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Monark Review (PC, PS4, PS5, Switch) | Backlog Battle

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This video is sponsored by OMEN by HP.
Also thank you to NIS America for providing this game code!

With so many expectations set by its developers evoking a beloved series, Monark has to do a ton of work to meet that. And while its story is pretty good once you stick around past its opening hours, its got a difficult time carrying the rest of the game all by itself. Find out more in my review of Monark!

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30 Comments

  1. Just wanted to say two things, thank you for the review & for confirming the game runs well on PS5 (my copy of Monark is preordered on that platform). Glad you covered all areas of the game from story, game difficulty, the level singularities & the room puzzles mechanics.

    Edit: Also, appreciate you explained the spirit leveling up system as players not in the know about how it works would get thrown off & can mess up their enjoyment.

  2. Thanks for the video! I think this convinced me that I do want the game, but I am going to wait for a sale. There are so many games coming out soon I am looking forward to, like Elden Ring and Triangle Strategy. So I think its probably for the best I wait anyway.

  3. Watched the whole review, and while the game obviously has interesting aspects, you pretty much convinced me it wasn’t worth my time. There are just way too many great RPGs to get through, and it seems like it takes a long time for this to get interesting (and even then, the story/gameplay sounds a bit tedious to me). Not to mention I still need to finish Caligula 1 and 2. I hope anyone playing this enjoys it tho! Thanks for your time reviewing it!

  4. Been looking forward to this review.

    I’m still on the fence. May pick up at some point. Definitely not a day one purchase for me.
    At least you helped me confirm that I’ll aim to get it on PC because of performance, was contemplating getting it on Switch.

  5. Thanks for the review 🙂 I’ve watched a couple so far, and although there’s definitely mixed reactions, Im picking it up since I loved the demo. I love the psychological horror elements, but the combat was what really sold it for me. The only thing Im a bit hesitant on is the characters and the seemingly repetitious gameplay loop, but Im looking forward to seeing how the plot develops.

  6. Hi Alex,
    My copy won't arrive for a while and I haven't had time to play much of the demo.
    Looking at your combat footage, it reminds me visually a bit of another Lancarse/FuRyu collaboration: Lost Dimension.
    I wonder .. ?? Is Monark possibly an evolution of that older battle system? Or is that just a visual similarity?

  7. Caligula part 3 basically. Hated Caligula due to needing to use auto battle a lot since battles were a slog.

    Monark had potential, but swapping characters so much feels dumb

  8. This gives my massive Caligula Effect vibes, from the minimalist style, white color motif, character designs and models, battle system, down to the concept of being trapped in a high school setting. I wonder if that game's developers made this too.

  9. Thank you for this. I think I'm in the minority when I say that the graphics and performance issues don't ever bother me too much if the gameplay is solid. However, still making me consider that I should pick this up for PS5 rather than Switch. Apart from losing the portability aspect, do you think that is a wise choice?

  10. I'm so torn on this one. I still haven't played the demo yet, the graphics don't bother me either way (it reminds me of the Vita, in a good way, and that makes me happy) and the combat looks like a lot of fun… but the dreary tone of the game isn't vibing with me, and I can see myself just rolling my eyes and sighing having to deal with the madness mechanic.
    I'll definitely give the demo a try, and hey, maybe if I see it for $15~$20 in a few years I'll pick it up.

    Also, giggling at you naming your character Morgan Freeman xD

  11. I have been looking forward to your review on Monark! Personally still haven't gone back to complete the demo, I think what put me off was not understanding "Madness" and "Death Calls". Ill come back around to it at some point I'm sure.

  12. honestly as a pc user i'll play any jrpg we can get, since we barely get any, aside from… yknow… r18 ones

  13. Thanks for the review as always. Maybe my eyes are deceiving me, but looks like switch version is slightly better than PS4 version? Not that it matters since I only have a switch, so I will wait for a sale to pick it up 🙂

  14. I enjoyed the demo and cinimatics kinda gave me a persona 1 vibe and style. So i think i will definitely picm this up probably not this month because its a beast, with horizon forbidden west and elden ring. But i think i would still dig the story. Than again im pretty patient towards somewhat grindy games so i could understand how other people might get bored.

  15. Dope review man, I’ve don’t think I’ve ever played a Demo that made me hate a game so much! I was hyped before 15mins in I was like, I hate this so much!

  16. Great review, and it's a nice surprise to see it a whole week before the game launches, which along with the demo, should help people make a more informed decision when pre-ordering it. Since I own both a PS4 Pro and PC, I decided to go with the former option (assuming there's no weird censorship forced upon the devs by Sony).

    Aside from the initial hook of former SMT devs working on the game (though I can't seem to verify WHO they were, what their roles were or their overall significance on those games), what interests me the most about Monark are the Ego system, the combat that seems to iterate on Lost Dimension's gameplay quite heavily, and that it seems to be dubbed by Sentai Filmworks (as I've already recognised Brittney Karbowski and Andrew Love's voices).

    The Ego system in particular seems to be a fun reinterpretation of SMT's moral alignment system. While I'm not a fan of fights giving me more ego points (as it doesn't actually reflect my own psyche or morals), I was on-board with the idea of answered questions throughout the game boosting one of my seven deadly sins. It was interesting to find out my biggest sin was Envy, as it's not the most flattering of the 7 for sure, but it was a lot of fun to discover that and reflect on myself. One area modern SMT games struggle with is the ability to blur the line between good and evil (with the neutral option being the objectively-best outcome), and with Monark's villains (or at least the first villain) having more to them than their antagonistic relationship with the main characters, I hope I can find here what I couldn't from those games in some small way.

    The graphics are disappointing, but not quite a deal-breaker for me. I will say that I'm surprised the game can't run at 60fps on Switch, given how simplistic and undemanding the visuals are. I'm lucky that I have two alternatives to circumvent this issue, but even then, I can't help but wonder why they didn't cell-shade the game to really bring so-bin's great art direction to life in-game. Maybe they should've used Unreal Engine to accomplish this, as last year saw countless great Japanese games made with that engine, all with a distinct anime aesthetic.

    In a way, the underwhelming graphics do accentuate the game's other qualities, and give it this mid-tier charm. You can tell this isn't a cynically-made product, but a work the developers are genuinely passionate about, enough to bring their vision to light despite the limitations they face.

  17. So glad your watched your review! I was debating whether to get this or Caligula effect 2. I’ve decided to go with this one first after playing the demo and watching your review. The story seems interesting, and I like the quizzes they give you throughout.

  18. Thanks for another great review. Based on what you said, looks like I’ll be picking this up on the Ps5, instead of the Switch, as originally planned.

  19. Another great video, and a great way to start my day Alex! I know it has some issues performance wise on switch but i just prefer portability so thats the one I went for with my preorder. I’m not one who cares about performance as much anyway. Can’t wait to play. Again, great video!

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