Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Review No. 56 Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver - DS (3+)

Strong Points:
Two regions
16 badges
Lots of things to do
Pokéathlon is amazing
Lots of Pokéballs
Loads of nostalgia
Pokégear is great
The Battle Frontier is still here

Weak points:
The Pokéwalker isn't great
Storyline is weaker than other Pokémon games
The Victory Road is poor
Not the best rival ever

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
Japan: September 12, 2009
North America: March 14, 2010
Australia: March 25, 2010
Europe: March 26, 2010

D-Pad: move player
A: select command
B (hold): run
Y: Key Item
X: menu

This game has so much in it I'm surprised it doesn't explode. Combine this with the nostalgia of playing through two of the best Pokémon games ever made and you get... Well a pretty amazing game.

While the premise of collecting, and battling with Pokémon in order to defeat gyms and get badges is nothing new there are a lot of them in this game. 493 Pokémon, 16 gym badges and 2 regions to explore, this game is massive. Add the Pokéathlon (a Pokémon Olympics in which you take part in 10 mini games), a bug catching contest, the Battle Frontier, a myriad of Pokéballs among many other things and you'll never finish playing this game.

As I have already said, the Pokéathlon is great and easily one of the best Pokémon mini games in the series, up there with the Pokéstar studios and the Pokémon Contests. In it, you choose three Pokémon which you use to compete in a variety of mini games, from brick breaking to hurdles. Every Pokémon has different stats which you can upgrade with Apricorns and which correspond with different events. The reward system of this minigame is what really sets it apart though. As you go through it you can beat records set by the game and make it through four rooms to the Hall of Fame. While you do this your Pokémon earn medals for completing various things.

Once great thing about this game is that you complete the main story like normal by defeating the Pokémon League and are just congratulating yourself for a job well done when you find out that there is a whole other region to explore and another 8 badges to collect. Now if only I could go to three regions.
Another cool thing is the ability to create certain Pokéballs using Apricorns that you find around the Pokémon world. While relatively short in comparison with the rest of extras in the game it's still a nice little thing. Another nice little thing is the bug catching competition where you are given a certain amount of time in order to catch the biggest bug Pokémon.

But there was a bad point to the game that came in the aspect of an add on, the Pokéwalker. In theory, this was an amazing concept, walk around and your Pokémon level up. There were, however, a few problems with it. One was that you could only hold one Pokémon on your Pokéwalker at a tie and they could only level up once before you had to transfer it back to your game. The other problem was one that plagues most pedometers so I guess it's not just the Pokéwalkers fault, it was the fact that it didn't always register your steps. There was an almost saving grace to the Pokéwalker, though, the ability to find items and catch Pokémon through the use of the device, enabling easy capture of rare or exclusive Pokémon. The 3DS's pedometer will work better though and so I would like to see it implemented again.

The only other things wrong with the game was that the Victory Road was easy (no trainers you see) and that your rival was annoying but other than that the game is amazing.

Overall: this game is a great addition to the Pokémon series and shows that remakes, for Pokémon, at least, generally works really well. An Emerald remake next then. 

Rating: 96%

Goodbye for now, Harry

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