There are mainstream games, and then there are games that cater only for a selected group of fans or a niche genre. Today we are going to be discussing a game that comes from the latter of the two, which is Monster Rancher Evo. It is a take on a number of games, most notably Pokemon, which it shares a lot in common with. The big question in my mind was if Tecmo was going to be able to transition this game for the gaming masses, or stick with the diehard fans that have been with the series since its conception. So will Monster Rancher Evo do the series right? Read our full review to find out!
So you have never heard the Monster Rancher series before? Well don’ feel too bad, there are many people out there, including yours truly, who hasn’t always known about the series. It wasn’t until a few years ago I was finally introduced to the series, which is just an interesting take on the RPG and Strategy genres. So what is going on in Monster Rancher Evo? Well let’s just say it’s not the same Monster Rancher experience that many of the fans of the series are going to remember.
So there is a story on this game and in this one you will be taking the role of Julio (an interesting gaming name) who is actually a member of a circus who is in charge of taking care of all the monsters involved. Well unfortunately for Julio, one has gotten free, and no it’s not one of supporting cast but the main monster. So basically a young lady shows up and wants to help you become the best, and that is basically how the whole story unfolds. It’s not all that over the top but at the same time I could have expected more from the storyline.
So for those wondering what this game is all about, one of the prime aspects of this game is the monster creation tool, which is a game in itself. What the game allows you to do is stick any DVD or CD into the console while playing the game, and then the game will virtually create a monster based off of the data on the disc. It is really a trip to see some of the monsters that discs can make. This is really the most interesting and engaging portion of the game, as it really allows you to have a variety of monsters and the creation is just really entertaining.
So the other big portion of the game is raising the monsters and getting them to become the best of the best. Now this time around there is a lot more of an RPG feel to the game, something that was nowhere near as prevalent in the previous games. You will find things like training your monsters to feel very familiar to other RPG’s on the market, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The rest of the game just feels like it was forgotten a bit. You feel so strongly about the monster creation, that when it comes down to the fighting and the adventure elements of the game, you do get the feeling like it was a bit "left out".
In the end, Monster Rancher Evo is just one of those titles that has a lot of potential, and even shows signs of greatness but they really did not manage to spread the fun around. For those that were hoping for just an all around great strategy/RPG experience, then unfortunately Monster Rancher Evo concentrates too much on portions of the game which make the rest of the game feel a bit ridiculous.
Visually I think is where you get the feeling that this game is becoming more and more RPG and less and less sticking with what the game was previously. The monster design in the game is top notch, with a lot of detail and a heck of a lot of variety. For those expecting this throughout everything in the game, guess again, as Monster Rancher Evo does have some major faults. This is apparent especially with the environments, which are extremely lackluster and lack any sort of imagination. In the end, just like the gameplay, the visuals feel like they needed to really broaden their horizons.
At first, Monster Rancher Evo is just a brilliant idea. I had in my head just the most amusement with the monster creation. But once you got past that, you just get the feeling that everything else in the game is just so monotonous. Speaking of monotony, one of the other problems the game faces is repetition, as the game becomes extremely lackluster when you have to do the same thing over and over again to train your monsters. If you can’t tell the game starts off with a great taste but leaves one bitter aftertaste.
Monster Rancher Evo just suffers from its own success, and I say this because it does so well to get you started, but literally fails to keep your interest in the end. So unless you are just a major fan of the series, I would say most of us could just pass up Monster Rancher Evo completely.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.