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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Game Music Showcase: God Eater

Started in 2009, the Bandai Namco-published God Eater series of games has been considered for a long time developer Shift's alternate take on the real-time action game series that focuses on a set of targets to take down, popularized by Capcom with the Monster Hunter series. In the God Eater games' world, the powerful Aragami beasts are destroying every living being that stands their way, and the player, as one of the series' God Eaters, is called to slay these vicious beasts with the use of special weapons that can morph in-battle for both close combat, ranged fire and shielding means in different ways.

God Eater songs had a shy outset in Taiko gaming, with the first ones of the series appearing in the 2nd Taiko generation's latter half. As the series got an increasing recognition during the Taiko generation transitional period, more tracks started to appear from both games and other multimedia sources related to the game series.


-God Eater series-


 No Way Back God Eater
Taiko 14x4 (139)x7 (188) x7 (426)x9 (697)
Taiko 0, PSP 2x4 (139)x6 (188) x7 (426)x9 (697)
Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 3x5 (139)x7 (188) x7 (426)x9 (697)
Taiko 0.5 onwards, Taiko PS Vitax4 (139)x6 (188) x7 (426)x8 (697)
 Taiko 14, Taiko 0, Taiko PSP 2, DX, Taiko Wii 3, Taiko PS Vita

God Eater (ゴッドイーター), the first action/adventure videogame of the series, was released for PSP on February 4, 2009 as a Japanese exclusive. With the promo slogan "Attack with speed! Hunting has evolved.", Namco wanted to put the roots to the beginning of a new hunting series, behind the trail of the blazing hot Monster Hunter series made by Capcom. Adhoc Party missions up to 4 players and downloadable content for the solo Story mode are featured as well. Now, Monster Hunter clones and derivatives are nothing new in Japan, but God Eater is very well polished and features enough graphical and gameplay distinctions to separate itself from the king of the genre.

Single Player mode's plot is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where planet Earth's population is being decimated by powerful creatures named "Aragami", which are able to evolve into many deadly forms thanks to their body cells' learning potential. Only a few humans - the God Eaters - can withstand the Aragami menace by wielding God Arcs, special weapons powered by the Aragami's Oracle cells. The player's avatar is one of the latest God Eater recruits, assigned to the Fenrir Far East branch.

There are many versions of No Way Back in God Eater, but the one in Taiko - composed by Go Shiina and sung by Ben Franklin - is usually heard during the fights against a Vajra, a giant Aragami resembling a tiger. The song's debut in Taiko was with the second PSP game as part of the special download packs which have anticipated the arcade debut of many new songs; another song brought by the same composing duo of No Way Back, called IN THE ZONE, would have had the same fate a few months later.

On Oni, the song has a well balanced chart with lots of clusters and no troublesome bits, making this an FC of effort. Emulating the Muscle March songs, No Way Back ends with a 99-hit balloon that puts a strain on your arm strength. Its Max Combo value is the same of Kare Kano Kanon.

  No Way Back God Eater
Taiko 14

x10 (713)
Taiko 0, Taiko PS Vita

x9 (713)
Taiko Wii 3x5 (221)x7 (304) x8 (492)x10 (713)
Taiko PSP DXx5 (170)x7 (307) x8 (511)x10 (713)
 Taiko 14, Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 3, Taiko PS Vita

When the rumor of a Ura for No Way Back rose among Taiko 14 players, many God Eater fans were expecting to play the full-length version, No Way Back ~Out of My Way~. What actually surfaced though was simply a harder version of the same music. Like IN THE ZONE, No Way Back Ura has a very nasty part in the guitar solo, with multiple crazy combination streams between 1/16 and 1/24 notes. For pro players, this Ura mode became soon the springboard for mastering harder challenges like Metal Hawk BGM1.

Together with the Anime song Tank!, No Way Back's Ura mode is one of the first Ura to be available as a downloadable for Taiko PSP DX, though its Kantan/Futsuu/Muzukashii are slightly different from the ones already featured on Taiko Wii 3. Although it may seem comfortable in 10* Oni, Namco sure didn't think so when they took one out in Taiko 0.

 Mujihi na Ou (無慈悲な王) God Eater Burst
All consolex4 (149)x6 (209) x6 (316)x7 (443)
All arcadex3 (149)x6 (209) x6 (316)x7 (443)
 Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 4

As mentioned earlier, the original God Eater was a Japan-exclusive title. However, positive feedback from players and a critic avowal at the Playstation Awards 2010 for its over-200 million downloads milestone has encouraged the creators to produce a sequel to be released worldwide. And so, on October 28th of the same year, the improved version of the first game (Burst) has crossed the globe, together with God Eater sequel plans for the PS3.

God Eater Burst (ゴッドイーター バースト, Gods Eater Burst in North America) is an exact replica of the original game with some consistent updates: more weapons and game mechanics, full English voices for the game's Story mode, enhanced adhoc party features and new songs. Mujihi na Ou ('Merciless Lord' in the European OST) is one of those new tracks, once again composed by Go Shiina. Among all his songs, one of his most remembered one is Haikei, Gakkou ni Te... (Taiko 11), a Tekken 5 track in Namco Original, and Mujihi na Ou shares the same Oni max combo as that song.

Easier than No Way Back, Mujihi na Ou became one of the easiest 7* tunes in the current song generation, thanks to its moderate speed and its anti-panic clusters. Oddly enough, this is also one of the few Taiko PSP DX new songs to be featured in the ongoing Taiko arcade without getting a star decrease.

 Wings of Tomorrow (Tatsujin Mix) God Eater 2
Allx4 (213)x6 (299)x6 (505)x9 (765)
 Taiko 0 M, Taiko Wii U 2, Taiko 3DS 3, Taiko +

Wings of Tomorrow comes from the Japan-exclusive game God Eater 2, released on November 14th, 2013 for both the PSP and the PS Vita. Much like the previous titles, Namco's Monster Hunter-esque title has players facing the vicious Aragami monsters in a world at the edge of collapse, now with the help of new characters, weapons and gameplay mechanics. In terms of story, the game is set three years after the events of the semi-sequel God Eater Burst, where a mysterious pandemic brought by the so-called "Red Rain" has struck the Fenrir Far East Branch; a special task force unit known as "Blood" has been sent to investigate, and the player will take control of God Eaters from both sides in order to witness the main Story campaign's events.

Much like Monster Hunter titles, many of the Aragamis in the game have signature themes for their battles, and Wings of Tomorrow happens to be one of them, being the theme of the wolf-like Marduk (God Eater 2's signature Aragami). Composed by Go Shiina (椎名豪), the song is one of the few in the games featuring English lyrics, sung by MacKenzie Green in a enthusiastic style not too far away from other songs for Namco video-games, such as Ace Combat: Joint Assault's IN THE ZONE. Go Shiina is also the responsible of the custom song cut that has been used for Taiko games, being labeled the 'Tatsujin Mix' in the same way of the Tekken 6 song known in Taiko as 'Karma'.

However, the similarities with the two songs don't stop at the song's title wording and style! Wings of Tomorrow's Oni mode heavily inherits elements from said GM tunes in many ways, such as the will of having an iconic Max Combo counter (ITZ, Karma), the generic-charted, stamina-draining choruses and hellish guitar solo patterns (No Way Back, ITZ), for a chart that greeted the GM-heavy Momoiro Version arcades with an old recipe that keeps itself relevant to today's rating standards.

 Feed A God Eater
Allx4 (98)x6 (129)x7 (239)x9 (613)
 Taiko 0 Mu to 0 R, Taiko Ps Vita, Taiko +

The God Eater series' popularity in Japan made it possible for an animated series about its lore to exist! Created as part of the series' 5th Anniversary celebrations, the eponymous God Eater Anime is a follow-up to the 2009 Original Video Animation God Eater Burst Prologue, realized by animation studio Ufotable and directed by Takayuki Hirao (平尾隆之) in occasion for the God Eater Burst game's release. The same studio and director are also at the helm of the Anime series' realization, which is a retelling of the plot featured in the very first game in the series. Premiered on July 2015, while the series was originally planned to have 9 episodes, the studio managed to make four extra episodes which were broadcast on March 2016.

While Go Shiina is the main composer of the Anime's music with both old and new tracks, the God Eater Anime's opening theme -Feed A- is made by Japanese rock band OLDCODEX, with band members Ta_2 and YORKE. being respectively the song's composer and lyricist/singer. With the base song being arranged by Kotobuki Koyama (小山寿) for its Anime version, the regular one has peaked 13th at Oricon's charts.

One month after the GE Anime series' debut, Taiko Murasaki has picked up the song to be playable, setting a new highest peak for the BPM speed ever reached in a song from the Anime genre. While the song's BPM itself is fluctuating with both different base values and scrolling speed alterations, the average value of 260 BPM is already enough in itself to make even the most regular of clusters a nightmare to be hit properly! With this song's ID being godea4, it's currently speculated that another God Eater song should have been released on Taiko before Feed A, with the best bets on the following song...

 Blood Rage God Eater 2 Rage Burst
Allx3 (159)x5 (229)x5 (395)x7 (555)
 Taiko Ps Vita

Much like the original God Eater, its sequel was exclusive to Asian fields and, likewise to the original game's situation, it received an enhanced version of the base game years later.

The February 2015 game God Eater 2 Rage Burst (ゴッドイーター2 レイジバースト) was released in Japan and Taiwan for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita as an enhanced version to God Eater's sequel. Together with the game's returning storyline and features, the 'Rage Burst' Story portion was added with more monsters to face and new characters and weapons to wield. Another new feature worth mentioning in the game is the Blood Rage, which can grant players several temporary buffs in game by making a pledge in form of energy that has been gathered by attacking enemies. Like with GE Burst, Rage Burst is also being localized for Western countries in Summer 2016, while also adding a PC port for the game.

The song Blood Rage is Rage Burst's main theme, composed by Go Shiina and sung by David Vibes (romanized in the game's OST as デビッド・ヴァイヴス). In the games, the song is also played for 30 seconds when the player triggers the Blood Rage mechanic, continuing afterwards from where it was interrupted if the Blood Rage is triggered multiple times in the same mission.

The Taiko cut of the song makes room for a Taiko Oni notechart which is comparable difficulty-wise to Mujihi na Ou, with more notes and drumrolls in general to keep the players' fingers busy with this V Version-spawn song. According to Blood Rage's SongID, it's speculated that this song would have been planned to come out before Feed A at some point, in a similar fashion to the last couple of Muscle March songs.

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