Review by Yoh_of_Izumo

"With Color, Without Class"

After about a decade has passed since the release of the original Pokemon games, they have been remade, and now in detailed color. When original Pokemon fans used to play the game that was the only thing that was lacking in their opinions – if only it had color. And lo and behold, we have the remakes of the game and they are now in color, but is it the same game or has the classic remembered gameplay of the originals lost?

Unfortunately, yes. With the addition of 32-bit color, the original game that Pokemon fans loved such as being the character of the television series, experiencing the glitches of an awesome world, and enjoying a simple world have been lost in this game. I mean if they were going to destroy the entire classic setup of the game, why did they have to dispose of the defining elements, but keep pouring salt into the wounds? Technology has progressed with the release of a truly colorized portable world, but with this color comes responsibility. A game cannot just merely plaster color onto its predecessor, but needs to add specifications that make it unique for all gamers to say, this is a classic Pokemon game, and not the “ya, let's keep beating this dead horse…oh wait it's not even dead…it's a skeletal horse.”

That is how bad this game has become. While other games attempt to change with the times, such as a progressing Mario game or Zelda game changes, Pokemon stays with the exact say schematics with only fluffy color to change the equation. If it weren't for the color, all the difference would be is more Pokemon and a more mundane world to explore. It's as though after the first Harry Potter book was written she just decided to add more adjectives into the sentence to increase its length by another 100 pages. Utterly silly, but yet, Pokemon continues to follow this path of the children do not mind. And no they do not. Unfortunately unlike true gamers, young children do not understand the immaturity of such a setup and how the gaming corruption is totally milking their desire, while there are other far superior games out there. But hey, it takes a while to learn, and it is quite embarrassing once they figure out how they were so easily conned.

Nonetheless, onto the review…

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Gameplay: 5/10
Harsh for Pokemon…well it's the truth. The gameplay is simplified, but so simplified it is downright depressing. When I played Pokemon Blue on my Gameboy Color, my first game ever, it had the exact same gameplay setup as this game has today. I mean come on, when technology advances, there needs to be some change in gameplay. I mean when a person plays Super Mario Land and Super Mario 64, there have the same motives, but the gameplay is so different that had it been a different storyline, you would have never even knew that such similarities existed. In Pokemon though, despite a decade of technological advancement in portability, I get the same gameplay that I got ten years – perfect for the outdated Gameboy Original, but when a company decides to use it in future gaming, it is utterly pathetic. Let us start with one of the most important factors in a role-playing game and that is battle configurations. Well again it is simple, but so simple it does not even take an ounce of advantage of the portable system. Once again, you have the four option display, but when you wish to pull a move on a Pokemon, you are still limited to a pitiful four attack limit. They did not even increase it to five or six moves. How illogical is that? When I look at the dogma of the Pokemon world, the anime series, and see that the Pokemon are capable of delivering eight to ten moves, and my Pokemon can only choose from four moves, it is utterly crippling and saddening that despite so much advancement in the memory systems of portable gaming, Game Freak fails to take advantage of this and immerse the gamer in a world in which they connect with the anime series and gaming series. The only noteworthy difference in the battle system is that sometimes a player is given the option to have a double Pokemon battle of 2 vs. 2, which hardly adds any flavor to the game, but is merely another adjective in the same book. Enough with in-game battle gameplay and let us move to other fields in the game. Of course since this is a Pokemon game, one of your goals is to catch all of the Pokemon…some 350+ Pokemon. I mean it was enough when a person had to catch 151 Pokemon, but now 352…356…I do not know, the number keeps going up. I do not mind the ever increasing number in the Pokemon world, but when the game designers use there ever increasing greed to satisfy this goal, it is quite pathetic. In order to collect all the Pokemon in this game, you need not just the complementary game of it, LeafGreen, but also Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald, and if you really want to pour it on you could continue to advance with the mundane same world of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. I always found it a flaw in the original Pokemon games that Game Freak could play such a gimmick where if a person wanted to complete the entire Pokedex, he or she needed to trade with another user. What makes it even worse is that even if a person does manage to complete the supposedly visible Pokedex, he still lacks unknown Pokemon that can only be obtained through cheating or through a Pokemon convention. Well if you do not live in New York City or Los Angeles, you are pretty much out of luck unless your parents are willing to spend a $1000 on you just to send you over to get the 4 or 5 Pokemon that are unattainable…it is sad and ludicrous. And if you found that funny, this remake grinds you even worse after taking out the clear classic glitches of missingno and ‘m'. That is what made the game so worth while. Friends could battle each other on the equal level 100 and worry more about skill than of level or cheats. But nonetheless, I understand that removal, but why must the display continue to be from the boring birds eye view. With such leaps in technology, surely some camera panning could add more flavors to the gameplay experience. Nonetheless I am utterly disappointed with this remake, and even though it was a game I imagined when I first played Pokemon Blue almost a decade ago, had I known back then what I know now, I would not have been as yearning. The gameplay lacks innovation, the simplicity is depressing, and any additions such as HMs and TMs and the ever so often berry bush and contests are only superficial when it comes to the heart of the true Pokemon world. If only Pokemon could imitate the gameplay action that is seen in the anime series, it could definitely earn a place in my list of classics, but as it continues to dwell on its past successes, it only continues to feel me with distain about its development.

Story: 3/10
Haha, just because it was a remake, you think I was going to give it the exact same score as the originals? Well, definitely not. The story is the same in the sense that you collect Pokemon, level up, defeat the eight gym leaders, conquer the Elite Four, and become Pokemon Champion and master, but as a remake, I wanted it to live up to that ideal “a remake.” It however destroys that essence, because even though as a player, you start off in the good old land of Pallet Town, you are not Ash Ketchum any more and your rival is no longer Gary. And without that connection between the television episodes and the game, it totally destroys my drive to go through a storyline that just lacks in connection. It is empty and meaningless, and when I defeat the Elite Four, it is not the same as had Ash defeated the Elite Four, because then I know that as it would be in the anime series but is not yet, it would bring closure to the epic long anime series. The great feelings of connecting to the show such as defeating Brock in Pewter City, crushing Misty in Cerulean City, and defeating Giovanni and his gang of Team Rocket thugs is lacking and it hurts to see how the classic original has been butchered and not improved upon. It is an utter failure, and still makes me wonder how Pokemon could be one of the best selling most popular games out there, when the quality of gaming is mediocre and banal. The only hope that I see for a noteworthy storyline in the game is to continue to mirror the Pokemon series and not try to make games that storylines do not seem to correlate at all with the anime series. I hardly see a Pokemon episode anymore, but I still see Ash and his Pikachu along with his companions and the ever lurking Team Rocket. I do not see some person I have no clue is, and wish not to form a connection with a made up character if that made up character is a made up character that does not even exist in a cartoon episode that is in a made up world. It is pathetic that the gaming corporation wishes to water the game down to such an extent. Oh sure, they added a few islands to the game, but what difference does that make. I wanted the original and I wanted it to be improved upon, and instead I got a game that claimed to be a remake of the original, but instead got a perverted version of it.

Graphics: 5/10
Now of course, the graphics are the exact same as those of the original with only color added to them. Well you know what? Color is not enough for a game when the game is capable of producing Pokemon Stadium-like graphics during a battle scene, and that is wait Pokemon FireRed failed to deliver upon. Of the things that could have hurt the graphics score, this is the one that totally annihilated it. I expected the color yes, but then I expected the technological innovation of a game that could port Pokemon Stadium if it wanted to. But no, I didn't even get that. The battle setup is the exact same with only color and an experience bar to show when your Pokemon is about to level up. What is worse is that the moves are as cheesy as ever with some actually that have regressed from their previous original game. What I point to is moves such as Thunder where it was most likely my most favorite move in the original Pokemon games, but is actually watered down in this game to some blah experience. When I see other role-playing games of the Gameboy Advance era such as Golden Sun capable of having spectacular battle scenes on such a little screen and then I have to witness this mundane and spectacular-less battle scene in the Pokemon world, it just makes you wonder why. I mean I can understand that there are no summons in the Pokemon world, but please, change the battle scene setup. I mean, I can make a role-playing game with better graphics and move sets on my own computer thanks to RPG Maker, than can this game ever deliver. Unfortunately, change my take longer than expected as even though I dislike the graphics heartily, people continue to buy the game and continue to make Pokemon's fad popularity sore, and until such slows and falls, change is not something Game Freak will even consider to make.

Sound: 7/10
Eh…sound quality is the same as it was for Pokemon Sapphire, Pokemon Ruby, and Pokemon Emerald. After a while it starts to get tiring and most people will turn down the volume or turn off the sound completely not only to conserve battery power, but also to preserve their ears from the prosaic sounds that issue forth from the speaker of the Gameboy. When I look back at the music from the original Pokemon games and listen to the music of the current generation, I will admit that it has improved, but in retrospect to other Gameboy Advance role-playing game music, it is only average and could drastically be improved. They say quality over quality. Well even though it lacks the quantity, because the same music can be heard in basically every scene, it lacks the quality, because it is obviously so synthesized it hurts the ears. I mean is it really necessary to only have one world-music exploration track, couldn't they have at least made two or three to make exploring the world a more enjoyable experience? Well, no, they did not, but at least the sound aspect of the game, is one of its best aspects.

Replayability: 5/10
The game of course lasts longer than the original games where it was possible to breeze through the game in one sitting if done properly, but it just lacks in replayable content. The fact that it fails to deliver forth the classics of the originals to a higher step, totally knocks the stuffing out of the replay factor. If there were one thing that saved it from an utterly bottomless score it would be the fact that players can link in multiplayer battle to try out their parties with each other. Though it is necessary to find a friend with a complementary game and with a link cable, if such objectives can be fulfilled, you can enjoy increased game life. Not only does this add flavor to the game, but also the fact that some Pokemon can only be gained through trade-evolution also requires camaraderie between friends. Unfortunately though, with those limiting factors that are needed for multiplayer encounters, chances like such are far and few between. Of all my encounters with other people with the Pokemon game, I can say there might have been about ten to fifteen times where I could have linked with them and battled and traded. That is only about once every year where such an event arises, and even then, usually older players are ashamed to play an immature game that has failed to mature over the passing years. Would I replay this game again, no. But to a fledging Pokemon gamer, it is a game that could prove interesting a few more times through.

CONCLUSION
Using my rating system for Gameboy Advance RPGs:
20% Gameplay, 30% Story, 20% Graphics, 7.5% Sound, 22.5% Replayability

Overall Game Rating: 4.55

OVERALL RATING: 5/10
Suggested Action: Do not rent and do not buy, not worth a person's time.


Final Comments: This game is a disgrace to the Pokemon series, and I sincerely wish that the game creators would learn that its quality over quantity. Instead of trying to release the exact same game ever 2 years, why do they not actually spend 4 or 5 years and actually make something decent, in which all people will look at it and not snicker at the young innocent child who cannot tell a decent game from an utterly disgraceful game. Will Pokemon continue to just release dud games in my opinion? Well we'll see. I continue to try these games, and now I am prepared. I am prepared for utter garbage, but what makes this good, is that when Pokemon actually makes a game that is not truly rubbish, I will enjoy every minute of it. Will it take another ten years before Pokemon finally changes its tune…well, we'll see. Other than that, I request that you do not even try to play a few minutes of this game in the store, because to be even seen trying to waste your time with such a game, is just wasting your time when you could be trying other games that are far superior to it.

Fin


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/07


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