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Old 03-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pokemon HeartGold (DS) Review

Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo
Engine: Heavily modified Pokemon Platinum engine
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Release Date: March 14, 2010 (NA) (Pokemon: SoulSilver Alternative Version)
Modes: Single, Multiplayer

Team Rocket Returns, Just As To-the-Point As Ever

Pokemon has changed a lot since its debut in 1998 with the release of Pokemon Red and Blue for the original Game Boy; I’m sure many of us have fond memories of playing the games. The series expanded dramatically with the release of Pokemon Gold, Silver, and later, Crystal. But let’s focus on the first two of the three. Gold and Silver not only introduced 100 new Pokemon, in addition to the original 151, but a slew of other features. Most notably, the time feature, which allowed certain Pokemon to be caught at specific times of the day. This, of course, has been implemented in several following Pokemon games, as well as the ‘traveling legendary’ aspect, where the legendary trio of a game travel around the continent, randomly, and you must use a map to track them, specialized Pokeballs, and two new types of Pokemon.

But let’s not linger on the past, shall we? This game is a second generation Pokemon game in a fourth generation shell. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl’s looks, and additional Pokemon, mixed together with the game described in the above paragraph. It brings in some new stuff as well, but let’s save that for later.

Battles Look Their Nicest, Yet Retain Their Classic Feel

You start out the game very much the same way any traditional Pokemon game starts out; in a small town, usually with about 3 or four houses, and a Pokemon lab. This lab, run by a professor, gives you a grass, water, or fire starter Pokemon to start your journey, and you run through, collecting eight badges from gym leaders who each train with only one type of Pokemon. At the end, you beat the Elite Four, and you’re free to go. What makes HeartGold and SoulSilver (Along with the originals, of course) unique from other games in the series is the addition of Kanto to the game, only available after you beat the Elite Four. Kanto is the region of the Pokemon world first appearing in Red and Blue. Johto is the region explored for the first half of HG and SS.

But how does the game compare? I’ll be blunt. It’s pretty damn well made. It looks good, sounds good, and, above all, it’s still just as addicting as the other Pokemon games. You’ll be spending hours training your Pokemon, catching Pokemon, and maybe even participating in the extra, non-battle sections of the game. I’m talking about the Pokeathlon. Think of it as a Pokelympics; Pokemon are given a rating in several areas; Speed, Power, Skill, etc. You compete in several touch screen minigames, similar to Mario Party or Wario Ware, and earn points based on your performance. These points accumulate, and of course, you can use these points for buying items. Similar concepts have appeared in earlier games. But, it is nice to have this as an alternative to battling.

You'll Come to Hate This Screen

Of course, I’m sure most of you are wanting to know about the Pokewalker. Game Freak sure is original at naming these new additions to the franchise; Pokeathlon, Pokewalker… Anyway, the Pokewalker is about the size of the face of a watch, maybe just a little bigger, so it’s very small, and can easily fit in your pocket, or attach to your belt, using the included clip. One thing I hate about the clip is the fact you need a screwdriver to remove the backing of the Pokewalker, then screw the backing with the clip onto it; I’m sure it could have been way easier to just make it attachable by some other means. But it’s pretty sturdy, as far as I can tell; it’s survived several trips in my pocket, and the occasional drop. It still looks fine. The software inside is pretty cool as well; it keeps track of your steps, of course, because above everything, it’s a pedometer. For every 20 steps you take, you get one watt. 3 watts allow the use of the dowsing machine, which is basically the shell game, where you get two chances to pick a patch of grass, one having a hidden item in it. Simple. The other is a battle system. After selecting the patch of grass the Pokemon is hidden in several times, you are taken to a battle screen, which gives you 3 options; Attack, Evade, and Catch. You and the opponent are given 4 sections of health. It’s simple, and easy to be used to. Connecting to the Pokewalker actually depends on the game cartridge, and not the system, using infrared technology, so unless you place both on a flat, stable surface just perfectly, the connecting will screw up and fail. It’s really annoying, and my largest beef with the Pokewalker. While I don’t see the Pokewalker necessary, it is a nice little toy to have with you.

What They Say Is True; ANY Pokemon Can Follow You. Now, I Need to Find a Wailord...

Overall, I think this game is a welcome addition to the franchise. It brings together a lot of old and new concepts, to make a traditional formula work in a newer, shiner, and smoother case. Although there may be a few slight hiccups in terms of graphics (Like lines of pixels forming around the screen at random), this game looks good, sounds good, and plays great. If you love Pokemon, and have played the originals, I suggest you buy this game.

Gameplay: 9
Controls: 9
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Replay Value: 10 (Or, Near ∞)
Final Score: 9


Last edited by SuperQ; 03-24-2010 at 02:23 AM..
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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