Review by zoradude

"I don't get all the hate, this game is a keeper!"

The Pokemon world has had its spinoffs forever and I will admit a lot of them have sucked. But they have always been based off rip off games such as Pokemon Puzzle League being another puzzle game and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon being a dungeon crawler. This is the first Pokemon that is truly a genre of its own. I loved every second I spent playing it. I will never regret the money I payed for this.

Story - 3/10
I will start with the only real downfall of the game. The story is... How shall I word this. Horrible. Downright horrid. You come to the Fiore region, which in general is a nice region. Four towns, each one based off season of the year. You are a young Boy/Girl with hopes of becoming a full fledged Pokemon Ranger. This region is highly different from any you will run into in the large Pokemon world. People don't use Pokemon to fight here, they are pets and companions. So the whole theme of the world is 'peace and serenity'. But the Go-Rock Squad (Oh my!) has different plans. They are after some legendary Pokemon for world domination or something blah blah blah. Its recycled from other Pokemon games so its nothing new, or really exciting. Also I hate How the Grunts in this game look. Its really annoying.

Now all you see is great hatred, correct? Well why did I give it a 3/10 you ask? Sounds more like a 0? Well do let me explain.

The dialogue for the game is ingenious at some points. I found myself laughing quite a bit at some of the characters. No other Pokemon game has had such deep and hilarious characters as this game. The trio of 4 that play instruments is priceless. They are some of my favorite characters for any video game.

Gameplay - 10/10
This game uses the DS's touch screen for what it should be used for in a game, and it makes for a truly fun filled experience for the whole game. You can literally control every last thing in the game with the touch screen. There is never a need to hold the DS's stylus in your hand uncomfortably while trying to go through menus or run through a town with the D-pad.

Battles in this game are like none seen before in other Pokemon games. You take control of a Newbie Pokemon Ranger and with your Pokemon-capturing-device called a styler you run around catching wild Pokemon to help you clear obstacles and such. Battles take place on the bottom screen in a backdrop from the zone you are currently in. Battles are simple, you use your stylus 'the styler' to capture draw lines around the Pokemon until you capture them. The number of lines required to capture the Pokemon is based on how strong it is (for example, a Charizard will be harder to catch then a Charmander). All the Pokemon contain boss like qualities from platforming games. They have a cycle they follow so it is your job to memorize this cycle and counter it before they execute it. Now this sounds easy for sure, but when multiple Pokemon get thrown on the board, it can be hard. You can have lots of Pokemon in one battle, though the average will have 3 or 4. Also the Pokemon you catch are not useless, so you don't always feel like you are catching them for no reason. They are used for two things. First and foremost you can use them for different effects in battle. Electric Pokemon can restore energy to your styler when your almost dead, poison Pokemon can confuse opponents and psychic Pokemon can cause them float in the air, stunned, for a short while. This adds a great twist to the game seeing as some Pokemon are close to impossible to stop without the assistance of other Pokemon. The other use for Pokemon in the game is explained in the next paragraph.

Now, out of battle the game offers a few fun and exciting things, but also has a minor downfall. First to explain out of battles a bit. The whole point of the game is to walk around and capture various Pokemon to do certain tasks for you. A Pokemon with sharp claws can destroy a small wooden fence, a fire Pokemon can burn a log in the middle of the road, and so on. To further complicate this and add some challenge, some Pokemon can not remove certain obstacles based on their evolution. For example a Torchic can burn a small log away for you to continue on your path, but he is not strong enough to burn a much larger log, and you must look for a stronger fire Pokemon to do the job.

Now the one minor flaw with the game is the major backtracking involved. You will find yourself going around in circles time after time just to get one Pokemon to take care of a mess. A great example is a cave in the game that must be cleared by using a Hariyama to clear the rocks. After you clear one you must go backtrack to catch 2 more to clear the other rocks in the place. Things like this are abundant in the game and get annoying. Also along with backtracking something else to note with the game is the incredible linear feel it has to it. The majority of the game you are going on missions, and there is not much to any free roaming to be done.

Graphics - 10/10
Brilliant, simply brilliant for a 2D Pokemon game. There is nothing I could complain about. The people look like people instead of small legologs as in other Pokemon games and the Pokemon all have vibrant animations that never get old. The landscapes are wonderful to look at and nothing seems overused and repetitive in the game at all. I for one love just walking around in the game's environment. Its quite a refreshing experience from previous Pokemon games.

Sound - 7/10
Nothing to special here, nothing to horrible. Some tunes are great, some are really annoying. I give it an 'average' for its soundtrack.

Conclusion and other things
First and foremost, DO NOT BY ANY MEANS BY THIS GAME USED IF YOU JUST WANT IT FOR THE MANAPHY EGG. Chances are if you buy this game used just for the Manaphy egg, you are screwing yourself over. Upon beating the game it does some sort of hardsave that you can never recover, even by deleting the game. Basically each cartridge only has one Manaphy on it. The chances of a used one being gone are high.

Now that aside I highly suggest any Pokemon fan to get this game, its a great addition to our ever growing Pokemon library. I also suggest this game to anyone who is looking for a game that makes great use of the DS's touchscreen. You will not be disappointed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/09/07

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