PlayStation 5 Review: Monster Menu: The Scavenger’s Cookbook is a solid new take for NIS but it’s missing an ‘X factor’. Essentially, it’s no Disgaea.
This PS5 ‘Monster Menu’ review contains mild spoilers.
Monster Menu’s character generator is quite robust and highly customizable. But not so hyper advanced where you feel like having the CPU just auto-generate and calling it a day. You actually have quite a bit of fun choosing your character’s look and dubbed voice.
Even their ‘pose’ is customizable. Personally, my character “Jack” ended up looking like a Cloud Strife knockoff.
Despite the graphics looking familiar to the engine used in Disgaea 6… The dungeon environments themselves are lacking most finer details and look kind of PS2-ish.
Monster Menu could really have used some extra pizzazz on their environments, especially considering the level of grinding involved.
The 3D character art is up to a high level, closeup. ‘Chibi’ anime FF7 style.
* Though the 2D hand drawn sprites of ‘old’ were one of the definitive signatures of NIS games and still highly missed.
The gameplay is simple to start off with but soon becomes inundated with options from the onset.
It might scare away some casual players when there’s so many recipe / crafting options, ingredients, curse options (more enemies spawned etc). Lots of micro-management.
Your characters’ Calories & Hydration have to be refilled as you travel around, which is an original thing to monitor. They must be fed and hydrated!
Sometimes you won’t be back at base camp bringing us to the game’s infamous ‘Devour’ mechanic.
Where you ‘Devour’ an enemy (or fallen ally) you just defeated ‘left’ on the battlefield, giving you instant effects during that battle.
Randomly generated enemies kind of chase you around dungeon boards, although they’re fairly easily avoidable unless you’re picking up an item. * The game doesn’t pause they chase while you receive it.
Battles are fun but you might soon tire of fighting easy to beat enemies and run away to just advance to the next floor (similar to Disgaea’s Item World)… Only to be instantly killed by some ultra strong enemy on first encounter on that next floor.
The first time this happens the game will allow you to create a companion to assist.
Whether you’re into the mechanic of grinding and fearing to advance to the next floor so you won’t lose your stat level really depends on the type of gamer you are.
Are you the type to play Dark Souls on repeat or just want to relax and feel like the game’s all powerful, unstoppable hero/antihero like a Devil May Cry?
Overall, if you’re looking to singularly invest the time, you’ll be rewarded much like all NIS strategy RPG games. If you have a major game backlog, the repetitive nature of battles might be too grind-y for some if you’re short on time.
Review Score: 7.3 out of 10. A solid effort by NIS on a new IP, experimental mechanics, out of the box thinking. Environmental graphics needed refinement. Unlike Disgaea, it feels much less accessible to a wider audience, “rogue-like” or not. Very niche.
– Disclosure: A PlayStation 5 review copy of ‘Monster Menu: The Scavenger’s Cookbook’ was provided to The Natural Aristocrat®.
– You can purchase Monster Menu now on Amazon.
More NIS Game Reviews and Exclusive Interviews
Be sure to read:
Visit the Gaming section for the latest reviews, previews, and exclusive interviews with the top talent in the industry!