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Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver

2 Ratings: 3.5
A remake of the classic Gameboy Color games on the Nintendo DS

   Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are enhanced remakes of the 1999 video games, Pokémon Gold and Silver. The new titles are members of the Pokémon series of role-playing games, and were developed by Game Freak and published … see full wiki

Tags: Video Games, Nintendo Ds, Pokemon, Soulsilver, Heartgold
Console: Nintendo DS
Genre: RPG
Release Date: 14 March 2010 in USA
1 review about Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver

Gotta Catch 'Em All... Again.

  • Mar 26, 2010
  • by
The year was 2000 and I had just turned fourteen years old.  At the time the Pokemon Craze was still going strong (much stronger than it does today) and for my birthday I received Pokemon Gold.  As far as I was concerned, Pokemon has never had a better iteration in the series.  As far as I'm concerned, Pokemon got just a little over excited with itself over time.  And while I've enjoyed installments since then none seem to really catch on to the charm that Pokemon had in those days before Ruby/Sapphire came around.  That includes the newly released Diamond/Pearl/Platinum.

When Pokemon first began in the mid 90's (for Japan, late 90's elsewhere) it was quite a craze.  I remember being in middle school where everyone brought a gameboy to school just to play against one another, trade and compare Pokemon.  When Pokemon Gold/Silver came around (in my final year, that is) it went about the same way.  I still enjoy Pokemon a great deal.  Unfortunately the series as a whole hasn't aged over the years.  I was happy to get my hands on Heart Gold (of course I went with Gold).  I still play the original Gold a great deal.  It's strangely addictive.

Heart Gold and Soul Silver are, for the most part, faithful reincarnations.  There are a couple of additions added to the Nintendo DS to modernize the game ("modernize" for Pokemon just means, "Another way to do the same shit we've been doing for fifteen years") and bring it up-to-date (which again just means, "Another way to do the same shit we've been doing for fifteen years"). 

Pokemon has never been about story and whatnot.  If you're still complaining about Pokemon's lack of a good story, you haven't been paying attention to the series ever.  Pokemon has never been much of a story driven game.  Even for an RPG.  It's always been cut and dry and lacking emotion.  No one in their right mind would play Pokemon expecting say... Final Fantasy or Metal Gear or something.  Pokemon has always been about gameplay, and Heart Gold and Soul Silver keep that in tact.  Unfortunately there are other areas in which maybe more of an update might've been welcome.  We'll get to that.

By now most of you know what you get when you play a Pokemon game.  You'll begin choosing a starter while a rival chooses the Pokemon with the type advantage over you.  As you play through the game your goal is to catch as many Pokemon as you can, become a Pokemon master, best your rival and, of course, stop some incarnation of Team Rocket whose goal usually involves kidnapping Pokemon.  No, Pokemon has never been something to take seriously.  If you had a pet cat and saw a guy robbing a bank with his pet fish (because you'd totally take your pet fish to a bank robbery) you damn well know he isn't going to stop his crime just because your cat can bitch slap him a pet fight.  In the world of Pokemon, you besting the Pokemon Team Rocket has will always make them stop their plans.  "Oh no," the leader cries, "a kid's pet rat kicked my pet dragon's ass!  I could just kick his pet and bitch slap the kid, but goddamn it, that would be too easy!  You win this one pathetic kid who can't talk!  But I'll be back with another pet!  To rob another bank!  BWAHAHAHAHA!"  Okay, that exchange isn't actually in the game, but I sure wish someone would make a satire as a game with this kind of mockery.  It would be incredible.

With that in mind, let's talk about the gameplay of Pokemon.  You can berate me for just HAVING to joke about it later.  Pokemon hands you several different Pokemon, each with its own "type."  The system is actually very simple in the long run.  Pokemon has always relied on a Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic.  There are hundreds of Pokemon.  Each one of them has a "type".  They are ALWAYS stronger than one type and weak to another.  For example, Fire has a type advantage over grass, but are susceptible to water type Pokemon.  It works in such a way that you can't constantly use the same Pokemon for every situation.  Every Pokemon is susceptible to weaknesses.  The game works in a way that rather than having a "party" like in most RPGs, you can only send one Pokemon into battle at a time while you can keep five others in reserve.  You can switch to them any time the battle is going sour.  The way Pokemon is set up it makes so that you'll want a variety of different Pokemon.  With so many to choose from you'll find a favorite.  But it also means there are a variety of so called "perfect" teams.

In battle you exchange blows with a particular Pokemon.  The battling in Pokemon is strangely strategic.  Yet it does have its own little downside that Pokemon has had pretty much since it started.  Battling is fun, but it has never been easy on the eyes.  It probably never will be easy on the eyes.  Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver definitely look better than their original counterparts, but graphically Pokemon has never been something that made good use of the technology it is on.  It doesn't make the game less fun, but you do wonder from time to time why Pokemon games never look or flow as awesomely as other games.  There are some bright colors abound but it really doesn't look that different than anything you saw on the Gameboy Advance.  

The biggest thing you'll notice is in battle.  For fifteen years, Pokemon has done the same thing with it's battle system time and time again.  There just aren't that many animations or anything.  You see over the shoulder of your Pokemon, looking at another Pokemon.  You don't see a lot of fluid animations in battle.  In fact, they stand still.  When they attack they usually do just a flinch.  It's a wonder why battles can't be livlier on the Nintendo DS.  The engine is exactly the same as they've been using for over a decade.  On the original Gameboy it's fine... but this isn't the original Gameboy.  This is the Nintendo DS.  Just the same, while some of the music is well updated, the sound effects are still the same old sound effects we've heard from the original gameboy.  They were annoying then and they're still annoying.  More than that, it's a piece of Pokemon that would do well to age eventually.  In terms of technical prowess, Pokemon was never much for that.  But as the years go on, it actually becomes quite sad to see as Pokemon doesn't seem to improve.  The old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," certainly applies to all things... including Pokemon.  But just because it was never "broken" doesn't mean it never needed improvement.  You'll still get a lot of fun out of Pokemon.  In fact, it can be addictive.  Just doing everything there is to do (including catching them all) can keep you busy for well over 40 hours.  Probably much longer than that, even. 

The only other thing about Pokemon as a whole (this doesn't pertain to simply Heart Gold and Soul Silver) is that the formula might not work for that much longer.  Even with enjoying Pokemon Gold and Silver originally, it can be really hard to give Heart Gold and Soul Silver a try simply because the formula is so stale.  They hardly even make tweaks to it.  Pokemon doesn't have to be completely new and fresh, but it's the rare series where it feels like each new installment is the exact same thing as the previous one.  Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, aside from some of the mini-games just don't do anything to make themselves different.  If you've already got Gold and Silver there's really not as big of an incentive to pick up Heart Gold and Soul Silver immediately (unless you want it for the sake of pairing up and trading with Diamon and Pearl).  Pokemon is still fun, and it's nice to relive the classic Gold and Silver.  Unfortunately it feels as though more could've been done to update the game in and of itself.

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April 04, 2010
Some one I know will go crazy for this game! great work, Sean!
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