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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon Gates to Infinity Review - 8/10

Since the initial Pokemon games were released, there has been a massive market for the games and merchandises for this series. Over time, however, the Pokemon grind has become stale. Not bad mind you, but it's very much rooted itself and there's little room to divert. You choose a starter, catch some Pokemon, battle etc. Apart from the Ranger series, this is the other spin off of the main Pokemon series: the Mystery Dungeon series. There are a few gripes I have with the Dungeon series and they have to be mentioned before the review. To start it off, you are a human who has now taken on Pokemon form for some reason. You choose a partner and battle along side them. You may think this sounds exactly like the main Pokemon series, but it isn't. You are stuck being a specific Pokemon until you are finished with the game. You can get about two other Pokemon to join you in quests but that's the limit and you still have your other Pokemon partner by your side until the 'end' of the game. Wild Pokemon in dungeons will attack you and by defeating them you gain xp. After a certain point in the story, once you beat an enemy a certain amount of times, they will ask to join your team. Whatever team you have, you are locked into those initial type advantages and disadvantages. Water Pokemon will be weak to electric and grass but strong to others and so on. This is very much a strategy series. You walk around on a grid in a unusually formatted floor doing your best to elevate floors. The only difference is you are controlling yourself/the leader of the team. Your partner will attack how they choose, ignoring type advantages/disadvantages. However, most attacks don't matter. In the main series, some attacks just don't flat out work like Ghost to a Normal while some are less effective. In this that is kind of the case but it doesn't matter. A normal attack will still hit a ghost but will just be less effective. This is one of the main bad points of the series as your partner will constantly not use the smartest attack. That being said, I love the series.

The Good:
This game is really nice and cartoony looking. Most Pokemon games look similar as did the previous Dungeons, but this game is very unique, mostly due to being on the 3DS. Every Pokemon looks real and that's really nice.
Every Pokemon moves anatomically correctly. Fans might notice that Pokemon is both routed in fantasy and reality. Taking myths and folklore and turning them into Pokemon. Before this game, we've never seen how Pokemon move, but in this it is anatomically correct. Short legged Pokemon run with more of a waddle and bigger ones will often use clunky movements rather than a speedier body would. This attention to detail is extremely nice and well done. It's the small things that lead to greatness.
The 3D is actually impressive. I don't use it that much but this is how it's done right. Everything seems to be in a good distance if you were looking at it in real life and things pop or fade into the foreground. Again, the small things are the greatest.

The Bad:
The best thing about the Mystery Dungeon series is the roster. You can choose from every single started in the current generation as well as a few others. In the previous games it was by randomization and you could restart when you didn't get the one you wanted. Apart from that, your gender also locked you out from certain options. This game doesn't have that. There are four you can choose (and I mean outright choose with no guessing) to play as. Let me say that again: four. How many starters are there currently playable in previous generations? Five of three types. That means there are fifteen! In here, you get to choose the three last starters of Gen V and an Axew. Why so little choices? That's what I loved most about Dungeon: the choices.
Again to choices, there's not much here. Even simple faux choices like saying no to an obvious yes answer are completely absent. It really takes me out of the game. I'm sure there's more choices later but when you start off there's not much here.
The attacks are weird. There's a move called Pluck. A flying type move which eats the berry help by the opposer and gives the effect to the user. This movie is erratic. You have a big box in which you hold all your stuff and can give stuff to your teammates. The move takes it at random from your box. I was felled because the Pluck ate an item to revive me on death than another item that breathes fire. Come on! Nerf the ability! You also have a standard attack which uses no attack points and can never be taken away. Too bad it sucks, doing about 5 damage when everyone else is up at 20+.
In previous games, your view of the map was significantly larger. Allowing you to see just about five spaces around you. In here, you're constantly within two spaces seeing distance. Some may say it's good but enemies can come out of nowhere and sweep me like nothing.

The Meh:
This game has DLC? While that's not a bad thing I was expecting more. I thought "well they might have the other starters to be able to buy" but they don't have that either. Right now it's just maps to buy. It's weird to say Pokemon has DLC.
There's plenty of transition sequences. Going into a new area cuts to another transitional black screen for a second. Even in the small town this is prevalent. Is it an issue that is due to the 3DS and not having enough pixels or whatever on the screen at once?
The story is meh but that's how it's been with all the other game's stories as well.

I know this game ducked under the radar but that's how it's been with all the other Pokemon Dungeon games. I personally loved the other games and this is not my favorite of the bunch, but it is in no means a bad game. I'll still be playing it and enjoying the good stuff about it.

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