Monster Rancher 4 Review

Developer: Tecmo Publisher: Tecmo
Release Date: November 17, 2003 Also On: None

Tecmo has brought us many installments in the Monster Rancher game series and this one is the best. Monster Rancher 4 brings in many new features to the series. Anyone who is not familiar with the series probably would not see the difference, but to those who are, you can tell right away what the differences are.

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Monster Rancher 4 has a great musical score. However, it seemed to be geared towards a younger audience. The beginning song is a great example of this; it definitely sounds good, but you can obviously tell that it seems like something a younger person would like more (not that it is not catchy). I really think that if they had improved on the general music, like while you are adventuring, it would have added more enjoyment to the game. Even though the music isn’t something spectacular, the monsters sounds are.

Monster Rancher 4 was hurting in one category and that is graphics; whereas the monsters are extremely well rendered, your main character, as well the environments while adventuring are not. While adventuring through the Kalargi jungles, I noticed that the plants you walked through were 2D. The game also featured a more unique feature that you do not see in games very often now days. They have the characters as cartoon animations over the 3D background. This would work out okay, except for the fact that they overused the characters’ expressions. I can say though compared to the other Monster Rancher games the graphics of this game are great.

Most of Monster Rancher 4’s newest features to the series occur in the gameplay. One of the most significant new features is the ability to raise 5 monsters at once rather than one. This new addition adds a new level of play to the game. In the older games you could only raise one monster until it died or you retired it, but since you can raise five, it allows you to raise other monsters so that when one of your monsters gets old and gray you can replace it with a monster that has already had training. Monster Rancher 4 has menu-dependant gameplay to it, which may seems slightly annoying when you first start to play, but once you are raising five monsters, you learn to love it.

There are many ways you can train your monsters, the start of which is your monster just working with what they have to train their specific stats. Later on in the game you obtain training gadgets which are better for training in most cases. The training gadgets that you first can buy are only level one and you won’t be able to buy any better ones until you find their schematics while adventuring. One important aspect of the training is adventuring. Though you could say it is not really training, since it does not increase your monsters’ stats, you can learn new attacks when you level up by battling.

There are also many new additions to the combat system of Monster Rancher 4. You can now counter an enemy’s attack (which in-turn means they can counter yours). There is also the ability for a team attack. After a certain amount of time during a battle in which you have more than one monster with you, you are able to perform a team attack. This only works if your monster hits and does not work if your monster misses or the enemy monster counters. That tells you a bit about the gameplay of Monster Rancher 4, though there is much more that I could get into, but since that would take too long let’s discuss something else.

The replay value of this game is nearly endless. With over 320 monsters to raise, you will be at this game for a long time. About the only thing that keeps this game from having a perfect replay value is the fact that there really is no story after a certain point. Once you have completed the story, there really isn’t much more, but that doesn’t inhibit the game much seeing how this is the first Monster Rancher game to have a story. Monster Rancher 4 is a great game overall. Definitely not something you could confuse with Pokemon or something of that sort, so if you like RPGs with monster raising, then this game is a great buy or a great rent.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 9.5
Final: 7.5
Written by Andrew Review Guide

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