Review by vy2012

"The Johto region has changed 10+ years ago with innovative features."

Just after one month after I have purchased Pokemon Platinum, I surf the web of serebii.net and found that two new games were set to release in March 14, 2010. I was caught surprised and it is no doubt that these new games will be the remakes of Gold and Silver. I was feeling overhyped and exhibit my lack of educational habits until I control myself. When the day reached the day of the release Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver, I quickly bought the physical copy of Pokemon HeartGold Version. I was happy to say that I, without a doubt, enjoyed the game and it was worth more than the money the game stores charges me. Game Freak and The Pokemon Company became innovative by taking a step to the past to create a remake of the previous series.

Game Play:

The biggest feature for HGSS is that any Pokemon can follow you just like when Pikachu follows you in Yellow, a huge welcome overall! Your Pokemon expresses feelings towards you; your Pokemon can react to weather conditions and after a Pokemon battle.

The controls for this game are simply easy. The top screen maintains the traditional format of every Pokemon game: battle screen and hub screen. Control pads maneuver you four directions although it would be cool if there's a feature to walk diagonally. Start button, I meant X button for the DS, opens up the menu and the select button…is replaced by the Y button , which is used for a registered key item.

For the touch screen, there is not a bad thing to exhibit. The menu is on the touch screen as well as two registered key items. You no longer need to hold the B button in order to run; the touch screen takes care of it all. You could also find use of the itemfinder, a welcoming return from the originals. You can track items that couldn't be seen normally; if the device turns brighter with the signal dot, you can be sure that it is there. The item finder is designed like a graph paper. Each unit counts as a tile; you can count of how many steps it takes to get there.

The touch screen is also used for the Pokegear, a familiar key item for Gold, Silver, & Crystal. A feature of the Pokegear is that you can call various trainers and gym leaders for a rematch; you have to call at the right time, however. At the right time that particular trainer who you been looking for has duration for four hours for example. You can rebattle those trainers unlimited times for duration for four hours. This is solid training that you can take advantage of as well as Effort Value training. Another feature of the Pokegear is the town map; additionally you can take notes of a particular town with a phrase. You also have the ability to change the decoration of the Pokegear. Outside of Pokegear, you can even ignore phone calls by doing whatever else that stop the ringing (unless you're forced to listen) i.e. entering a building, encounter a wild Pokemon, etc. The improvement of the Pokegear is that you can store unlimited phone calls as well as being permanently there without deletion. And finally, you can even look at the clock on the top screen of the Pokegear should you not physically have a watch.

The Pokedex, team, items, trainer card, and options is focused on the touch screen as opposed to the top screen; you can scroll faster than usual for a Pokedex and you can arrange items easier.

While the touch screen is used productively on remaking a game in a new console, do not expect this game to have the same features like Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. Even if the Poketch is removed, it may be disappointing but does not destroy the gameplay of the remake at all.

Story:

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver take it to the next level by recycling the entire story that is nearly identical to Pokemon Crystal. The pattern for all Pokemon versions and for this game is, however, the same; you start as a rookie trainer in your hometown and shortly after you receive one of three Pokemon that the professor gave you. You were given a Pokedex in order to catch every Pokemon there is in the world. You travel through the region by going through every town and cities to challenge gym leaders, save the world by a criminal organization, and become the exclusive world champion. Sound familiar?

Graphics/Sound:

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver have remixes that is recycled from Gold, Silver, & Crystal but with more enhanced sound quality. The graphics are very colorful and well designed just like Platinum. Some buildings are designed as if we were in China (500+ years ago) with autumn leaves and a beautiful sunset coloration. Trainer class sprites and their quotes and dialogues are reasonable as well. There is a few cutscenes that majestically shows a particular Pokemon. There is reasonable background for every location, especially the Pokemon League and every gym buildings.

Difficulty:

For those who are new to any Pokemon games and its battle mechanics, trainers use their own Pokemon to battle wild Pokemon and other trainer's Pokemon to win, and in doing so raises Experience Points in order to level up their Pokemon. Some Pokemon evolve when they reach a certain level or if it is traded. On the other hand, if one of your Pokemon is knocked out, it will be unable to battle. If all of your team is knocked out, you lose some of your money and will be teleported to a Pokemon Center. A Pokemon learn up to 4 moves and each move has one of 17 different types. These moves can damage your opponent's Pokemon, give your opponent's Pokemon special conditions, recover your Pokemon, increase your Pokemon's stats, or affecting the battlefield. When you win a Pokemon battle against a trainer, you earn prize money.

The levels for each Pokemon trainer and gym leaders are the same as the original. The level curve is low fairly easy. This should not be taken lightly, however; you have to train tremendously hard as well as being knowledgeable about type matchups in order to ensure success. Due to low levels of wild Pokemon, training would take about twice the amount of time than on Platinum. The CPU is slightly easier than on Platinum until you finished the story. The CPU, then, is terribly aggressive on the post-story (spamming powerful moves against you and frequently using recovery items), so you have to watch out for that. The more aggressive the CPU is, the more Experience Points you gain as well as easier level ups. This game is not hard, but it's not easy either.

Replay Value:

The time it takes to beat Pokemon HGSS is very short; I've tried playing blindly with traded Pokemon from other regions and win every battle without hurting my own team. As a “flawless victory”, it would take around 12-14 hours to become the Champion while ignoring other minigames.

Even after you beat the main storyline and even the post-story, your journey is far from over. There are several features to have fun with.

Pokemon bug-catching contest makes a welcome to the remake. You have 20 minutes to find a strong bug Pokemon there is in the area. This minigame gives you rewards i.e. hold items and evolutionary stones.

A new minigame feature is the Pokethlon, a somewhat sport facilitated Olympics for Pokemon. This minigame give you five categories (power, stamina, speed, skill, and jump); you select 3 Pokemon from your entire stock (your party and PC) to participate in one of five categories. You earn prizes regardless of position; even if you do poorly in a category, you can still earn athlete points (AP) so that you can exchange these points for a helpful item, evolutionary stones, and even gold picked up from nowhere. Just like Pokemon Contests, you give your Pokemon aprijuice, which temporally improves your Pokemon's performance. To make aprijuice, you must put apricorn in the bottle (which is originally used to craft different Poke Balls) and walk for a short while. Overall, I enjoyed this minigame and spent most of my time than training. Finally, this minigame requires you to have flexible wrists as this minigame is based on using the stylus so that you can perform well on this minigame.

Pal Park is introduced in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl and is used to migrate Pokemon from Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red, and Leaf Green versions from their regions. This is a great way to fill up the Pokedex as well as having your originals in this game. This minigame requires you to find 6 Pokemon that you have selected from your GBA. There is no time limit, fortunately; the shorter time it takes to catch all 6, the more points you receive and these points give you rewards. Hidden Machine Surf is required, however, if you are searching for water Pokemon. Overall, this is the “catch em all” phrase of Pokemon.

Safari Zone also makes a return as well. There is no step limit and you still have to pay fees to enter and start with 30 Safari Balls. It also has the feature to set up decorations, just like Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald's secret bases. These decorations affect which Pokemon will come out. During capture, you stand with only the wild Pokemon (you can't use yours) and you can only throw bait or throw a rock. That feature is also enjoyable.

Finally, you can rebattle countless times with registered trainers by using your Pokegear and find unseen legendary Pokemon while you stack with Poke Balls.

Wireless Compatibility:

Higher technologies mean that anyone can battle, trade, and chat anytime via Wi-Fi. The Global Trading Station provides a trading experience around the world. Also, the Pokemon Center downstairs also has fun Wi-Fi to play with. For multiplayer purposes, you can battle, trade, participate in Pokethlon, and view other people's safari zones. To enjoy the most of wireless communications, make sure your signal is strong and you should have an AC adapter and an electrical outlet to prevent the battery from dying as well as any data that would have been lost should you not be careful.

The Pokewalker Accessory:

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver came with a peripheral device called the Pokewalker. As the name implies, it is a round object shaped like a Poke Ball and it is treated as a pedometer in real life. You need one Pokemon from your PC to be sent wirelessly to the device. You can find wild Pokemon and items even if you're not playing your Nintendo DS. You can store up to 3 Pokemon, 3 own items, and up to 10 gifts. In addition, each step counts as an experience point (1.5 EXP Pts if the Pokemon is traded) and watts will be accumulated during your hard earned steps. Your Pokemon, however, can level up only once and ignores any new moves that would've learned (i.e. Chikorita's razor leaf at Lv. 6). Once you connect again to the actual HGSS version, you can get gifts that you earned from your Pokewalker (i.e. Pokemon, items, gifts, and watts [which unlocks a location of the Pokewalker]). It is very handy indeed.

Overall:

This game is definitely in the most wanted games list. Although this game is almost perfect as Platinum, I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to experience the remakes or to anyone who lost their physical Gold, Silver, and Crystal copies. Good interaction, replayability, and gameplay results in a strong, positive motivation to keep playing this game. I will never forget these memories of the original series and their remakes.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/12

Game Release: Pokemon HeartGold Version (US, 03/14/10)


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