It’s easy to be skeptical. Indeed, it’s hard not to shake the head at a series that has produced a dozen variants all cut from the same template and generated billions in merchandising. Then again you start playing and you quickly realise that Nintendo’s staggering sales of 155 million Pokemon cartridges have far more to do with exquisite game design than exploitative marketing. Even those who have already lost hours and hours in a quest to “catch ’em all” will see themselves hooked all over again.
Now that there is a bulging roster of 493 critters to capture, raise, battle, preen and breed, inevitably a few of 100 pokemon diamond lack the creativity and charisma of old favourites. But the charm from the pocket monsters is still a vital ingredient in what makes these games so pleasurable. Another crucial component is how convincing, consistent and fascinating the entire world is to explore. The Sinnoh region is a fantastic location to visit.
Pokemon’s battle method is very easy to learn but surprisingly strategic and tactically deep. Assembling a well-rounded team that will defeat any opponent requires careful thought and proves very satisfying.
The best news for moms and dads is the fact that %anchor1 represent some of the best value the gaming industry has to offer. Immensely deep and captivating, players can spend dozens upon lots of hours attempting to foil Team Galactic’s nefarious plans while exploring underground caverns mining for treasure, entering talent shows, growing and harvesting berries, cooking treats for critters and trying to capture elusive wild creatures.
Most new features are minor improvements, such as the Poketech device, which could work as a wristwatch, pedometer, radar, notebook and display the status of the menagerie. The most important addition is wi-fi internet support, which lets faraway friends battle and trade creatures.
A lot is different on earth of Pokémon since we last visited in Emerald. Obviously, the addition of more than a hundred new creatures – a few of which are baby versions or evolutions of older Pokémon, such as a pre-evolution of Mantine and new forms for single-stage monsters like Lickitung and Aipom – make up much of the excitement that surrounds the coming of such new adventures.
However it runs a hell of a lot deeper than just a few new arrivals. The battle system has been reworked in the most significant switch to the fundamentals of battling because the Special stat was split up into individual attack and inlqrn values right after the first games turned into a bit broken. Where before each move would utilize a particular stat based on its type alignment (so, fire type moves would use Special Attack while Rock moves would go on Attack), now each move is classed as either Physical or Special and uses the appropriate stat. This opens move set possibilities that could never before been employed and opens the door for a lot of previously overlooked monsters to boost and be legitimate possibilities for competitive play.
And simply as new evolutions and move sets make an effort to level the playing field somewhat, so too does the addition of a host of new attacks and abilities. Bug and Ghost types are far better catered for with a plethora of new attack and support moves, and lots of older attacks happen to be given elemental counterparts, such as Fighting and Water versions of Quick Attack. In addition there are numerous new attacks that make once unusable Pokémon viable, especially in 2 vs 2 battles.
Power Trick can turn defensive legend Shuckle right into a demon by swapping its minimal attack stat featuring its astronomical defence; Trick Room lets slower Pokémon attack first for several turns, making the likes of Snorlax and Steelix much more imposing; moves like Bug Devour and Hurl take advantage of held items (both yours and the opponents) to deal damage accordingly. Whatever type you have a tendency to favour, you’ll find at least a couple of helpful new moves here to enhance any move set.