Gotta catch ‘em all. Again.
PokÃ©mon Heart Gold and Soul Silver are the latest incarnations of the classic pokÃ©mon rpg franchise. Players will once again be able to travel the world of the pocket monsters, training their little pets into furious killing machines and gathering badges of conquest from the self professed masters of this art. Should trainers start stocking up on pokÃ©balls? Or will this game be as lively as a Snorlax and be best left alone?
Heart Gold and Soul Silver are reboots of their GameBoy ancestors, Gold and Silver. The game has been graphically revamped for the dual screened handheld and makes good use of the wireless capabilities of the DS, along with a number of other improvements that I will get to later. But first, a little information for the PokÃ©virgins out there.
Players begin their quest of pokÃ©mon mastery by visiting Professor Elm and choosing their first PokÃ©mon, from Totodile, Cyndaquil and Chikorita. From here, the player will follow a rather bland story whilst traveling the Johto area and capturing more pokÃ©mon, battling against the various gym leaders and winning gym badges, that are needed to progress. The quality of the story, however, is of little importance, and never has been within any of the games. The real draw of these game, and the reason why they are so popular, has always been the collecting.Â Players are given a pokÃ©dex at the beginning which will chart their progress towards becoming a PokÃ©mon master and also keep a record of all of the pocket monsters that the player encounters and captures. Gotta catch ‘em all is the tag line, but actually catching them all is a whole other story.
Once the player finished the Johto league and has defeated the Elite Four, they will then gain access to the Kanto area ( as featured in the first PokÃ©mon games), meet the infamous Professor Oak, obtain the national dex and then start working through the Kanto gym leaders. By obtaining the national dex, the player will now have the chance to see or capture every PokÃ©mon in the game world. This is no mean feat however, with the number of Pocket Monsters totalling in excess of 490. That’s a whole lot of PokÃ©balls that will be needed.
Which brings me to the capture of PokÃ©mon. These little creatures need to be nearly defeated in combat. Then, once they are weak, the player hurls out a pokÃ©ball and, if you are lucky, the wild pokÃ©mon will then become one of your own. Combat is a simple turn based affair, using a rock/paper/scissors method whereby the player tries to choose attacks that the opponent is weak against. By participating in combat, the given pokÃ©mon will gain levels, become more powerful, learn new moves and maybe even evolve into a whole new creature.
The majority of the pokÃ©mon can be found either in the wild or from certain encounters. However, there are a group of PokÃ©mon, known as Legendaries, that are much more rare and more difficult to find/capture. There are 19 Legendaries legitimately available in these games. Some require trading between games. As an example, after beating Red in Heart Gold, the player will gain Kyrouge, whereas the same action in Soul Silver will lead to Groudon. In order to get both, the player will have to trade across games. The a player will need both of these and trade again in order to get Rayquaza. Other Legendaries can only be found at special PokÃ©mon events that are held in real life. Take along your DS and get a legendary, or trade with someone who has done just that.
The main Legendaries in Heart Gold and Soul Silver are Ho-Oh in Gold and Lugia in Silver. Although both are available in each game, Lugia will not be around in Gold until much later in the game.
So, what is new in Heart Gold and Soul Silver to entice trainers to return to this game and play again? Fist up, there is the chance of playing a female character. Secondly, taking a page from PokÃ©mon Yellow, player can now have their lead PokÃ©mon actually follow their character through the game. Whilst not making the blind bit of difference to how the game plays, it is still nice and helps the player to build a relationship with the little bundle of pixels.
The most important addition though, is the PokÃ©walker. This external device, like a cross between a Tamagotchi and a Pedometer, will allow one PokÃ©mon to be transferred to it, and then taken with the player where ever they go. Whats the point in that? I hear you ask. Well, the more steps that the player takes with their PokÃ©walker (see the pedometer link?) the more points are gained, that can be used to find items, find PokÃ©mon or even unlock new areas for your PokÃ©mon to explore whilst out and about. The different areas, such as the “noisy forest” offer access to different items and PokÃ©mon.
This wonderful little gadget, whilst looking downright stupid when attached to the belt of a fully grown adult, opens up a whole new level of interactivity. It may even convince some kids to get a bit more exercise, which was maybe the point. Either way, I love my PokÃ©walker and never leave the house without it.
So, with all of that said, is this a worthwhile buy, considering it is just a remake? Hell, yeah! Players who are new to the myriad wonders of the PokÃ©mon world can rest assured that this is the most full featured version of the game to date, and a perfect starting point. Veterans rarely need an excuse to buy a new PokÃ©mon game, but for those with doubts, the PokÃ©walker is the deal breaker. The time is rapidly coming for a brand new PokÃ©mon game, to reinvigorate the series. But until then, this is the very best that the PokÃ©mon franchise has to offer.