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Pokemon Diamond/Pearl Review - DS

7.5
Gameplay: 8 stars 8
Graphics: 4 stars 4
Audio: 4 stars 4
Multiplayer: 9 stars 9
Innovation: 4 stars 4
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Introduction

Pokémon has had a long, successful history. Since its debut over a decade ago, each release has quickly risen to the top of the charts. It found a solid formula that was as simple as it was deep, and close to perfection. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Nintendo has done exactly that.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the story. Forgive me if this sounds familiar, but you start out as a young child in a sleepy village. A friend of yours in the next house over, with whom you have a friendly rivalry, finds themselves befriended by a Pokémon Professor. The professor gives you a pokémon of your very own and asks your help in completing a pokédex to record the pokémon of the world for study. The story gets even more familiar, as a team of pokémon abusing villains decide to rule the world.

It does help that the translation team for pokémon had fun with the dialogue, including 'net slang and pop culture references, as well as the usual absurd pokémon observations. While it will annoy some people, I found it pleasant and it helped me take my mind off the complete lack of story.

Yes, the story is boring and the writing is ‘love it or hate it’, but the worst part is there's no chance to change things. You're a pokémon trainer who's out to collect badges and beat the Elite Four to become pokémon champion. There's no say in the matter. You can stop and smell the roses all you like, but it won't get you anywhere. If you like, you could focus on winning the popularity contest in a city along the way, but it will get you nowhere and, in order to get there in the first place, you have to fight through several towns and gyms, which takes several hours.

The ability to choose your own starting town and your own pokémon other than the standard choice of fire, grass or water would be nice, as would the ability to set your own goals. But all this is reserved for the multiplayer aspect, which has its own problems which I'll get to momentarily. Long story short, Pokémon's story and format? needs an overhaul and a few customisation options wouldn't go astray.

Gameplay

It should be no surprise that Pokémon plays the same as ever. The controls are simple, comprised mainly of ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘menu’ options, with the d-pad fixed for movement. When it comes to menus, you can usually use the touch screen to navigate through the various screens.

When you're wandering around the world of Sinnoh, the bottom screen becomes a Pokétech, your new-fangled trainer assistant. Starting out as little more ... (continued next page)