The Monster Hunter franchise was immensely popular well before the release of Monster Hunter World. A slew of publishers released their own takes on Capcom’s series. The most notable being Bandai Namco with God Eater. Though God Eater never reached the lofty heights of Monster Hunter, it developed a solid fan base that enjoys its anime-flavored spin on the monster hunting formula. God Eater 3 released earlier this year for PS4 and PC and has now made its way to the Nintendo Switch. While not without flaws, this Switch port is arguably the best way to experience the game.
God Eater 3 on Switch (get it at Amazon) brings the franchise back to its handheld roots. The first two installments released exclusively on the PlayStation Vita. Like those iterations, God Eater 3 on Switch has its share of performance and graphical issues. The game may not always look or run as smooth as its console and PC counterparts, but it makes the transition to Switch mostly unscathed. If you’ve played the first two God Eater titles on Vita, you’ll feel right at home playing God Eater 3 in handheld mode on Switch.
Like Monster Hunter, the main gameplay loop of God Eater 3 consists of venturing out into the world to kill beasts and use their parts to upgrade your equipment in order to take down more powerful monsters. It’s not exactly the same, though. Instead of an untamed wilderness, you have a post-apocalyptic setting. Rather than somewhat real-world-inspired beasts, there are fantastically unrealistic creatures. The anime-inspired art style and story also help distinguish God Eater 3. It is different enough from Monster Hunter to make it a distinct experience while also containing the formula established by Capcom’s series.
The player’s signature weapon is the God Arc, which can take on many different forms. Players have a choice of eight main melee weapons, four gun variants, and three shields. Weapons range from fast-hitting short blades to high-damage dealing buster swords. Each weapon has its advantages and disadvantages. Clubs and buster swords hit hard but strike slow while short swords and spears deal lower damage but allow one to move quickly. Weapons feel different from one another, and it’s a good idea to try them all to see which suits your playstyle. I personally like the long sword since it is easy to use and deals decent damage per second. I rarely used guns as I prefer hitting monsters over the head with a melee weapon.
God Eater 3 spices up combat with Burst Arts, which unlock new attacks for each weapon. You unlock Burst Arts as you progress through the campaign and gain experience. What’s fun about Burst Arts is how they literally take bites out of monsters. Doing this is tricky since most of the bigger monsters love to run and jump across the map. But taking a quick bite in the middle of a battle and initiating a Burst Art can help turn the tide if things are going south. You also have the ability to combine your attacks with those of your partners. Those who had difficulty mastering Monster Hunter’s complex combat mechanics will have an easier time acclimating to God Eater 3. Overall, combat is both accessible and deep.
You can play God Eater 3 online with up to four players for the main missions. Up to eight players can join in on the game’s version of raids. One cool feature the Switch version has over PS4 and PC is the ability to play locally. This is an aspect that also helps bring it back to its Vita roots. You’re free to play the entire game solo (with AI-controlled partners) but it’s always fun to play these types of games with others.
As I mentioned above, God Eater 3 isn’t without some performance issues. It can sometimes run slow, though this is mostly relegated to online play. Graphically, the game fails to impress, at least on a TV. Though it runs on current-gen tech, it still has the visual feel of a Vita title. Most of the decayed environments come off as dull and lifeless. The occasional texture and polygonal pop-in don’t help matters. Thankfully, the character and monster designs are more imaginative than the drab backgrounds. If you want the game to look its best, you’ll want to play it in handheld mode.
Minor performance issues aside, God Eater 3 plays wonderfully on Switch. Though it looks and runs better on PS4 and PC, playing in handheld mode feels more natural for a franchise that began on a handheld device. The story is nonsensical, but the core gameplay loop will have you hooked for endless hours. If you’ve finished playing Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and need a new game to scratch the beast-slaying itch, you can’t go wrong with God Eater 3.
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