Tag Archives: Game Freak

Review #015: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity (3DS) ~ Dat Ending.

PMGTI

Official website

It has been coming. After a long time I finally finished the main story of this game. This game is actually the game that started off my rants here on my blog. I talked about the cuts and adds that this game did. Feel free to read it here. But I’ll address most of it in this article. This review will be a big one? Why? Well, I have a lot to talk about! Plus, this game actually did some things why I hold this game high in my list of best games ever. I thought a lot about special things to do for this review. From me being trapped in a dungeon and that each floor was a part of the game that I wanted to review but no idea really worked out the way how I wanted. So, that’s why I settled down upon a normal style review. I remember till this day pre-ordering this game. I was so excited that there was going to be a 3DS entry. It was a long time since this series saw an entry. The Japanese people got lucky with a WiiWare title that never saw international release. But ChunSoft gave us this game now. Yes, this game is not only made by GameFreak & Nintendo. ChunSoft actually has a great influence in this series. Anyways, let’s look at this game. Is it really worth the praise I give it or is it just that some elements really make me want to play this game? Let’s review! (Oh, and feel free to post a comment about my review and/or your views on this game.)

Paradise.

pmd_gti_ss6Let’s first tackle the biggest thing of this game. The story. In this game you wake up in a forest without knowing that you suddenly turned into a Pokemon. But this time they take things differently. Instead of the obvious thing to join a big rescue team or to become one, the main focus is actually somewhere different. The main focus is on you making a paradise for the Pokémon in Post Town.

And this is already a great improvement in my eyes. The story feels extremely fresh. And I actually really enjoyed the story. The characters were great, the writing is well done and I barely made complaints on the story while playing. There were some close calls of a Deus Ex Machina (for those who don’t know the word, it’s a sudden solution that comes out of nowhere and solves everything.) but lucky for this game, they were avoided.

The only thing is dislike a bit is that they removed the personality test at the start. I actually enjoyed it and never really cheated my way towards the Pokémon I wanted to be. You actually can directly select your Pokémon that you want to be now. This makes the game feel less personal but this short coming has been made up big time by something else.

But, I am not done yet with talking about the story. Where this game wins some big marks is the fact that for the 3rd entry in the game, the ending actually made me tear up once more. The ending, while it’s highly similar then the previous entries, is written in such an amazing way that it manages to to it’s job. I won’t spoil it but for emotional people, this will be a tough one. But that’s not all. The biggest marks are won with the addition of a story after the credits. I was so surprised when I saw that “and now you play as your partner to see how the story concludes.”. This gives the game a bigger reason to keep playing after finishing it.

Downfall

imagesBefore I continue with praising the game, I want to talk about what made this game not that much fun for me. Which elements made me want to avoid this game?

First off, there is DLC! Why? Just, why? Downloading additional dungeons is fun, but asking a small price for them is just silly. You basically download a dungeon with a name and some new textures. As if the extensive list of already available dungeons wasn’t good enough already.

Also, I know it’s meant for the safety of your health but the message: “You had a great adventure today. You should take a rest before you continue to play.” is just silly. I’m bummed out that there isn’t an option to disable this message.

Also, this game doesn’t like you checking the message log. The way to look at the message log is so hidden, it really makes me irritated when I want to check something I missed.

Something I really like is the fact that when you take a weak level Pokémon with you, it will grow to the level of the other Pokémon when you enter a high level dungeon. Take that your Pokémon are all level 30 and you take a level 10 with you for the ride. It goes to level 30 right away. But here comes something extremely annoying. You must go through all the moves the Pokémon can learn with that high level jump. One by one. Yes, one by one. That’s no fun at all. Why couldn’t you just program in a list for it?

Inventory management has also a small issue with it. When you want to take something out of your box, you can only take one item. Unless you first press “R” to input the amount you wish to have. This is an additional step that shouldn’t be there. When you select an item that you have multiple times, you should be able to directly say how much you want of it.

This game makes also one major mistake. One of the biggest flaws in this game is the fact the you only can do one mission each time you set out. And that is such a pain. This really pulls out a lot of the fun of doing multiple missions and trying to survive a dungeon because you need to do another floor.

A nitpicky thing is, and this might just be me, is that the running isn’t endless anymore. After a short while you stop running. And this is really annoying since you need to let go and press the B button again. Also, the running is a tad bit to fast. Running around corners is such an annoying thing in this game.

And this might be just me as well, but I felt like the final three bosses where way to weak and easy. Or I might just have grinded my Pokémon to a pretty high level and/or had a great inventory to beat them.

Before I forget, I want to add this to the bad list. A TM can be used multiple times. I liked the way of the previous entry more where you had to collect certain items to repair it before you could re-use it.

Great.

pokemon-mystery-dungeon-1At first I was really doubting to put this in the bad thing section but then I realized something. You can play as one of your team mates to take a break from the story. Yet, thanks to a box system, you can transfer over items from the companion mode to the main story mode. This gets rid of the annoying being stuck in a hard dungeon with no good items. Yet, it makes the game a bit easier. But it doesn’t get too easy either. You really need to finish requests to get those items.

In addition to that, good items are rather expensive and not always available in the shops. This makes creating a great inventory to finish bosses and/or beat big dungeons that more rewarding.

I touched upon the fact that you can do only one mission at a time. Such a big deal isn’t it really since the rewards you get are sometimes enough for expanding your paradise. The fact that you can upgrade, recolor and put more things and you have space makes the replay value high. Also, in the paradise there is a lot to do. Prize tickets and even two mini-games I know of. And they are extremely fun to do.

The hunger system is gone in this entry. But something else came in it’s place. The so called “V-Wave”. This makes a certain type more stronger and therefor more dangerous. You can change the “V-Wave” from a certain point in the story but I never did. I enjoyed the challenge.

The gameplay is still the same as before. You explore randomized dungeons and you try to get to the top. Using your attacks at corners is still extremely buggy. Speaking about attacks, they made an amazing change that is extremely helpful in this entry. When you press the “L” button you directly get an overview of all your Pokémon’s attacks! And you have to simply press the according button to execute the attack. This saves time since you don’t have to go into the menu to change your attack and you also see how much PP is left.

Also, attacks get stronger over time. The more you use them, the stronger they will get. But pay attention, the attacks of the enemy’ll be stronger then as well. So, if you upgrade tackle to level 2, the power of tackle of the enemies will be level 2 as well.

The dungeons are improved as well. Some dungeons have an “overworld” part where you have to cross a bridge or solve a small puzzle before being able to continue to the next floor. Thanks to this, dungeons are way less boring then in all the previous entries of the series. Inside dungeons there are also shortcuts. But I can’t tell more about them since I hadn’t been able to have the right key for unlocking the door.

Another great improvement is the fact that you can save everywhere you want! The menu system is better but not perfect. The fact that it’s not anymore a simple text box menu but something in the lines of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl where the buttons are on the button screen after a press on the menu button is such a great feature.

Visually this game is a masterpiece. It’s the best I have seen in the whole series. I actually regret not putting the 3D slider to max at certain points. This game really benefits from the 3D. It looks pretty. The rare cut scenes look amazing and are a marvel to look at. It’ll really stick with you how some area’s looked in 3D. And with great visuals comes one of the best animation I have seen in a while. Nothing bad to say about that.

The sound design is well done. It really pulls you inside the game. There are no Pokémon cries in the game but that’s actually a great thing, since this makes me enjoy the amazing soundtrack of the game at it’s full glory. Some tracks in the previous entries really got on my nerves after hearing them multiple times. But not with this game. This game really nailed it.

And I think I’ll leave it here for this review. Skipping the multiplayer and the possibility to find new dungeons around your home, it’s time to make a conclusion for this game.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Attacks at corners don’t work.

– The running is a bit broken.

– One mission at a time.

– The end bosses are a bit too weak.

– DLC.

– “You should rest.”

– Leveling up too fast makes for an irritating move learning “5-minute”

– TM can be used multiple times.

– Inventory management needs some minor tweaks.

– Removal of the personalty test at the start.

The good:

+ Amazing story.

+ Great soundtrack.

+ Visually amazing.

+ Great animation.

+ Randomized dungeons = high replay value.

+ Overworld parts in the dungeons.

+ Great sound design.

+ Benefits from the 3D.

+ Multiplayer.

+ Companion mode.

+ Sharing inventory makes the game way better.

+ Great controls.

+ Story after the credits.

+ It’s not only dungeons you can do in this game, the paradise opens up so many possible things to take a break from the dungeons.

+ Improved menu’s and combat.

Final words:

This game made some major improvements when you compare them to the previous entries of the series. Some things had to be payed for that, but actually in the long run, the game strong points really make up for it.

The game isn’t less fun, it’s as much fun as the previous entries but for a totally different reason. It still feels rewarding and fun but now because you make an amazing paradise that’s unique to you. Since you can choose a lot.

It really surprises me that this game really expanded on the previous entries so much. You have a lot more to do, to keep track off. And there isn’t only more depth to the game! They addressed issues to make the game more fun to play.

This game is one of the best spin-offs of Pokémon period. And I’m so glad that I finished this game and looked passed the flaws since then you see where this game actually truly shines. And then this game, you don’t want it to be over soon. But the length and replay value will keep you busy for a long while.

So, too long didn’t read version. Is it worth all it’s praise. Yes, if you don’t compare it too much too the previous entries of the series but take it as a new reboot-ish game of the series.

Score: 85 / 100

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First Impression: Pokémon Black & White (DS) ~ Late to the party.

Pokemon_Black_Box_Artwork

Official website

Before start this blog, I want to apologize for not posting for a while. I have been quite busy with my personal life. Follow me on my twitter if you need to know more. Anyways, I realize too that I am extremely late starting to play this entry in the Pokémon series. But I have distracted by other games. Yeah, that excuse will convince you. I hope. Anyways, I’m playing it now and as long time Pokémon fan I feel mixed about this entry. And I shall explain why in this first impression. Remember that these is what I think when first playing the game. Anyways, I’m going to play the sequel after this and I will probably buy the next installment on the 3DS. Anyways, let me know in the comments what you think of my opinion and what you thought yourself when you first started to play this game. Oh, and I place the Pokémon Black box-art here since that’s the version I’m playing through.

Updated yet step back.

516677-pokemon-black-version-nintendo-ds-screenshot-title-screenThis game has a few flaws. And I want to direct here. This game feels like how Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity cuts a lot of things. It’s a great game in many ways but I dislike many things. One major example is the unhandy menu.

Seriously, who thought of the menu? It’s such a neat idea for having some items like the drowsing machine on the bottom screen but the menu is also displayed on that bottom screen. So what happens is that you have to switch if you want to take something from your bag. This could easily have been avoided or solved if they used tabs in this game to easily switch between your items.

What I feel is a downfall in this game is that the creativity in the Pokémon design is a bit lacking. Some Pokémon don’t look as original as all the previous generations. I keep asking myself, why don’t they stop creating new Pokémon and just use the overflow of Pokémon they have? The legendary Pokémon don’t feel as legendary anymore either.

Also, they removed the ability of a Pokémon running behind you. A feature I extremely liked in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. It does make those games more unique and it gives them a reason to replay them yet the PokéWalker was doing that for Nintendo already.

And what I also find disappointing as well is the fact you can’t name your friends. This which such a nice feature in every previous game. Now they just have names already. Awn, no fun Game Freak.

More 3D

imagesVisually this game is extremely well done. In presentation of the world, it’s a great job. The seasons are such an amazing idea and the Pokémon that fly by, it pulled me into the game without a doubt. Yet, I wished that the seasons where set with the calender instead of somewhat random. Since it confuses me that it’s autumn in the game while it’s summer here for me.

Apart from some not so creative Pokémon, this game brings a lot of features I like to the table. A feature where you can quickly access often used features is such a great addition. I said earlier that the drowsing machine has gotten an amazing upgrade. The trainer card is what it’s supposed to be now. You can make a greeting, put your mood and your trainer style! Great work.

I love running through the new world. The camera is such a nice thing. In certain area’s it shows you the area’s from the side or from other directions. Something I felt that was missing from the series for a long time.

The battles, while not perfect, have gotten a major step in the right direction. The battle screen is more animated and the camera moves more with the attacks instead of standing still. The animation is one of the better I have seen in the Pokémon games and it really sets the bar high for the next games.

Nods to the older games

large

This game does feel more realistic. But I doubt if this will make the game timeless. But that’s something that we will need to see in the future. But the game’s story is one that caught my attention. It’s different and it’s really fine from what I read now.

But the game has also nods to the older games. It like starting your journey at a young age or the guys of GameFreak putting themselves in the game. Nice easter egg guys.

The music is enjoyable but doesn’t have the magic that older music has. It’s probably the nostalgia factor for me but it’s not bad. The sound effects are what you are used to of Pokémon.

The game has a lot to offer. It seems that this game is extremely long too. And finally, there is now a good reason to choose between the two versions. Pokémon Black and White have a location that is exclusive to that game. The difference isn’t simply some Pokémon and the legendary one anymore. Thank the lords.

In conclusion, this game does a lot to pull you in. There are a lot of features I haven’t yet seen in the game. Like wild battles with two Pokémon instead of one, I haven’t messed around with that enough to give my full opinion. It’s clear to me already that this game is a good game but it’s far from perfect. It’s a step in the right direction for the series. So, another game I will have to review when I finally finished it. Oh dear, I better get back to playing so I can post my final thoughts on it. Take care and thanks for reading!

Review #010: Pokémon Blue/Red/Yellow (GB) ~ Good old days

Blue-and-Red

Wikipedia entry

It’s the year 2000. Pokémon is extremely popular and the first game for on the gameboy is about to reach store shelves. And critics praised it for one of the best games for the system. And it was a launch game. As a child, I played this game an awful lot. Not understanding a word from what they were saying, but I continued on. My basic English comes from this game. But let’s review it now. Has this game given me some nostalgia goggles? Will I rate this game high because it has child hood memories or will I rip it to pieces now that I’m older? Well, let’s take a look into the cult classic Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow for a proper review.

Shouting everywhere.

While writing this review, the game is running on the TV next to me. Thanks to the SuperGameboy and my trusty SNES. But what I noticed is that many things are shouted. Like “TEAM ROCKET” or any attack name. Image Pokémon like this in real life, each time something important is used, you have to shout it out loud.

pokemon_blue_02

What’s Pokémon about? Well, your goal is that you capture monsters living in the wild, train them to become stronger and so defeating the elite 4. On your journey you need to defeat the eight gym leaders to prove you are worthy to challenge the elite 4.

This concept is great and works extremely well. But in your journey you will have to fight the bad guys named Team Rocket and stop their evil plans. The plot, while basic, is great. It doesn’t go too deep and it’s great for a kids game like this. It’s understandable for the younger audience. At the end, there is also a plot twist. But I’m not going to spoil it since I’m quite sure most of you readers know what I’m talking about.

So, with a good story, let’s move on to the graphical side of things. The graphics of this game are great and not that great at the same time. While it surely looks pretty on the gameboy limited hardware, some sprites for your own Pokémon look bad. Take for example Metapod, he looks kinda scary when you use him as a Pokémon.

A battle of sounds

gfs_4611_2_27So, I said that the graphics look good? Yes, the caves look cave-y. The forests look forest-y. But it doesn’t do anything special. In the sequel, the graphics are way better, but there it’s improved for better hardware.

I can’t be too harsh on the graphics. The artwork and the design of the game follows the anime series extremely well and surely make you feel like you where actually travelling along side Ash. Especially when you played Pokémon Yellow, where Pikachu walked behind you. You were able to click on him for seeing his mood in a small animation.

There is a nice use of animations in the game as well. For the more powerful attacks, the screen can flash and or shake. But some effects have minor issues. For example, when your Pokémon is at low health, the sound effects and the music are having a sort of battle in terms of which sound-effect is allowed to play.

Let’s talk about the music and sound-effects. They are top notch. The music is melodic and sets the tone just right for any situation. Each track might just be around a minute or two long, but it rarely gets old. I even like to play the music when I’m on the road. And when the music plays, I truly can image being on a bike or on the sea.

The sound-effects are doing what good sound-effects are supposed to do. Draw you into the gameplay even more. The let you know if an item is used, when your Pokémon is getting attacked and so on and on. And the library of sound-effects is pretty expansive since all the 151 different Pokémon have their very own tune.

Walking and more walking

177467-pokemon-blue-version-game-boy-screenshot-rattata-vs-kakunas

Okay, we all know the complaint that psychic Pokémon where overpowered in the first generation. But the different Pokémon types are such an amazing addition to the gameplay. It truly makes you think in which Pokémon you are going to take in your party.

Pokémon is set up in such a way that it’s extremely replayable. You can set up yourself many different challenges like the Nutzlocke challenge. (Releasing a Pokémon when it fainted) or trying to catch all the Pokémon.

But you can only do that when you have a friend with the other version of the game. Which worked for friends to have some amazing trades and battles. If I remember correctly, one or two Pokémon only evolved when you traded them, but that could have been in later generations tough.

Is this game perfect, well no. There are some issues with this game I think bring this classic down. For starters, something I don’t see a lot on other reviews is that the characters are so bland. No one of the characters really gets depth nor explained. they are just there. And congrats to the writers making such an amazing tale with such “empty shells” of characters.

Another thing is that some Pokémon spam one status attack. Like attacks that make you sleep or steal health. It’s frustrating seeing this happen over and over again.

The inventory is a mess. Items are everywhere. Lucky for us, in the sequels they have addressed this issue and improved upon it.

Also, this game has hands down, the strangest glitches I have ever seen in a gameboy game. And there are a lot of them. Many glitches I wished where patched.

So, I’m going to leave it here for Pokémon. Let’s get on to the conclusion.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Nice tale.

+ Epic world.

+ Quite lengthy.

+ Highly replayable.

+ Memorable music and sounds.

+ Amazing gameplay.

The bad:

– Sound issues.

– Glitches.

– “Empty Shell” characters.

– Spamming of one attack.

My verdict:

You can’t escape the fact that this Pokémon game is pretty amazing. While it has it’s flaws, it still is able to keep up a certain charm. It isn’t old, and it will never be. Thanks to the various improvements of the sequels and later entries, this game looks dated.

Yet this game stays fun for picking up memories. It’s an easy RPG and it’s fun with the capital F. So, play it now and enjoy it.

Score: 90 / 100