God Eater 3 is the third entry in Bandai Namco's God Eater videogame franchise. It was released on December 13, 2018 in Japan, and February 8, 2019 in the rest of the world on PlayStation 4 and Steam. A Nintendo Switch port released on July 12, 2019.
In the year 2087, thirteen years after the events of God Eater 2 Rage Burst, the last of the human race are still on the losing battle against the Aragami. However, the Earth faces another catastrophe in the form of the Ashlands, an ever-expanding wasteland that turns anything into ashes, eventually crippling Fenrir Headquarters into ruin and forcing its survivors to thrive in smaller Port stations and mobile fortresses called Caravans to survive.
The only sliver of hope that remains for mankind lies in the shackle-like armlets of the Adaptive God Eaters (shortened as AGE), a new type of God Eater who are able to withstand the the Ashlands with no ill effect, though they are treated more like prisoners and slaves by everyone in the Ports.
You, designated PW-01804, are one of such AGEs belonging to Port Pennywort alongside fellow AGEs Hugo and Zeke, the former longing for freedom by making his own Port where everyone can be free to choice and live for themselves. They eventually get their wish when their Port gets obliterated by an Ash Storm during a mission and end up saved by the Ash Caravan of Port Chrysanthemum.
A fateful meeting with Claire Victorious, a God Eater from Port Gleipnir in charge of securing a mysterious cargo en route to the Port, and Lulu Badan, an "abandoned" AGE from Port Badan, sets them all on a grand mission to discover the origins of the Ashlands, all while staying one step ahead from a new type of Aragami: the highly-aggressive Ash Aragami. Making things a lot complicated is the discovery of the content of the cargo: a humanoid Aragami with the form of a little girl named Phym.
God Eater 3 further evolves the gameplay of the previous games by adding new features. New weapons include: the Biting Edge, twin blades which can be combined into one depending on whether the situation calls for fast attacks or powerful, wide-reaching strikes; the Heavy Moon, a curved blade which can turn into a powerful axe under certain conditions; and the Raygun, which emits a concentrated beam that grows in power the longer it's fired. The new Engage ability triggers a shared buff when synchronizing with your teammates, while the Accel Trigger is a new Super Mode activated upon meeting a chosen condition.
So, God Eater… what does it feel like to lose your tropes?
- Abnormal Ammo: Gun Form God Arcs can turn Oracle Cells into different kinds of ammo, like elemental or healing. Devouring with the God Arc also grants Link Burst Rounds which can be shot at allies to increase their Burst Level up to a maximum of three.
- After the End: The world had already gone to hell once the Aragami arrived. Previous games show humanity slowly getting back up on its feet, but then came the Ashlands which basically undid all progress humanity had achieved up until that point and made things even worse than before.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: The Biting Edge and Heavy Moon are God Eater's belated answer to the Dual Blades and Charge Blade of Monster Hunter, the former being dual short swords that combine for a faster weapon speed at the cost of stamina drainage while the Heavy Moon has a second axe form with a power discharge finisher.
- And the Adventure Continues: The "Traversing the Past" DLC episodes end with Ein revealing to the Hounds about his goal is to return to the Far East to reunite with his friends and seek their aid in resolving the Ashblight situation. The Hounds decide to join him, as it coincides with their goal to create numerous ports across Europe and beyond so that everyone can have a safe place to live in away from the Ashblight.
- Animal Motifs: Judging from the banter in the first mission, the callsigns of the AGEs in Port Pennywort are apparently based on animals. The Protagonist's group is referred to as Hounds, while an AGE they rescued off-screen in said mission goes by Bull.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: "Nemesis", which plays during fights against the Ra Aragami, is this game's version of "No Way Back" and "Wings of Tomorrow".
- Award-Bait Song: As per God Eater tradition, this type of song plays over the credits. This time, we have "All I Know" by Joelle.
- BFG: All the four gun types are huge when compared to the characters.
- BFS: The Long Blade and Buster Blade types both qualify as this.
- Breather Episode: The beginning of Rank 6 is this - after the grueling battles in the later parts of Rank 5 as the Hounds have to fight through the Ashlands to reach the remnants of Fenrir HQ, the player is then treated with the peaceful time aboard Chrysanthemum as business is growing for the Hounds and the crew is having tea time together when Claire takes a visit from her duties in Gleipnir. The lighthearted tone lasts for around two missions, and in the end of the third mission in said rank Abraham suddenly made his announcement to sacrifice AGEs in order to empower Odin, forcing the Hounds and Chrysanthemum to flee as they refuse to comply.
- Cataclysm Backstory: "The Calamity" that caused the appearance of the Ashlands. The circumstances behind the catastrophe wasn't revealed for the major part of the game...at least until the end of Hugo and Zeke's Character Episodes: it was a byproduct of an accident during an experiment, one of whom involved was none other than Soma Schicksal.
- Chainsaw Good: One of the Heavy Moon's attack modes involves turning the blade into a chainsaw axe.
- Child Soldiers: Even more so than before. Prior to this game, the youngest known God Eater in existence was Soma (who was born as the first God Eater) who was already fighting on the front lines as early as 12 years old. God Eater 3 however gives us the Adaptive God Eaters. Most if not all are orphan children who were conscripted at a young age, some being no more than 8 years old as seen with the young AGEs of Port Pennywort. The younger ones aren't forced to fight Aragami, but are still expected to go out and scavenge for materials which still puts them in potential danger. And then, there's Phym...
- Crossover: A minor one, but the 1.40 update introduces Code Vein costumes and character customization options.
- Cuteness Proximity: Phym causes this reaction in most of the cast, especially Lulu.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: During the first encounter between the party and Lulu, she easily outfights the protagonist, Hugo and Zeke single-handedly because of the blinding speed granted by her Acceleration Trigger. Acceleration Trigger doesn't give anything like that level of power boost in-game, and Lulu isn't actually noticeably more powerful than the other characters.
- Darker and Edgier: The world is more devastated than it already was, and Adaptive God Eaters are treated horribly, being forced to risk their lives for little reward while being given no freedom in their spare time.
- A Day in the Limelight: The Extra Episodes focus on the party members' story. So far:
- Another Devil - Neal, and to a lesser extent Keith and Zeke. The episode deals with Neal's struggle to recover from the events of the main story when most of his friends in the Crimson Queen were killed during war against Gleipnir and his reconciliation with his brothers.
- Traversing the Past:
- Innocent Wrongdoing - Claire. The story deals with what happened to Claire's family and her motivation to become God Eater.
- Dreamchasing - Hugo. The story deals with Hugo's personal feelings in his attempt to make his and the Protagonist's dream come true.
- Two Promises - Zeke, revolving around his personal struggle in regards to his role and responsibility as Keith and Neal's older brother.
- Faint Light - Lulu, focusing on her feelings and a certain unfulfilled promise towards her mentor Goh.
- The Journey On - Ricardo, focusing on the past events those shaped him into the ambitionless God Eater he is now.
- Real Family - Phym, focusing on her interactions with the Hounds and her insecurity regarding her being an Aragami, thus "having no real family".
- Inheritance - Neal, focusing on what he wishes to do after Werner's death caused the loss of direction in himself and his Crimson Queen comrades.
- Home - Keith, which deals with his struggles over his self-worth due to being a Non-Action Guy God Eater by default.
- Those by Your Side - Ein, focusing on everyone's race to save him from undergoing Aragami transformation and learning his role in the Calamity.
- Dual Wielding: A first for the series, the new Biting Edge weapon style allows a player to play like this in battle. It also has the ability to combine and transform into a double glaive.
- Duct Tape for Everything: Strangely enough, mostly for the Pennywort AGEs and their outfits, rather than any actual practical usage. Even when crafting other outfits beyond the default battle-scarred Fenrir Battlesuit, black duct tape is all over the clothes as if to hold them together when pretty much everyone else has some sort of proper clothing or uniform and such.
- This is especially prevalent on the Protagonist, who not only has accessory designs for various strips of tape on their face or attach bandages with tape, but also have any exposed arms covered with the stuff too. Though, considering they were effectively prisoners it might be a thematic method of looking like a Rummage Sale Reject to indicate just how ragtag and chained down these characters are.
- Evolving Title Screen: After you've created your character, the default protagonist on the title screen will change to reflect your character and its current God Arc loadout. And after you defeat the final boss of the story, all the God Eaters, Phym and all AGEs aboard the Chrysanthemum will join you on the title screen, with the background becoming more vibrant as well. Also, starting from Update 1.30, more characters are being added, beginning with Keith and Neal. Completing Ein's Character Episode in 2.50 update also adds Ein to the screen.
- This also applies to the opening intro. Beating the game once will change certain scenes, one of which is where the player is joined by Hugo, Zeke, Claire and Lulu during the final Cue the Sun shot, along with their respective God Arcs.
- Family of Choice: One of the central themes of the game. Having grown up with each other, the members of the Hounds treat each other as family and are unwilling to part with one another if they could help it. This viewpoint eventually extends towards Claire, Lulu, Phym and the rest of the Chrysanthemum crew. It's especially prevalent with Phym as she ends up as the Protagonist's adopted daughter, referring to them as either "Mommy" or "Daddy", and overall the heroes are all quite protective of her.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The Traversing the Past episode reveals The Calamity happened because of a failed experiment performed by three scientists, one of them being Soma himself.
- Good Morning, Crono: The beginning of the story proper has Hugo waking the Protagonist up and informing them about their latest job.
- Grey-and-Gray Morality: Even more so than previous installments. This is especially apparent in the conflict between Port Gleipnir and Crimson Queen; Gleipnir sees the development of AGEs and various experimentation on humanoid Aragami such as Phym, from which the AGE bias factor apparently comes from as Necessary Evil in order to protect whatever is left of mankind. However, their extremely inhumane treatment of them is also what gives birth to AGE extremist movement such as the Crimson Queen, which people just want a place where they can be free as a person.Sympathetic, in a way...except for the fact that they are equally willing to resort to dirty measures to achieve it.
- Grey Goo: According to Ein's Traversing the Past episode, the Ashblight was the result of a failed experiment involving the use of Oracle cells and nanomachines.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: One of the themes of the franchise, but more evident here thanks to the setting. As dangerous as the Aragami are, the arrival of Ashlands have caused humans of Northern Europe to regress into oppressive tyrants who actively engage in wanton acts of cruelty such as conscripting young orphan children and turning them in to AGEs wherein they then proceed to treat said AGEs as cannon fodder. It gets so bad that the threat of actual war is put on the table when the Crimson Queen, a group of AGE radicals, have had enough of said treatment by Gleipnir and other ports and wish to rise up in rebellion.
- Internal Reveal: At the end of Keith and Neal's Character Episodes, the Hounds receive an anonymous message with information about Soma Shicksel and Ein, including a photo from his time in God Eater 2, leading them to suspect that Soma and Ein are the same person. Longtime fans were already well aware of this fact by the time Ein was introduced to the Hounds early on.
- Just a Kid: Although the Hounds and the Chrysanthemum never downright belittle Phym, this trope is still in effect because despite her intellect and ability to learn quickly, they continue to treat her like a child that needs to be protected at all times, mentally especially. This ends up being deconstructed since it ends up with Phym learning about how bad the situation surrounding the AGEs and her own role as humanoid Aragami at the worst possible time. Combined with her apparent frustration from being unable to help them, this causes her to run off to Port Gleipnir without telling anyone under the hope her presence alone will spare more people from being sacrificed to Odin. Even Hilda notes the mistake of this treatment to Phym once the event happens.
- Kick the Dog: Pretty much every Port that isn't Port Chrysanthemum regularly partakes in inhumane cruelty against their AGEs to the point that it's the expected standard. Listing the amount of things they do both in-game and prior would be an extensive list to say the least, and even Port Gleipnir, the alleged Big Good of the story that commands all Ports, turn a blind eye to most of it.
- Location Theme Naming: All AGE, who also happen to be orphans, use the name of the Port where they became AGEs as their last name; the Player Character, Hugo, Zeke and the rest all have the surname Pennywort, Lulu has Baran. This also might not be limited to AGEs as Amy has Chrysanthemum as her surname as well.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The end credits theme, "All I Know", sounds like a standard Award-Bait Song, but its lyrics are actually about mournfully reminiscing about a now-destroyed world.
- Missing Child: At least two notable cases, both of which involve being separated from your beloved adoptive child.
- Mid-way through the story, Phym is forcibly being taken away by Dr. Inukai, who clearly only sees her as a mere specimen and promptly treats her in as dehumanizing way as possible. Furthermore, from his attitude, he acts as if he is only reclaiming what is "rightfully" his.
- Near the end of Rank 6, this occurs when Phym lied to everyone and ran off in order to turn herself to Port Gleipnir once she learned the full weight of the situation and her supposed role in the entire mess (specifically, she is the humanoid Aragami that Werner was referring to and how her presence alone could have stopped more AGEs to be sacrificed to Odin), with no one knowing where she is going until later. This is after the entire crew tried their damnedest to protect her both physically (since she is just as much of a wanted subject as the Hounds), but also mentally as they tried to shield her from the Awful Truth surrounding the AGEs’ situation.
- Morph Weapon: Not only can your God Arc changes between melee and ranged forms as usual, the new melee types also have transformations: the Biting Edge is two short swords that can be combined into a double-blade glaive, while the Heavy Moon can switch between a large chakram blade and a battle axe. The latter of which also has a chainsaw axe mode.
- New Game Plus: Added with the 2.20 update. After completing the main campaign, players can choose to start a new cycle while keeping all the money, clothes, items and weapons they've earned.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: As revealed late in-game, the method necessary to powering the Odin units is to sacrifice the lives of all AGEs to it. When the crew of the Chrysanthemum, especially Claire, finds out they're aghast at how low Gleipnir is willing to sink just for the sake of achieving victory for humanity. Werner later reveals that the sacrifice of AGEs can be averted... by instead sacrificing Phym.
- Power-Up Food: The 1.20 patch introduces "Snack Mission", where the player can gather various types of snacks within two-minutes time limit to be used in later missions for healing and buffs.
- Put on a Bus: Thanks to the arrival of the Ashblight, the fates of the main casts and supporting characters of previous games remains a mystery. So far only Soma's status is confirmed as he returns in-game as Ein.
- Quizzical Tilt: The player character gives one to Zeke when he proposes they deploy with him instead of Hugo.
- Scenery Gorn: Running through the destroyed facilities, wastelands and cities of Northern Europe highlights just how uninhabitable the world is in the wake of the Ashblight, which only further compounded the near-extinction of the human race to begin with.
- Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight: The final story mission of the first story arc features a battle against an Odin unit that's gone berserk as the result of being exposed to too much Ashblight during the attempt to protect Fenrir HQ from the first wave of Ash Storms. The battle goes alright to begin with, but then Odin unleashes a full-map devour blast that places the entire party in the Corrosion status and gives it nigh-invulnerability in addition to the usual attack boost and expanded moveset. At this point, the player has to survive until the trapped Phym's Engage meter fills completely so the player can activate it, ignoring the usual rules of the Corrosion status. This removes Odin's burst status, stuns it temporarily, resurrects any NPC with 0 Endurance Points, and gives the entire party the Bonds of Light Engage skill which grants them permanent Level 3 Burst and ridiculously-fast HP regen that makes the entire party essentially invincible for the rest of the fight.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: Mild example. In contrast to the first two God Eater games which both took place in Japan, God Eater 3 takes place in Northern Europe.
- Sequel Hook: At the end of Ein's Character Episode, to help with Ein's decision to return to the Far East Branch as well as to pursue their own dreams for Ports where AGEs can live freely, the Hounds planned to create network of ports to bridge the expedition through Eurasia. Furthermore, Ein noted that something was off before the Calamity due to one of his collaborators during Project Ragnarok, Dr. Kwon, was "not the type to gamble with the unknown", although he immediately cut himself short before making too much assumptions.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Zeke swears noticeably more than the rest of the cast.
- So Last Season: The Psions from God Eater 2. It's noted in the Database entry that while they were formidable for their time and still considered as such to this day, the appearance of the Ashlands and subsequent creation of the Ash Aragami had quickly put them to shame. This is exemplified during one cutscene where an Anubis quickly takes down a pair of Marduks at the same time with one attack each.
- Suddenly Speaking: Downplayed; while your player character has a slew of generic dialogue they can spout off during gameplay, they're effectively a Heroic Mime throughout all of the story cutscenes, spending the course of the plot simply nodding and agreeing with whatever Hugo plans. It's justified by the player character having over 30 voice options between both genders, and makes their own Rousing Speech to save Phym from the Final Boss all the more impactful.
- Super Mode:
- As per the norm, players can enter Burst Mode in order to increase their overall fighting capability after performing a Devour attack on an enemy. The game also introduces two new modes; Engage and Acceleration Trigger.
- Engage can be triggered by synchronizing with a teammate, which is achieved by fighting near them. When activated, you and your teammate both benefit from both player's equipped Engage buffs for some time, and Burst status is also shared. This gets taken up to eleven in the Traversing the Past Extra Episodes, where completing Character Episodes allows God Eaters to learn Core Engage, boosting their effects and causing both characters to enter Burst Level 3.
- Acceleration Trigger requires a certain criteria to be achieved during combat (for example, blocking 3 attacks or devouring 5 times). Once the condition is met, you temporarily gain a buff for a few seconds or so. If Engage is active, your Engage partner will also receive the buff (and you'll receive a buff from their Trigger if it's active). On top of that, fulfilling the criteria while it's active resets the duration so it's possible to keep the buff for longer.
- The Ash Aragami first introduced in this game are also capable of entering Burst mode by devouring just like the God Eaters. This powers them up significantly, and also changes most of their moveset, giving them access to a plethora of devastating attacks.
- As per the norm, players can enter Burst Mode in order to increase their overall fighting capability after performing a Devour attack on an enemy. The game also introduces two new modes; Engage and Acceleration Trigger.
- Time Skip: A staple of the franchise, and the biggest one in the series. The events of the game have been confirmed to take place in the year 2087, thirteen years after God Eater 2 (which took place in 2074), and nine years after Resonant Ops (which transcurred in 2078).
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Humanity in general. It's not surprising seeing as the world's become even more crapsack than ever before thanks to the Ashlands, but in the previous games God Eaters were respected and rarely mistreated unless it was by an antagonist. This time around, the Adaptive God Eaters (or AGEs) are mostly treated as little more than disposable assets whose God Arcs are considered more important than the AGEs themselves. Even Port Gleipnir, the stand-in for the currently defunct Fenrir, gets in on the act. It's bad enough an entire resistance movement of rogue AGEs known as the Crimson Queen rose up to fight this oppression - and they're arguably just as bad. Port Chrysanthemum is the one of the few to avert this, and implied as well with Port Dusty Miller especially considering who runs the latter.
- A big part of the reason the AGEs are treated as badly as they are, and are so feared, is because of the advance in God Eater-creation tech that they represent; AGEs have pushed the enhancements humans get from the God Eater process to such a degree that even an average AGE is now, theoretically, a huge threat to any human they come in contact with, and the most skilled of AGEs are capable of absolutely astounding meta-human feats (such as the protagonist being able to act as an anti-Aragami radar system with a range of one hundred miles at minimum). As a result, Gleipnir and the Ports feel a need to keep an extremely tight leash on them.
- It's later revealed that the reason why AGEs are so strong is because their Bias Factors are actually derived from the Oracle Cells of Humanoid Aragami, aka the same type of Aragami that Shio and Phym are both of whom show extraordinary powers that go beyond basic Aragami and God Eaters alike. It's for this reason why later in the game, after Gleipnir begins rounding up AGEs to sacrifice to Odin, Werner suggests handing over Phym because she could power Odin by herself whereas it would take over a thousand AGEs to pull off the same feat.
- Uncertain Doom: The entire cast (except one) of the first two games is absent and a huge deal is made of the fact that Fenris was obliterated during the timeskip. Ein's Character Episode has Lindow reveal that everyone who was at the Far East Branch at the time of the Ashblight's creation managed to stay safe. Although he's lost contact with them in the 9 years that followed, Ein is convinced that everyone is still alive and wants to reunite with them in order to discover a permanent solution to the Ashblight once and for all.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Only just barely averted thanks to the main cast, and arguably only partially. Abraham's Well-Intentioned Extremist Odin unit plan goes horribly awry, forcing some of the very AGEs and the human Aragami he tried to sacrifice to put the project down and come up with a different solution. If the sacrifices had gone unabated, he would've killed all AGEs and sealed humanity's fate - and he's lucky Phym makes a huge leap in progress for restoring the world, because the AGEs that died for his plans would've crippled their military forces all across Europe when it was already a losing battle.
- Walking Wasteland: The Ash Storm Anubis introduced in 1.30 update is capable of raising Ash level just by its mere presence, in addition to carrying activated Ashblight that is capable of killing even seasoned AGEs if the Ashblight contamination is too much for their Healing Factor to handle. While he eventually pulls through, Hugo learns this in hard way after he got devoured by one during the Hopeless Boss Fight above, becoming unusable for the rest of the episode due to his limbs still weakened even after he is supposed to recover.
- Wham Line:
Port Pennywort Guard: So... what does it feel like to lose your humanity?
- This line from the opening scene, setting the darker tone for the entire game:
Ein: I've got friends out in the Far East waiting for me...
- At the end of "Another Devil" episode, when Hugo asks why Ein does what he has been doing with the Hounds despite his Port apparently already having everything.
Ein: I... don't have a lot of time left. My expiration date as a God Eater is coming up soon. I'd say... six months or so.
- At the end of Claire's Character Episode, when the Protagonist finds Ein after he leaves a meeting feeling unwell, he hits us with this sledgehammer of a line.
Hugo: They say three brilliant scientists caused the Calamity by accident in an experiment. Gosta Heidenstam, a master of transmission engineering. Josiah Kwon, an authority on nanomachines. An expert on Retro Oracle Cells, and also the very first God Eater...Soma Schicksal.
- And another one at the end of Hugo and Zeke's Character Episodes:
- Wham Shot: The game's title screen starts with one for series veterans by having a Male Protagonist standing before a massive, blown-open wall before them - a Fenrir HQ wall, which is supposed to keep Aragami at bay thanks to being laced with Bias Factor and yet got obliterated. This pretty much establishes the story being Darker and Edgier before the game even begins.