It’s easy to be cynical. Indeed, it’s hard not to shake the head at a series which has produced a dozen variants all cut through the same template and generated billions in merchandising. However you start playing and you also quickly realise that Nintendo’s staggering sales of 155 million Pokemon cartridges have a lot more to do with exquisite game design than exploitative marketing. Even those who have already lost a lot of time in a quest to “catch ’em all” will find themselves hooked all over again.
Since there is a bulging roster of 493 critters to trap, raise, battle, preen and breed, inevitably some of 100 pokemon diamond lack the creativity and charisma of old favourites. However the charm of the pocket monsters remains a vital ingredient with what makes these games so pleasurable. Another crucial component is just how convincing, consistent and interesting the world is to explore. The Sinnoh region is a fantastic spot to visit.
Pokemon’s battle product is very easy to learn but surprisingly strategic and tactically deep. Assembling a highly-rounded team that will defeat any opponent requires careful thought and proves very satisfying.
The most effective news for mothers and fathers is that %anchor1 represent among the best value the gaming industry has to offer. Immensely deep and captivating, players can spend dozens upon dozens of hours seeking to foil Team Galactic’s nefarious plans while also exploring underground caverns mining for treasure, entering talent shows, growing and harvesting berries, cooking treats for their critters and seeking to capture elusive wild creatures.
Most new features are minor improvements, like the Poketech device, which may serve as a wrist watch, pedometer, radar, notebook and display the status of your menagerie. The most significant addition is wi-fi internet support, which lets faraway friends battle and trade creatures.
A lot is different on the planet of Pokémon since we last visited in Emerald. Obviously, adding spanning a hundred new creatures – many of which are baby versions or evolutions of older Pokémon, for instance a pre-evolution of Mantine and new forms for single-stage monsters like Lickitung and Aipom – form most of the excitement that surrounds the coming of these new adventures.
However it runs a hell of any lot deeper than only a few new arrivals. The battle system has been reworked in the most significant switch to the basics of battling considering that the Special stat was divided into individual attack and inlqrn values after the first games ended up being somewhat broken. Where before each move would make use of a particular stat according to 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 correct stat. This opens move set possibilities that could never before been employed by and paves the way for many previously overlooked monsters to step-up and become legitimate possibilities for competitive play.
And merely as new evolutions and move sets attempt to level the playing field somewhat, so too does incorporating a host of new attacks and abilities. Bug and Ghost types are much better catered for with various new attack and support moves, and lots of older attacks have been given elemental counterparts, like Fighting and Water versions of Quick Attack. In addition there are a number of new attacks that make once unusable Pokémon viable, especially in 2 vs 2 battles.
Power Trick can change defensive legend Shuckle in to a demon by swapping its minimal attack stat with its astronomical defence; Trick Room lets slower Pokémon attack first for many turns, making the likes of Snorlax and Steelix much more imposing; moves like Bug Devour and Hurl make use 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 complement any move set.