Before you start bagging on me for numerous reasons (another PSOne review, what the fuck are YOU playing, etc.), let me go on record that I write reviews for games that have made an indelible impact on me, regardless of what system they are on or what part of my life I happened to be in at the time. I have been doing some scary game reviews and playthroughs for awhile now and decided I wanted to go into more friendly, fuzzier territory for the time being. With that out of the way, ONTO THE REVIEW!
Bring on the AWESOMENESS!!!
So what’s this about, you ask? Monster Rancher 2 is kind of like cutesy-pie, kiddie version cock fighting, with roosters, not actual cocks, mind you! (-: The basic premise of the game is to adopt a monster, through either the in-game Market or through the game’s innovative monster-spawning capability located at the Shrine. Here, the player has the option to either obtain spawn Monsters through Disc Stones (CDs) or Slates (Memory Cards).
The way that Monsters are spawned from CDs depends on different variables, such as the number of tracks, track length and the like. The Slate option requires the player to have a Monster Rancher 1 save file that can be used to import Monsters from the previous game!
How cool is THAT?!?!
Once the player has their Monster, they can go back to the Ranch and begin training their Monster in various activities (Drill) that range from Easy to Hard and boost various attributes such as Power, Speed, Intelligence, Defense, Skill and Life. While doing this, a few different outcomes can occur: 1) Success, 2) Fail, 3) Cheat, 4) Great, and 5) Truancy. What choices are made by the player after a Fail, Cheat, Great or Truancy can impact a Monster’s stress level as well as the Trainer’s Style. Too much stress can reduce a Monster’s life expectancy, which can cut their run to the top short, so bear that in mind while making in-game decisions!
Further, their are Errantries that Monsters can be sent on to not only greatly increase specific attributes, but to also possibly learn a new skill and get into a fight with a wild Monster, which if won, can net the player some money! Be cautious, though, when selecting a wild monster that may appear. If their level is too high, it can carry serious consequences!
Not doing so can result in a Monster’s untimely demise!
When the game is started, the player has a small amount of money to start out with. This makes in-game decisions difficult as the player has to balance between budget and what their Monster likes to eat. Babies tend to enjoy Milk, but with age, will begin to enjoy other food options. Make sure to consider what food choices impact life expectancy! Tablets give the most benefits, but are the most costly. Potatoes are the cheapest food item, but not all Monsters enjoy eating them.
Further, the game offers a Shop where items can be purchased to help reduce a Monster’s stress, improve their attitude and either increase or decrease their form! Every once in awhile, the player may receive notices that a discount is available for either the Shop or for Errantries, so be sure to take advantage of these when they occur!
Also, as a Monster progresses through the ranks during Official Tournaments, they may be invited to go on Expeditions, which can get the player valuable items such as Peaches and Drugs which can boost specific attributes! Be careful, though, because expeditions can tire and stress out the Monster!
Watch that Energy Bar!
Finally, the main focus of the game, THE BATTLES!!! After selecting the Battle option, the player will see a calendar of upcoming events, ranking E through S, lowest being E and highest being S. Official tournaments are names as such and this is where a Monster’s Rank can be increased. Unofficial tournaments can be entered if the Monster is eligible and those options will be selectable. It is up to the player, however, to choose responsibly because their is a possibility that a monster can be killed during battle! The use of skills depends on the level of Guts a Monster has; if they have enough Guts, they can execute a move as long as they are within range of the desired attack, if not, they will have to back off from combat until their Guts are high enough to execute the move. The Monster with the most Hit Points or the one left standing is the winner!
Focus on the Guts level, Hit Percentage and the enemy’s position to WIN!
Regarding graphics, this game is colorful and fun with plenty to see and experience. I haven’t had a chance to play the other titles to see how it stacks up against them, but I feel that the game did a great job of holding its own without copying other titles (ahem, Pokemon) and appeals greatly to the eye!
As for music, the Ranch music is of lullaby caliber and may put some to sleep, but the music of the Expeditions, Town and Battles jolt players out of their reverie and throw them headlong into the action onscreen! A solid win for music!
When controls are considered, they are responsive enough, though there tends to be lag at times, especially in the Shrine. Plus, the battle system can take some getting used to, as it isn’t a button masher, but rather a game of chess, where the player has to strategically position their Monster and strike when most appropriate! This game comes with a learning curve, but is worth it!
Overall, I recommend this game for those who want a departure from the normal fare and want to get silly! This game is good, innocent fun for those who are willing to take the chance, and even if the gameplay is not what the player typically picks up, the scramble to find new Monsters at the Shrine will be enough to keep them intrigued! Monster Rancher 2 definitely gets the Lumpz the Clown STAMP OF APPROVAL!!! Thanks for reading!!!
Lumpz the Clown is an avid gamer who does Let’s Plays, reviews and other assorted clowny goodness He aspires one day to make video games his full-time career and enjoys interacting with like-minded individuals with the same passion for gaming.