Source: Cashmoneys Price: £13.99 Where To Get It: Steam
For me, Monster Sanctuary is a bit of an odd experience. It is, by no means, a bad game, a metroidvania combined with the monster raising and fighting type games many of us love so much. Its skill trees, balance, and difficulty curve appear pretty solid, and I like its pixel art designs.
So it’s bugging the hell out of me that I’m not terribly enthused with it, and can’t work out why.
It’s certainly not the thinnish story, or the obvious gamey unlocks of features based on progression. I’m used to those, and honestly, it’s not that big a deal. You want to be the very best Monster Tamer, bad things are happening, and you work in an organisation, so it’s all good there.
The grind, similarly, isn’t bad. After all, monsters in the line share XP, so if you’re in need of seriously levelling someone up, you can put them as a reserve, beat up some lower level monsters, and don’t put them in the frontlines until they’re needed. And, of course, monsters are the level you catch them at.
Even the combat is engaging, because it’s this balancing act of factors. Do you put a monster in the very front, where it won’t do as much damage, but it’ll rack up combos for the monsters after it? Do you use a powerful ability, or tone it down and do less damage, because the powerful version outstrips the mana regeneration that monster currently has? Adding to this, you can see the types of monsters in a group (and they are, apart from uniques, always in a group), and plan accordingly, looking at your monster journal for weaknesses, coming up with a plan for the following encounter.
So, the systems fit pretty well together, with multiple elements to play with, multiple different roles, and the fact that even healing will add to a combo helps you keep the flow going with a healer role in the party. Moving around isn’t bad, especially since different monsters have different abilities you can use in the world, from breaking open inaccessible areas, to mobility improvements…
It’s a solid game. And yet… I had trouble keeping my enthusiasm going, and I don’t particularly know why. There’s still time to work it out. There’s still time to change my mind, or have my mind changed by some update or another. And it’s a solid mix of platformer and turn-based monster taming RPG. It just… Doesn’t really grab me right now.
The Mad Welshman hates not knowing why he doesn’t get on with a thing. Normally he’s much better than that.
Source: Cashmoneys Price: £46.49 Where To Get It:Steam
The God Eater series has always been an interesting one, even if aspects of that interest are more akin to watching a trainwreck than anything else (HI ROMEO, YOU SKEEVY ASS.) A series in the relatively small genre that is Monster Hunting (Wandering through limited arenas, hunting monsters, collecting items, and crafting better weapons so you don’t get stomped by the latest monster), God Eater has also been known for dramatically pulling the rug out from under its characters time and time again.
So… It’s actually been a pleasant
relief to see the first three acts have mostly
been an upward arc, narratively, from child-soldiers imprisoned and
experimented on, to valuable members of a crew. I know there’s a rug
pull incoming, but it wasn’t the one I was expecting, and I’m glad of
Okay, so, a little narrative
backgrounder: God Eater is a monster hunting game where, essentially,
Mother Earth has gotten so tired of Humanity’s shit, she decided to
try and evolve them out of existence with the Aragami, horrific
monsters that were, at least in the first game, originally human, but
changed into various monsters. Humanity, somehow, has survived
through at least two apocalyptic events (At least partly self
inflicted), but things are grimmer than ever, with Fenrir (the
organisation of the previous two games) mostly destroyed, and
Gleipnir (No, not Sleipnir, totally not going with a Ragnarok themed
naming, why would you think that?) being the “big” organisation
this time. You can tell things are bad, because not only are the
Aragami going Gray Goo on everything (the Ash Storms, and,
theoretically… the totally-not-going-to-happen
Ash Tempest), they’ve evolved again. Cue our protagonist, and their
While I have not been able to get as
far as I would like in
God Eater 3 (The pressures of reviewing, sadly, wait for nobody it
seems), I already have a pretty good idea of how the game has
improved, how it’s added things, and how its writing seems
to be on upward progression from the last outings. Some things
remain, annoyingly, a bit of a problem, such as subtitles not
properly distinguishing themselves from the background, the fact
that, as a Monster Hunter type game, there are a lot
of buttons and button combos, so a controller is heavily recommended
(both controller and keyboard/mouse can be redefined, but, as
mentioned, a lot of
buttons), and step attacks, especially the new Burst Art step
attacks, remain a pain in the arse to land properly (Locking on
doesn’t help that much.) Mook missions remain mook missions, you will
end up grinding earlier missions for upgrade materials and money
(especially if you want to experience all the weaponry), and some
enemy types remain more annoying than others. Specifically shielders,
flyers, and ranged-focused enemies (Of which there is at least one
who represents all three in Rank 3.)
Yes, this review is pretty long for
me, and a big part of that is that there is a lot
that has changed, been added, or improved. For example, I mentioned
Burst Arts, and now there are not only Burst Arts (Requiring you to
fit the Devour move into your combos to use, although Devouring your
enemies remains a vital core function you won’t risk forgetting), but
Engage mode (Essentially, linked abilities that trigger when two
characters fill up their attack meters, such as sharing item usage or
improving attack), and Acceleration Triggers, which, like Burst Arts
and Engage mode, buff aspects of your fighting style, although some
feel more useful than others. Wait, I need to Engage five times to…
Improve the speed of that devour move I don’t really use, because
quick devour is right
there? HRM. The two new weapons,
similarly, are new, and the Heavy Moon, a sort of Chakram/Heavy Axe
combo, is definitively my favourite, threatening to depose my love of
the lance and its pokey, chargey stylings.
Visually, the game is an improvement on previous titles, without busting your GPU. Enemies glow, give good visual tells (for the most part), feel like believable creatures… Well, as believable as murder-monsters based on a hive-mind of single-celled hate amoeba can be, anyway. Characters remain relatively simply rendered, although the clarity does help when combat, and its heavy particle chaos ensues, and, despite seeming like a really unfriendly game, it tutorialises moderately well. Not really well, just moderately well, but it teaches most of its base concepts, even if it stumbles a bit by leaving weapon specific training to practice modes and database entries on their unique moves. The voice acting’s solid, the writing seems, as noted, to be on an upward arc from the last outing’s skeevelord inclusions (Although I may well have to write a going back or something once done, because, as noted, God Eater is well known for its dramatic rug pulling), and, overall, God Eater 3 seems to show quite the improvement, remaining a solid entry in the relatively small genre that is “Hunt monsters for kit and profit.”
jThe Mad Welshman always enjoys getting the drop on things that want to destroy Humanity. After all, that’s his job…