There’s an alluring sense of immediacy and simplicity to God Eater Resurrection. You jump into a mission knowing full well what your orders are, you carry out those directives, and you exfiltrate when the job is done. It’s the same kind of glamorized efficiency that makes spy fiction so appealing. The narrative device that improves on this premise is, of course, when things don’t go as planned, when the agent or squad must adapt to changing circumstances. It’s due to a shortage of these surprises, however, that God Eater Resurrection never transcends its safe, uncomplicated design.
Resurrection’s world is candy-wrapped around an anime-influenced aesthetic and the medium’s ever-growing fascination with urban dystopias. Along with the variety of environments, there’s a lot of creativity to be found in the design of the enemies you’re sent to destroy: four-legged beasts with faces of old men, living iron maidens, and large bipedal lizards with stylish helmets.
You play the newest member of a team of god-killing soldiers, a group of teens and 20-somethings who’ve managed to survive an apocalyptic event in which hostile demon-beasts dubbed “Aragami” took over the world. As with many teen-targeted manga-styled ensembles, the cast is a collection of distinct personalities with limited emotional capacities. All the tropes are here: the archetypically neurotic support teammate, the brooding all-business specialist, and the squad member whose bubbly, saccharine demeanor can be forgiven thanks to her usefulness in combat.
Your custom character fits right in as the rookie who sounds self-assured no matter what voice type you pick. Your squad’s confidence in the face of humanity’s likely extinction is complemented by the extreme designs of their multipurpose God Arc weapons. Not only are these tools of destruction often larger than the people who wield them, but these gunblades also eat Aragami--hence the "God Eater" name. These echo the kind of transformable armaments found in Monster Hunter and Vanquish, only they’re infused with the ferocity of the beasts they kill.
Resurrection’s faithfulness to the original PSP version, Gods Eater Burst, underscores its limitations. The original appealed to that specific on-the-go audience that enjoys brief play sessions. It’s a different set of expectations in the context of a console in a living room, where it feels more natural to tear through a dozen missions in one sitting. It’s unfortunate that you can’t take on multiple assignments in Resurrection without enduring the time-consuming process of returning to base to assess your rewards after every mission.
There isn’t depth in combat so much as there are multiple moments in a fight where you need to adapt to changes in an Aragami’s behavior. When it’s enraged, you keep your distance, and when it tries to escape, you give chase. It’s like a chess match where the opponent always gets to make the first move. While the majority of the sorties are involved, there’s little room for improvisation. You can pick up the pace of play by using attacks that capitalize on an enemy’s elemental weaknesses, using consumable enhancements, and, most significantly, using the God Arc to bite a chunk off the Aragami. These mid-conflict opportunities not only provide a temporary stat boost for your customized protagonist but to your teammates as well, provided you can spare a couple of seconds to shoot your buddies with Aragami-infused ammo. Yes, you have to fire at your squad. It's unusual, but it sure beats having to run up to them to enhance their abilities.
The straightforwardness of Resurrection’s missions is both its greatest strength and most frustrating weakness. There’s comfort in knowing what you’re getting into and in the specificity of your missions. Unfortunately, it takes less than a few dozen quests before monotony sets in. There’s a modicum of gratification in maxing out your gear to keep up with the increasing difficulty of every subsequent batch of missions, yet there’s also a palpable sense of routine, since the Aragami throw very few curveballs. This uncomplicated approach has one bright spot: It’s easy to manage your team, which is both self-sufficient and made up of meaningful contributors. Given that boss battles can reach a frenetic pace, it’s often more sensible to leave your buddies to their own devices.
The simplicity of the maps reinforces this level of ease. Resurrection avoids the Monster Hunter-style loading-screen tedium of chasing your prey from area to area. A ranged strike from anyone on your team will stop a fleeing Aragami. Rarely does a target use the terrain effectively enough to find respite for longer than a few seconds.
There’s a bit more depth to be found in Resurrection's customized gear and crafting systems. Player progression doesn’t rely on gaining experience through kills but rather on weapon upgrades and other improvements. The challenge lies in ensuring you’re well-rounded enough to have a countermeasure for every enemy type. It’s a compelling judgment game to build a small collection of melee weapons that address every possible Aragami weakness, whether that’s through crushing, piercing, or slashing attacks. Then you have to factor in the weight of each weapon in the field and to determine how much damage you can deal per second. The one downside? There’s no item or weapon so rare or exceedingly useful that would warrant replays of any operation. Aragami item drops and the mission-completion rewards are abundant enough that you’ll always have items to craft and gear to enhance.
Beyond crafting and buying new gear, there’s little reason to spend time at your base, despite the game’s implication to the contrary. Conversations with NPCs are mostly superficial, save for the occasional chat that triggers the next batch of missions. HQ is merely a poorly created illusion of a grander base of operations, especially given the organization’s in-game role in saving humanity.
For as much as Gods Eater Burst excelled in 2010, it’s since been outpaced by similar games. That includes prey mounting in Monster Hunter and a more engrossing atmosphere in Toukiden: Kiwami. There’s comfort to be found in the simple mission goals, but it’s impossible to ignore how repetitive they are--and how outdated they make Resurrection feel in practice.