Pokemonsoulsilver: Same Game, Fancier Interface

Games

After writing up my first impressions of PokemonSoulSilver and HeartGold, looking for an eyeglass repair kit to get my included Pokewalker working, strategizing how to transfer my Pokemon from my previous game cartridges, and settling down for a few hours to play the actual game part of the PokemonSoulSilver Nintendo DS video game. The problem with Pokemon video games is that no matter what generation game it is-whether it is Generation I with the original 150 (+1) Pokemon or the 493 Pokemon of Generation IV-the game character, game objective, game mechanics, and game story are the same. You can visit https://pickrandom.com/random-pokemon-generator/ to learn about the stats and abilities of all the 493 in-game pokemons, you can even learn about legendary pokemons as well. You are the same child protagonist out to collect a bunch of battling little critters to engage in turn-based combat against other people doing the same and eventually defeat some poorly dressed organization of villains who use Pokemon in their deeds and an elite group of Pokemon trainers. PokemonSoulSilver is not just a repeat of the same Pokemon plot, it is a repeat of Pokemon Generation II for the Gameboy Color when it was simply titled Pokemon Silver. Though marketing will at best spin SoulSilver as being an upgrade while cynics will simply call it a rehash.

PokemonSoulSilver takes the story and setting of the original Pokemon Silver while using the game mechanics and graphics of Generation IV Pokemon games such as the touchscreen. During its initial release, Silver featured a variety of innovations to the Pokemon game such as breeding Pokemon, rematches with other trainers, daily berry trees to pick, day  amp; night events, Pokemon holding items, in-game gear to make the game engaging, and backwards compatibility. Now these are standard features in subsequent Pokemon games so what can a remake bring? In terms of game mechanics, the answer is its new and improved touchscreen interface. Generation IV Pokemon such as Pearl, Diamond, and Platinum used the touchscreen for some ancillary features in its in-game gear and occasional minigames. Pokemon Silver improves upon it by allowing players to do core parts of gameplay with the touchscreen such as perusing the Pokedex, initiating conversations, or accessing menus. At the very least, it allows players to spare their X, Y, B, and A buttons from constant pushing. The new minigames are a bit frustrating to play on the touchscreen since I was still used to the older ones but they do distract me well.

The backwards compatibility with Generation IV games really helps bridge the gap between newer and veteran players. Those who cling to Pearl, Diamond, or Platinum can still trade and battle with SoulSilver players via wi-fi or the Internet since all games use the same interface. The SoulSilver roster of Pokemon upgraded to include Generation III and IV creatures. Connecting with other players is a snap thanks to a lack of cables necessary.

Nostalgia is SoulSilver’s greatest selling point. It is an updated retelling of a classic tale that almost feels like George Lucas had a hand in it. Exploring the Johto and Kanto regions of the Pokemon world brings back memories from nearly a decade ago. Getting those Generation II Pokemon was rather difficult to do in Generation IV since Generation I and Generation III had the GBA treatment and were easy to import. It simply was time to get Totodile and the rest of the Generation II creatures into the current generation.

Meanwhile, one nostalgic element from the original Generation II Pokemon game that SoulSilver attempted to bring back that needs to burn is the Pokewalker. Back in the 90s, Nintendo sold little pedometers that converted steps into game currency used to transfer in-game items. It was a fun way to immerse the player in the Pokemon game. SoulSilver attempts to bring an updated version that promises an improved gaming experience by letting players transfer caught Pokemon into the Pokewalker. Sadly, the result is a buggy pedometer that hardly registers steps when I walk-and I walk a lot. Neither the game nor the instructions accurately mention when I could actually use the damned device. I wound up playing through three gyms and collected a few dozen Pokemon before accidentally discovering that I could use the Pokewalker once I had a Pokemon inside the in-game PC. A little clearer documentation would have been helpful. Since this thing feels like an optional fiddly gimmick hastily tacked on at the last minute, I do not really see myself using it much.

So, same gameplay with updated interface combined with gimmicky accessory and nostalgia… what do you get? Well, PokemonSoulSilver and a lot of other Nintendo games. But it still is fun and strangely addicting.

PokemonSoulSilver for the Nintendo DS sells for about $39.99. If you are one of those people who think a rainbow colored chicken is better than a sleek silver bird with psychic powers, you can use this review to coincide with PokemonHeartGold.