Review by ReapersDragon

"Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Disappointment"

I am A huge fan of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, more so than the main series in fact. So when I heard that Gates to Infinity was coming to 3DS, I was about as excited as I could get. After finally finishing it I was extremely disappointed. What had happened to The Mystery Dungeon That I knew and loved? Let's take a look and find out.

Story:
Any fan of the series should know how the story starts. You wake up as a Pokemon in a new world which you learn that you have to save from impending doom. You also meet another Pokemon who becomes your partner throughout your journey.

It's basically the same story as the other games in the series. (Not that it's a bad thing). It has some really good emotional moments, Interesting and likable characters, and the kind of plot twists that one would expect from a PMD game. Sure it kind of pales in comparison to the Explorers games, but then again, that is a pretty high bar. There is also a heavy emphasis on friendship and the bonds that tie people (Or Pokemon in this case.) together.

I absolutely love the characters in this game. every character has either something to contribute to the story or at very least some humorous dialogue. Each character also has their own distinct personality which develops over the course of the story.

While I don't think the story is bad by any means I was just expecting it to be better. But my complaints about that are few, what really disappointed me was the after story. While the last two entries in the series had interesting after stories that could have made their own game, this has about two extra dungeons before anything resembling a story ends. Considering that the after story was something that drew me into this series in the first place, the lack of it is extremely disappointing.

Presentation:
This game looks amazing. There are some really amazing designs in the whole Pokemon series and this games 3D graphics and art style show them at their best. It's amazing how much more emotion can be conveyed with these models than only with character portraits. Cut-scenes are now able to feature some fight scenes along with other great moments which I won't spoil here.

The music is not really that memorable to me. Once again it's not bad it just doesn't leave that much of an impression. However the classic tunes are still there so it still feels like a Mystery Dungeon game. The start menu can play music from the last few games in the series so there's some nostalgic value.

Gameplay:
So you're probably thinking that this review has been mostly positive so far so how can it be that bad? Well the gameplay is where things start to fall apart.

As in the other PMD games you control your hero from a top down point of view and navigate them through the constantly changing "mystery dungeons." As you travel through these dungeons in a turn based system you will encounter enemy Pokemon who you defeat in order to gain experience and level up. After a certain event you will be able to recruit enemies onto your own team which will then follow you through the dungeons helping you fight.

Outside of dungeons you can go to stores where you buy an sell items, unlearn and relearn moves, and even store your unneeded items and money. You are also able to talk to NPCs and change your party members from here.

I'm not going to complain that there are only 144 Pokemon in this game because I don't think it's that big a flaw. However there are a few thing that have been removed that probably shouldn't have been. For example when the game begins rather than taking a personality quiz to determine what Pokemon you will be you just select one of the five choices that they give. Removing that makes things much less personal as the personality quiz really helps to make you feel as if you are the character rather than just a person on the other side of the screen.

Another thing that was removed was the ability to take on more than one mission at a time. Taking on multiple missions was a really fun experience as you could get more rewards for your time and get better things faster. Since this was removed the game moves much slower, which isn't a good thing considering the stories pace. Massive amounts of dungeons have been replaced with DLC which you have to pay extra money in order to get. I might consider these DLC dungeons if they actually added more than just more treasure hunting. As it is it's most likely not worth your time.

Not all of the changes that have been made are bad, in fact most of them are really good. You can now select your moves by holding down the L button and pressing one of the shortcut button linked to the move you want to use. There is also a team attack which does more damage depending on how many teammates you have with you at the time. Hunger has been removed making searching for supplies much less of a hassle. IQ skills for individual Pokemon have been replaced with team skills that affect the entire team. Recruiting is easier than ever with the addition of gift items that let you instantly recruit a certain type or even a specific Pokemon. Move now have their own experience bar which will cause them to level up and become more powerful with each use. Another upside is that you no longer have to wait for the end of the game to evolve your Pokemon (barring your hero and partner). Finally the is a factor called mysteriosity that affect things that happen inside the dungeon such as changing the weather, making only one of a certain item or Pokemon appear on a certain floor, or even transporting you to a different dungeon for a few floors.

Another new addition is the Paradise area where the heroes have made their home. You can build this paradise with fields to grow more needed items, dojos to train your Pokemon's moves and even play minigames. Rewards from missions now supply you with items to help you build this up and even upgrade the buildings. Personally I can't really get into building up the Paradise but you can get some nice rewards for it.

Play Time and Replayability:
You can most likely finish this game in about 20 hours but you can continue to do missions and recruit Pokemon far into the future. There isn't much replay value unless you want to try the story with a different Pokemon.

Final Recommendation:
This is a really good game but a few flaws keep it from being truly great. I would only recommend it to diehard fans of the series or newcomers as this would be a good entry point to the series. If you are not a fan of the series there is nothing here that will change your mind.

7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/09/13

Game Release: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (US, 03/24/13)


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