Game Freaks

Pokemon Gold/Silver Review

Posted in Blogroll,Game Reviews by gamefreaks on December 2, 2006

Pokemon Gold

Dear readers, the picture you see on the page today is not lying to you: the Game Freaks are reviewing Pokemon. We know what you’re probably thinking: “They’re reviewing the video game from that crappy cartoon? Have they lost their mind?” Well, yes, we have lost our minds, but for reasons unrelated to this game. The problem, as we see it, is that for most people, this game is irrevocably linked to the merchandising blitz that accompanied it. We decided that someone should give this game a fair shake, and since we’re the only game reviewers we know, we decided to take it on. Are the negative connotations fair, or does this game transcend its marketing? Read on to find out!

Matt #1

Play Control: 9
You know, for what Pokemon GS does, it does it great. It’s maybe not as polished as an entry in the Final Fantasy series, and a couple of the things you do feel like kludges, but over all it’s a solid control system. The menu-based controls, while certainly not new to any RPG console gamer, should be comfortably familiar to even a novice. The menus themselves are certainly easy to navigate: to quote popular webcomic Questionable Content, “FIGHT, ITEM, OR RUN! DECIDE!”

Graphics: 6
You know, the sprites for the Pokemon are really awesome, super detailed. They have great color and the most powerful Pokemon are simply gorgeous. Special attacks are well animated (although the regular attack animations do suck), and the style of the game matches up with the graphics very well. It’s just too bad that everything that isn’t a Pokemon is really kind of butt ugly.

Difficulty: 4
I don’t know what to do next! Maybe I should just walk in a straight line, talking to everyone I see, and they will tell me! Nah, that’ll never work. In all seriousness, if you can’t play this game passably well at a first sit-down, you have some kind of vitamin deficiency or something. Really. It’s pretty simple. Cross-typing element vs. element can occasionally get difficult with the more obscure element interactions, but for the most part the game is almost too easy even for its target audience of sixth and seventh grade students. The fun is in the play, not the challenge, here. Let’s make that clear.

Replay Value: 7
OK, so in some ways this is kind of like a Zelda game: once you’ve figured out all the tricks and secrets a great deal of fun goes out of the game. But the new ways to innovate with party-building and the opportunities to make “bad” Pokemon into front-line fighters keeps the game interesting. I still want to see someone rock the house with a full party of Caterpie. Go, String Shot, go!

Overall Rating: 6.5
It’s worth noting that the design team for Pokemon is named “Game Freaks.” Yeah, thought you might like that.


Matt #2

Play Control: 8

Well, one thing for sure: this game will not test your reflexes. It’s an RPG, folks, so you shouldn’t be expecting tons of button-mashing action. Overall, the menu system is well thought out, and works very well. My main complaint may seem kind of silly, but it’s true: the main menu you use in the game has too many options. It’s not the end of the world, but it can be really annoying to have to switch back and forth between related menus instead of having fewer menus with more options.

Graphics: 7
This game is a bit tough to rate in this category. The in-battle animations are very well done, with lots of detail for the many, many characters that fight in this game, although the fact that they just slightly move the sprite to represent an attack is really pretty lame. They would have been better off just not animating the attacks, letting the player’s imagination picked up the slack. Seriously, I have a pretty good idea of what an attack called “Tackle” looks like, Pokemon. I don’t need help imagining that.

In contrast to the character sprites, the main map is ugly and overly repetitive. I don’t expect some beautiful, realistically rendered world on my big grey box (yes, my Game Boy is that old), but I’d appreciate a little bit of variety in the scenery.

Difficulty: 6
This is really the only area where the game is obviously made keeping children in mind: the game is simply too easy. It’s very simple to waltz through the main plot of the game, barely paying attention to which Pokemon you use. The battles are just not all that difficult, especially considering that each gym has a specific theme. Oh, I’m going into the gym where everyone uses fire Pokemon? Boy, what kind of Pokemon should I use…I’ve got it! Every ice Pokemon I own! That was a really hard decision!

Replay Value: 8
This is the part of the game where they pick up for the difficulty slack. Getting through the plot isn’t that difficult; getting every Pokemon, however, is a long, involved process that’ll give you hours of fun game play. This is truly one of the better RPGs for replay value, if only because replaying the game after you’ve played through the plot once doesn’t necessarily entail playing through the plot again. Which is probably a good thing, considering how hackneyed the plot is.

Overall Rating: 7.25
Don’t let anyone make fun of you for playing this game; taken on its own, it’s a lot of fun. However, if you find yourself watching the cartoon or purchasing any other related merchandise, you deserve any punishment you get.


One Response to 'Pokemon Gold/Silver Review'

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  1. Jim Smith said,

    No button bashing, finger-wrapping action?!? How long has it taken you to get to the top of the Mirage Tower in Pokemon Emerald the SECOND time? I found that a LOT of timing and reflexes, timed – just right -, were needed to go collect my favorite Pokemon, Rayquaza.

    The thing about the graphics that could have been mentioned was the fact that it used a “tile-engine” without the smooth-scrolling effect. If Game Freaks would have included smooth-scrolling and a little finer animation of the characters, I believe the graphics would have been superb for this caliber of a game!

    As for only adventurous the first time it’s played, You still other aspects of the game to consider:

    1) Like you did mention, trying out other pokemon on your team,
    2) You still have the aspect of breeding pokemon in the Gem series, 3rd Gen, and 4th Gen series games,
    3) It’s not the easiest thing to have collected and/or owned 386 different types of pokemon without cheating ( virtually impossible nowadays ),
    4) And finally, how many trades have you done so far???

    I do agree that there are some areas these games could have been improved upon. I do, however, still find these games rather interesting and fun as they are among my favorites when it comes to RPGs.

    Good day.


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