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Pokémon Heart SoulSilver Review DS & DSi Review - -

Gameplay 9.1
Graphics 8.0
Sound 7.9
Value 9.1
Distributor: Nintendo
James Wright


Pokémon Heart SoulSilver Review

With some awesome interactivity and with a Gold and Silver release, this is what fans of the series have been waiting for or for those looking for something uniquely different... in a good way. Even though the heart of this RPG experience hasn’t changed too much, the new graphics and multiplayer options easily make this the best game in the series that we had a joy playing.  Visiting classic destinations from previous games, including a few twists, it's amazing how far this franchise has come since the Gameboy. Thankfully the cool stuff hasn't changed either, whether your breeding or gathering Apricorns, it's all there my dear gaming friend plus a new Pokémon pedometer!

Pokémon has generally been associated with children, especially with the catch phrase of “gotta catch em all”, however the games are actually a very in-depth RPG experience with a great battle system and a large gaming world that goes beyond even some of the high-end consoles. If you think this game sounds familiar, that's because it's a remake. But don't let that fool you, there is enough fresh content to make this game stand apart and it's not just a George Lucas cash-in either!

The game uses that traditional top down dungeon view as you control your trainer and his or her Pokémon's with the world that you are exploring. And when the battle begins to heat up, it's time to unleash your Pokémon. However it's the subtle changes that most will ignore in this game that brought a smile to my face such as seeing your Pokémon's walk with you as opposed to a Final Fantasy inventory system.

There are also a few tweaks to the interface in the game as you interact with your characters which take the frustration and monotony of previous interfaces. For example, there is now an option to run and even an option for  your quick use list for items which makes the gaming more fluid. As you battle your Pokémons with other creatures, you slowly begin to build your powers through experience and by using this, you "level" up your creatures which creates some extremely powerful behemoths.

We've established that the interface has changed, thanks to the touch screen of the DS, however the developers have thrown in another curve ball with the PokeWalker. A what you might ask? It's basically a pedometer that encourages you to be active in the real world but it rewards your characters in the game. The more you walk, the more unlockable content is awarded to the player (thanks to Watts) that had me walking and running more, in order to see what I could get. You can even use the PokeWalker to find new Pokémon in the real-world with some limited control of this device which allows for fight, evade and capture. A very interesting twist to the gameplay, albeit quite simplistic.

Multiplayer? You betcha! The game boasts WiFi connectivity which means you can battle your friends or foes via local matches or online matches. The meeting place in this game is called the Plaza where you can meet other Pokémon fans from around the world as you engage in a variety of mini-games. Parents will be pleased to know that the conversation with other players is actually scripted. Not as fun as the single-player but still worth investigating, even if you're an older gamer.

When it comes to graphics, the facelift from the original Gold and Silver games is quite amazing. It's like a totally new game with sharp images, great animation and a variety of special effects. Of course, the stars of the game are the Pokémons themselves who look great on the DS architecture. In terms of sound, the musical score of the game is quite soothing on the DS which changes with the game but the most impressive aspect for me in this department is the ambient sound such as the wind and water. Bliss would be the best word to describe this.

Nintendo have another winner on their hand with Pokémon Heart SoulSilver that transcends the original game through updated graphics, DS interactivity and the inclusion of a pedometer.  Even if you have played the original games and your a fan of the series, you'll get a huge kick of this new facelift and new players won't be disadvantaged either. The only issue we had with the game is that it's a little easy but apart from that, this is one game you got to have!


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