Review by BlueEyes15243

"interesting spinnoff gets an interesting sequel."

So we have Pokemon Ranger, a severe lack of money and job and no other interesting games forced me into playing this, that and it came with Manaphy. Now we have an apparent sequel to a game that only had my attention because their wasn't anything else worth playing and drawing circles around Pokemon seemed like fun at the time. After finding out you could only get one Manaphy I sold it. Now we have Shadows of Almia, it's apparent sequel. There have been little but needed, changes to this game, the graphics are nice, the story is so-so and the characters... Well OK the characters can dive under a tractor for all I really care, none of them will really help other then to sometimes do all the dialogue considering your character is apparently a mute male or female.

Graphics: 9
Yes, a 9, a 9 for not even trying just like Tecmo and their bronze classic; Tecmo Bowl Kickoff. Games that try fail, games that don't try succeed. As said in my Tecmo Bowl Kickoff review, and mostly all my other DS game reviews, I'm not looking for good graphics in 3D because the developers never actually try unless it's Nintendo and henceforth I've quit looking for good graphics in DS games. The sprites for the Pokemon are OK, little hard to see if it's a smaller Pokemon, the people so far have different sprites but I haven't really looked mainly because if it's not something I can draw circles around I don't care about.

Story: 6
Basically you start out as some student at a Ranger school, you go through some captures, learn the ropes, and get to go on one mission to choose your partner Pokemon. After graduation you get assigned to a squad and get to take on missions and quests and such. You also find a group of bad guys known as Dim Sum, or Dum Sun I forgot, their all equally thick-headed and have the I.Q score of a stone. Dum Suns lone mission is to make all Pokemon obey only them, so yeah the original Team Rockets plan hasn't changed in the past twelve years and has continually been ripped off by every major bad guy of the main games and spin-offs.... Except for Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, it's the one series of games Giovanni can't point and laugh at the main villain for losing because the main villain had other plans, which pretty much means the dumbest of Pokemon can come up with better ideas then some of the idiotic Dum Sun or Team Galactic leaders could have in their tiny lifespan.

Game-play: 5
So yeah, the major part of the game is basically drawing circles around Pokemon. Drawing into the Pokemon breaks the chain, coming in contact with the Pokemons attack breaks the chain and you take damage, lifting the stylus of the touch screen breaks the chain. In the last game all of the above became extremely hard for you to do because whenever you broke your chain you would have to try again, in this game every time you circle a Pokemon the gouge above the Pokemon fills, once its full you've captured a Pokemon, letting the styler idle the gouge empties. Simple enough right? So that Charizard in the last game would have probably been a lot easier considering you had to circle it about a thousand times and if your chain broke you would have to do it all over again. In this keeping the gouge from depleting is much easier. One huge change is you get to keep the Pokemon you capture until you use them; I still have a Blastoise I caught from a while ago.

Sound: 4
It must be horrid because I don't remember listening to it. Actually I did listen to some of it, it mostly sounds like the composer for Legend of Zelda has done the music for this game because every time I heard the commercial for it at work I kept thinking Zelda. Either way it didn't stop me from turning the music off while I played.

Final Thoughts: 5
So yeah, Darkrai, Manaphy Egg and Roilu being the only real reason I bought this game and the fact it was on sale for 25$ a little while ago. Drawing circles around Pokemon sounds fun but really, your fooling no one, the only reason most people bought this was for the extra content for Diamond and Pearl, and later Platinum. The new additions where probably nice additions but it still feels like work then actual fun and it'll probably end up in the same place as the last Pokemon Ranger: Gamestop.

By itself a decent game, put in the same league as Mystery Dungeon and other spin-offs and you would probably come out with about a box filled with old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and a condom. The only real use for this game is the extra missions you could get off WiFi that allow you to transfer a Manaphy Egg, a Darkrai and a Roilu to Diamond, Pearl, and later, Platinum. Once your actually done with this game you'll probably not want to replay it and you only get one Darkrai/Manaphy Egg to make your storage system in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum look even more untidy. So unless you have those two you're probably not gonna want to buy this. If you love Pokemon then you might enjoy it. If your not a fan, then I don't know, go back to Gears of War?

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 01/28/09, Updated 01/29/09

Game Release: Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (US, 11/10/08)

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