater (AGE). AGEs, as they are called, are treated as second-class citizens that are subservient to both humans and the standard God Eater. This second-class treatment is evident throughout the game, and the search for freedom is at its core. Perhaps building upon this is the "hub" of the tutorial, where the player character is kept in prison alongside other AGEs.
AGEs are different from standard God Eaters, as they are acclimated to surviving in the forsaken Ashlands. The hub - which eventually becomes a caravan - and the Ashlands are the only real locales of the game, which is more damaging than it might sound. Overall, God Eater 3 is a solid entry in the franchise and a fun action JRPG, but it is bogged down by repetitive story beats, mission designs, and environments.
God Eater 3 also tells a story old as time, as a ragtag group of outcasts becomes a real family throughout the events of the game. This developing family is tested by betrayal, by hardship, and by their second-class citizenship, but manage to overcome the odds of a world that is clearly against them. Sadly, despite God Eater 3's occasional dialogue options, these developments are not always as emotional as they should be— an aspect that is damaged due to the player's role as a silent protagonist.
As newcomers may quickly discover, there is a lot of similarity with Capcom's wildly popular Monster Hunter World, as the story also revolves around embarking on missions to destroy Aragami, with the newly-introduced Ash Aragami (sometimes called Ashborn) serving as the primary enemies of God Eater 3. Later Aragami can take some time to beat, have "bonds" that can be broken for bonus loot and a wide range of status effects, and will flee when in danger, making comparisons between the two franchises inevitable. While the core mechanics are incredibly similar, the execution differs significantly.
Early on, God Eater 3 players will find themselves stuck in the gameplay loop of completing a 2-minute mission followed by 5 minutes (or more) in the hub. It doesn't help that all tutorial missions are also featured on the same map, creating what feels like filler and disrupting the pace of the early game. Things get better as players advance the story and face bigger and badder Aragami, but by that point, the tedium has set in.
God Eater 3 contains 3 types of missions: the standard monster hunt, expeditions, and assault missions. Although they increase in difficulty, the standard monster hunts task players with defeating the same monster over and over. With few exceptions, players will find themselves on the same map facing a similar enemy numerous times, though this does change slightly throughout the game. Instead of hunting down a single monster, for example, players might be tasked with defeating a combination of the small, medium, and large (Ash) Aragamis.
Expeditions are not much better, as they are essentially two back-to-back missions that do not involve players returning to the caravan. The only real difference is that the player cannot stock up between missions, meaning strategic use of items is necessary to complete these expeditions. That said, these missions are far-and-few between, barely disrupting the monotonous beats of God Eater 3 when they do occur.
Assault missions, on the other hand, are pretty interesting, tasking players with defeating a powerful enemy in a limited timeframe. These missions see players joined by up to 7 other online players, but they can be completed with bots as well. While they are a nice addition to the game, it's clear that they won't be everyone's cup of tea. Moreover, this repetitive mission design is worsened by the repetitive environmental assets.
The tutorial forces the players to complete small, 2-minute missions repeatedly on the same map. If it ended there, it would be a small blight upon God Eater 3, but sadly, players will return to the same beatdown city time and again to face enemies that they've faced before. No matter how far away the caravan travels, the tutorial map will constantly reappear.
The other maps do not add much variety to the backdrop either, as a decrepit city, a frozen factory, a desertlike region, and an underground road practically describe 90% of the maps that players will encounter in God Eater 3. It would be better if these environments served some purpose, but the most players can get out of them are small feeding grounds that heal either the player character or Aragami. In other words, any generic environment would do.
All that said, the diamond in the rough for God Eater 3 is the fluid combat. With 8 different melee weapons, 4 different gun types, and 3 different shields, combat can be tailored to a player's preference. God Eater 3 also has the basic combat style, devour attacks, and bursts of previous games but also combines it successfully with a number of new subsystems such as the acceleration trigger and the engage links. While this may seem like a lot on paper, the game combines them well, and they become second nature quickly.
This experience really shines when facing the tougher enemies that appear later in the game or when faced with one of the Ashborn. One key detail that makes the Ashborn different from other Aragami is that they can utilize burst attacks like one of the AGEs, so this adds another layer of excitement to the otherwise tedious game. But sadly, there is an extremely limited number of Ashborn which results in God Eater 3 players facing variants of the same creature over and over throughout the story.
At the end of the day, God Eater 3 doesn't break any molds and that's okay. It fulfills its role as a solid action JRPG and a worthy successor to Bandai Namco's God Eater franchise by combining the rustic tropes of the genre with a heart-warming, if familiar, story of a developing family struggling to survive. Even through repetitive beats, the missions that run into each other, and the humdrum of the reused environmental assets, the story shines bright like a beacon in the Ashlands.
God Eater 3 releases on PC and PS4 on February 8, 2019. Game Rant was provided with a PS4 code for the purposes of this review.