Monster Rancher Battle Card: Episode II – Second Opinion

I wasn't interested in giving Battle Card 2 any praise when I first saw the game because I have come to view these "battle card" games as cheap opportunities for publishers to milk a popular franchise. But after playing it, I found that it held a few surprises that almost made me overlook the static 2-D graphics, inadequate translations, lack of a multiplayer and uninteresting cast of characters.

Tecmo scored early with me. The questionnaire was certainly a nice touch. It really made me feel like the game was customized specifically to my particular tastes and hadn't just stuck me with generic monsters to use. The fighting system deserves some praise as well because it can be deceptively complex. Management of the Guts and skills cards—while admittedly took some getting used to—proved to be quite deep and addictive. I really liked how opponents made as good a use of the fighting system as a human player would—especially in later stages—because it made the battles all the more interesting.

Where Battle Card 2 fails are in areas that could have been easily corrected had the developer chosen to. For one thing, I found the animations of the monsters during "battle" to be disruptive after a while. Not only are they limited to a few frames of animation as Brad mentioned, but they can't be skipped. It's not a Battle Card 2 specific problem, as I took issue with this in both Pokémon Stadium and Final Fantasy VIII, but it is an annoyance nonetheless. The graphics in the game overall are just a step above the Super Nintendo's. At this late stage of the PlayStation's life cycle, I can't get past the fact that Tecmo isn't even trying to push the system's capabilities. And as far as the "shaky translations" go, when the computer tells you to do the wrong thing (to its own benefit) translation or not, that is paramount to cheating.

I really think Brad glossed over the lack of a multiplayer option because to me that is a grand omission in this day and age. I mean, was this game made before Pokémon existed? How could Tecmo not take advantage of the trading and collecting craze that is sweeping the planet right now and at least allow gamers to battle one another? I don't want to be presumptuous and tell Temco how to do it's job, but I find it hard to believe it couldn't have implemented a simple multiplayer mode somewhere in this game.

Don't let my stressing of the negatives fool you, I did enjoy the game. It's just hard to ignore Battle Card 2's shortcomings and they needed addressing. I still found the gameplay charming and the quest to fill my deck was an addictive one, but they can be overshadowed by the problems that plague the game. Rating: 6.5 out of 10