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Pokémon Gold/Silver - Review

The ultimate time killer.

By: Jake Alley


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 5
   Originality 7
   Plot 3
   Localization 5
   Replay Value 3
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

30-100 hours

 
Overall
8
Criteria

Pokémon Gold/Silver
 

   Many games have been added to the Pokémon franchise since its inception, but none have really deserved the title of sequel until the release of Pokémon Gold/Silver. These versions double the size of the world, nearly double the number of Pokémon to collect, and add a wide variety of features that make things run much more smoothly, while keeping the focus and engine of the original game intact.

   At first glance, not a lot seems to have changed. The graphics outside of combat use the exact same minimalist sprites as the original for the most part, albeit now in color. Beneath the surface however, many new features have been added. Most importantly, the inventory is automatically sorted into four separate sections. Plot items such as keys no longer take up valuable space in the main inventory, nor do Pokéballs, or training machines. The select button can be set as a shortcut to one item as well, as an additional friendly feature. Pokémon themselves receive the same treatment with a Pokédex that can be resorted, searched, and paged through quickly. More importantly, Pokémon can now be moved freely within a box, or even between boxes, and even the boxes themselves can be renamed, making organization a much simpler task than in the original.


Now in color!
Now in color!  

   This friendlier interface is not the only new feature. The new versions of Pokémon also come outfitted with an internal real time clock. Some events in the game happen only at certain times of the day, or on certain days of the week. Other events take the passage of time into account. For example, the world is dotted with trees that dispense free healing items, but only one may be plucked per day. Thankfully none of these time sensitive events are vital to the completion of the game, so rearranging one's schedule to accomplish in-game tasks is only necessary for those who wish to find all of the games secrets.

   Obtaining all of the 251 Pokémon now available is quite the daunting task. While, as with the original, careful exploration and patience will allow the player to capture, breed, or trade for nearly every Pokémon, some new concerns now factor in. Obviously, some Pokémon are now nocturnal and others diurnal. Some also live in trees, some only evolve under new special circumstances, and a few can only be obtained by breeding two other Pokémon.


A full hundred new ones.
A full hundred new ones.  

   Combat benefits as much as the rest of the game from new innovations. Two new Pokémon types have been added, making the complex paper-rock-scissors style balancing that much more involved, new moves have been added, old moves fine tuned, an experience bar is now shown on screen, and the graphics have been greatly improved, with full sized detailed versions of your own Pokémon instead of the highly pixellated head shots from the original, and clearer attack animations.

   While the gameplay is a vast improvement over the original, the same can't be said for the plot. While the game is set three years later in an expanded version of the same world, the plot is still utilitarian at best. While there is the occasional local problem to solve, the plot of the game can still be summed up in the same single sentence. "Become the world's top Pokémon trainer."

   Nearly every aspect of Pokémon Gold and Silver is an improvement over the original. Bigger, longer, better looking, more complex, and the music is far less irritating than the original's. However, completing the secondary goal of obtaining every Pokémon now requires three versions of the game, and over a hundred hours of play, which may intimidate newcomers to the series. For the rest of us, the addiction simply continues.





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