Tag Archives: List of Pokémon (1–51)

First Impressions: Pokémon Ranger (DS) ~ All These Circles Make Me Dizzy.

Pokémon_Ranger_Coverart

Wikipedia entry. (Since the official site is updated to the latest entry in the series.)

Sometimes games have a lot of potential. And this game surely has potential. This Pokémon spin-off is based on one of the opponent types in the main series. Yet, some games then fail horribly to deliver. I was planning to make write this article in a story-ish thing-y but I wanted to be direct for this game. It made me think about something. If you ever ask yourself why I don’t review that many bad games on my blog is because the games I play are the games that catch my eye and I think are interesting to play. I also look beyond the graphics and other things while I’m playing. And I trust my instinct in order to avoid bad games. Yet, it happens that a bad game slips in here and there, but when I’m having fun and when I’m enjoying myself, that makes the game a lot better. Remember that I judge my games extremely personally. That might be a flaw of my reviewing skills, since I should actually review my games more so that I look if it would be for everybody. Anyways, I thought this was important to say since there are a lot of fans for this game. So, to avoid flaming in the comments I better explain myself. But feel free to leave me a comment to tell me how I did or what you think of this game. Anyways, here we go!

The first isn’t always the best.

ds_pokemonranger_ss01 copy

This game made me doubt my instinct of choosing great games. I’m going to be extremely honest here, this game is flawed. Yet, it’s a game I’ll finish since I want to beat the first one in the series before I continue to play the other games in the series. I did play the sequel and the 3rd game in the series and I really enjoyed my time there. I never beaten them though. Okay, Guardian Signs I had beaten but not 100%, since I had a part of the epilogue left to beat.

I’m going to dive into the parts I didn’t like of this game first. Honestly, I don’t like the overworld animation. Some Pokémon seem a bit jittery when they move and the running animation of your character is way to fast for your friend Pokémon to keep up. And this causes a lot of issues. Pokémon will no clip through walls and various other locations to reach you. When they can’t cross a certain river or other place, they will spawn next to you after a short while of being off screen.

The graphics in this game look really neat though. It’s another take on how things can look in the main series. I’m so glad they took it in an other direction yet, similar. But the level design don’t look very pleasant. Not that it looks ugly or anything but I really don’t feel the polish of the other Pokémon games that go into cities.

Bad?

ds_pokemonranger_ss03 copyBut there are other things really makes me want to rip this game apart. First of all, the map screen is a total joke. It’s actually useless. Your map is more like a radar with an arrow representing you and squares if there is a door you can enter. Also, it displays Pokémon nearby. I actually found a glitch in the map. Before the sewer part in Fall City, you need to try to get on top the entrance of the sewers, that road, and look at the map then. It’ll appear that a lot of Pokémon are there.

Secondly, I really dislike in this game is the music. It’s bland and forgettable. I actually had to play the OST to remember the music. I really hope that the music in the rest of the game makes up for the music in the first section of the game.

Thirdly, while the capturing of Pokémon is an awesome idea and it works in the game as well, it’s the only really enjoyable part of the gameplay. The locations to explore are bland and generic. Also the capturing can be really frustrating since sometimes the Pokémon will run on the side of the screen which makes drawing your circles around them a real pain to execute. Not to mention the possible damage to your touch screen if you get a bit to … circle-happy? Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the possible interruption you can have in mid-capture when your styler levels up. Yeah, it can happen.

But the biggest let down has to be the extremely weak story. Even the first Pokémon game had a better story. It suffers from cheesy-ness, generic characters and basic plots. The plot can be summed up easily by: “Superstyler is stolen by bad guys to cause evil.” No character gets depth and stay dolls on strings to play a certain role. Such a lost opportunity. This makes predicting the story extremely easy and ruins the thrill of the story.

Why do I still play this?

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By now you might think that I have given up fate for this game. But surprisingly, there is a charm in this game that keeps pulling me in over and over again. Even with the obvious flaws of this game, it remains fun. Exploring the, linear, places to progress is fun.

Finding the right Pokémon to assist you in destroying a big rock is sweet. Also, you really need to think about which Pokémon you have to take along since you can’t have them all at the same time.

The controls of this game is a major plus. You can use the D-Pad and/or the stylus to move. And it actually works extremely well. Yet, I managed to find a bug in the controls. When you have a ladder that goes down, try walking at the side. When you are in middle at the side, the screen will shake while your character continues to walk in front of him.

But in conclusion, this game is good but not great. This game plays it extremely safe to introduce us to a new spin-off that is a lot of fun. But it needs a lot of polish to make the game more fun. This game might have some serious flaws but it doesn’t destroy the game and it’s still playable. But I’m going to leave it here. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. Until the next one. 🙂

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.

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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

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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