When I first started playing Pokemon titles 10 years ago I was surprised to find that they are actually RPG games. Not only is it an RPG, but it has the largest cast of playable characters of any RPG I know of. You get a party of 6 Pokemon which you can choose out of a total of 493 (and growing) available creatures. Most Final Fantasy titles these days give you a party of 3 and maybe a total cast of 10 characters so Pokemon really has the advantage.
Other than the giant cast of character the game plays like any standard RPG. You wander around knocking out Pokemon to level up and you learn newer more powerful moves. Your Pokemon ‘evolve’ into more powerful forms which is roughly equivalent to a ‘Class Upgrade’ that is common in many other RPG’s.
The storyline of this game is pretty standard for Pokemon. You are a trainer and you want to become the best trainer of them all. That means beating everyone else in the game. There is also a sub-plot going on where an evil gang of Pokemon thieves (Team Rocket) is trying to take over the world and you are instrumental in seeing to their downfall.
Morally, making animals battle for your own perverse enjoyment is wrong but the game does a pretty heavy handed job of trying to talk about love and respect so in the end you don’t feel like you’ve spent the day betting on dog fights.
The real killer feature of this game is the GIZMO. The game is packaged with a pedometer called a ‘Pokewalker’ which you can transfer your Pokemon to and level them up when you’re on the road. You are given an incentive to exercise, and while many people will just put their pedometer in the clothes dryer and call it good I’ve been stubbornly unlocking everything the hard way – by walking around.
Overall the game is fun, although not quite as good as Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. The story is a bit thinner and I breezed through it pretty quickly. If you want to catch all of the available Pokemon you’ll be busy for most of the rest of your life but I managed to finish this game in about 25 hours.
* Packaged with a pedometer peripheral.
* Not much of a plot.
Length: 25+++ hours