Saturday, November 25, 2006

Review: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team (DS)

Platform: DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: ChunSoft
Also For: GBA (as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red)
Release: September 2006

While it would have been nice if Pokemon Mystery Dungeon was built from the ground up to take full advantage of the DS, there’s no denying the compelling, addictive game play and high replay value that this title provides.

Ah, Pokemon. Love the phenomenon or loathe it, you have to admit that you’ve been addicted to a Pokemon title at least once. And who can blame you? Behind the cutesy characters and marketing ploys of the franchise (ahem, multiple versions of the same game released at once), there lies a world of compelling, addictive RPG-lite game play. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon takes a drastic turn from series tradition, and instead of offering a typical role-playing adventure akin to the recently released Pokemon Diamond (in Japan, anyway – Diamond wont hit American soil until next year), it is a compelling dungeon crawler that will keep you glued to your DS for quite some time.

Although there are numerous Pokemon to play as in Mystery Dungeon, you don’t get to choose one right off the bat as you would think. You must answer a series of questions and a Pokemon will be assigned to you based on your personality. Of course, there are always ways around this (ahem – restarting the game over again and changing your answers to receive a different Pokemon), so if you’re not initially thrilled with the Pokemon assigned to you then you can always change it, but it must before you start your adventure.

Once you start your journey you will notice how disappointing the visuals are. Instead of creating a DS game from the ground up the developers pretty much ported a GBA game to the DS, so while the graphics would be right at home on the GBA they are quite mediocre for the DS. Still, the colors used are rather nice, but Nintendo could have done so much more with the advanced hardware DS provides…

When you finally get into the adventure, the visuals will become a non-issue, however. The game is very enjoyable, and at many moments throughout the game it can be more addictive than a standard Pokemon release. You must go journeying through dungeons, performing rescue mission. The average lengths of the missions vary, but they become more complex and lengthy as time move on. The game can be as challenging as you want it to be, so whether you’re a skilled adult player or a youngin’ you’ll be able to enjoy the game just fine.

The combat system used throughout is turn-based. Simple but effective, the turn-based combat works like a charm. Throughout the dungeons you will also be able to recruit a staggering amount of Pokemon to join your team. And when I say ‘staggering’ I mean it – there are a grand total of 380 possible Pokemon recruits. This game provides a large amount of replay value if you really want to dig deep into it and recruit all of the Pokemon.

Disappointingly, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon doesn’t quite seem fully optimized for the DS. While it does use both screens, the touch screen implantations feel tacked on, the map on the second screen isn’t very useful, and as mentioned before, the graphics are sub-par for such an advanced handheld. Also, the A.I. can use some improvement as well, as enemies and your own team mates sometimes make some puzzling and non-sensual decisions.

While it would have been nice if Pokemon Mystery Dungeon was built from the ground up to take full advantage of the DS, there’s no denying the compelling, addictive game play and high replay value that this title provides. Whether you’re a hardcore Pokemon fan or could care less about the whole franchise, Mystery Dungeon will make a welcome addition to your Nintendo DS collection.

Rating: 8.8 (out of 10)
Other reviews:
High Scoring - 9.3 via eToyChest
Low Scoring - 2 out of 5 (or 4.0 out of 10 on our scale) via Modojo


At 7:32 PM, Blogger The Elderly said...

..I need a DS.....

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Rosewarrior said...

Ill comment on all your posts here.
Nice review on the Poke'mon game. It's amazing how that series keeps going and going and going. Ahh, Sonic the hedgehog. That's some good memories right there. Never completely beat the first one. Got pretty tought there at the end.About that Wii. I was reading that the Wii is the worst reviewed launch games ever. The Ps3 has a 73% average. The Wii a 71%.I Knew the lauch on both system save Resistance and Zelda was going to suck.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger gnome said...

I need a DS too. Guess I'll just have to wait and then mug my dear mr. Elderly.

At 12:53 AM, Blogger Gamer C. said...

I miss playing Pokemon the trading card game. maybe I should pick this title up for a trip down memory lane.

And excellent review Pro-Gamer.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Wedge14 said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the pokemon guys where in possession of the fountain of youth!


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