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Monster Rancher 3

Here is a Monster Rancher 3 artical I wrote for Pojo magazine. It has a lot of new information that cant be found anywhere else.

Tecmo has released many Monster Rancher games recently, but finally after almost two years of waiting we will get the next breeding simulation title, Monster Rancher 3, for the Playstation 2. Like the ones before it, this game is filled with all the great features that made the first two so much fun to play.

What you will first notice is that the visual style of the game has been completely changed. With anime being extremely popular in Japan right now, Tecmo decided that an anime style would best suit the games audience. This new style is present in all areas of the game and is less limited than the older realistic style of the previous games. Even if at first the new style does not appeal to you, after a few hours of playing you should grow to enjoy the new change. It allows your monsters to be much more interesting than the previous games did.

When first starting the game you will get to decide what continent you wish to train at. Choose wisely, because your monsters will interact with each area differently. Also based on your decision certain monsters may look different. The tropical area can have Suezos with dreadlocks and a tan while the colder northern climate has fuzzy Suezos.

The way you raise monsters in Monster Rancher 3 has not been changed much from the original games. One of the new features is the item called a Heart Crystal. You obtain a Heart Crystal from a monster when it dies. You can then give it to a new monster and it will absorb some of the traits and abilities of the monster that died. Only one Heart Crystal can be given to a monster though, so you don't save them up. One of the other improvements to the raising part is playing with your monsters. Rather than just simple games, Tecmo has made the mini-games much more fun and interactive than the simple games present in Monster Rancher 2. Not much is known about the exploration or battle sections of the game yet except that the battle system has been changed to make selecting and launching attacks much easier that in the previous two games.

Many changes have been made to the monsters themselves. Mixed breed monsters now look more original than their main types, unlike the previous games where it seemed more like just a color change. Also monsters body movements and facial expressions are extremely improved, making it much easier to know how your monster feels about something. Monsters also can now be customized by buying items for them at the shop. Some of these items just change the looks of your monster while some actually help the monster fight or train better. Accessories like make-up and body paint can change the way your monster looks and also change its mood, while items like a Suezo's tail spike will help your monsters attacks do more damage. At the ranch you can now control of your monsters and walk them around. This allows you to explore your ranch and get a better look.

A few additions have been also added to the way you obtain monsters. CDs and DVDs will now be able to be used to randomly generate monsters at the shrine. My favorite addition is the ability to now create monsters from your monster book. Once you have obtained a monster and it is added to your book you no longer have to remember which CD you spawned it from but rather just open up your monster book and select it to be created.

One of the features that made previous Monster Rancher games so popular was the ability to fight your monsters against your friend's monsters. Tecmo has added many more two-player options in Monster Rancher 3. Most important is the ability to now trade monsters and items with your friends. Another feature is a two player raising competition. This will allow you to give a monster to your friend to foster and you will compete to see who the better trainer is. You will also now be able to combine your monsters with your friend's monsters. The most interesting part about this is Tecmo claims that mixing your monster with a friend's monster will get better results than mixing two of your own. Who obtains the new monster is still unknown to me.

With a release date of sometime between May and August I suggest that you pick up a Playstation 2 soon if you haven't yet. You wouldn't want to be behind your other ranchers when it comes time to battle.

* Please understand that Monster Rancher 3 is still in development and anything in this preview could change by final release.

By Reed Dotto

~ This artical was writen in January. Release date for Monster Rancher 3 is now June.


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