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Gods Eater Burst – hands-on preview

In the vein of Monster Hunter, Gods Eater Burst is a mission-based monster hunting action game that supports up to four player co-op. It's already been released in Japan under the title God Eater Burst (which was an enhanced update to God Eater, released earlier in 2010), and it's pretty much a known quantity – you probably know already if this kind of game is your cup of tea. If you're on the fence though, or you're curious about getting into a Monster Hunter-style game, read on.

Gods Eater Burst divides its story into missions where you hunt down and kill specific monsters on various maps until you've completed the mission goal. The two maps we played were on the small side with bite-sized mission goals, but we don't know how big they get as you progress to tougher missions. Your character has two main weapons, a gigantic sword and a gun, which you can toggle with the right shoulder button. You also have a third weapon that you can use to "devour" a staggered or fallen enemy to absorb their powers, hence the "Eater" part of the title. Also part of the title, devouring enemy powers fills your Burst meter that you can use for great power to smite your foes.

Your character (who is also fully customizable appearance-wise, by the way) doesn't gain experience or level up, but instead you become more powerful by spending money on weapons upgrades and customization. Not only can you pick and choose between many weapons – there are three main types of gun and three types of sword, with variations on each type – but you can also create custom bullets and test them to your heart's content in a little virtual lab.

Despite its mission-based structure, story plays a big role in Gods Eater. The basic set-up goes like this: powerful monsters called Aragami have taken over the world, and were believed to be nigh-upstoppable until an organization called Fenrir developed special weapons called God Arcs that were capable of taking Aragami down. You're a wielder of such a weapon, and as you work for Fenrir with your teammates you uncover a sinister conspiracy that hints at how the whole Aragami outbreak started.

The single player and multiplayer take place within the same story campaign, and up to four friends can work together through the story mode's missions, although you will only be able to play missions that are available to the player that's least progressed in the story to avoid spoilers. If you don't have any friends available to join you, you can also select AI characters to assist you, and mix and match between real players and AI as necessary. Characters have set classes too, so selecting a good mix of AI to fill out your party is wise.

We're eager to see more of Gods Eater Burst, especially since it was quite well-received in Japan already, so look forward to our full review when it ships March 15 this year.

Jan 18, 2010

Life is nature's way of keeping meat fresh.