Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Soul Silver: My Team and How It's Working Out

Teamwork. Advantages. Disadvantages. Strategy. These elements have been intertwined with the Pokemon series since it's inception, and are vital to one's success in training the monsters themselves. By understanding their strengths and weaknesesses, their individual potential, and being a stickler to dedication, it's easy to be overwhelmed by this daunting task.

It wasn't so hard when I was a kid. If you were my age when Pokemon was all the rage (About seven), you probably just filled your team up with the ever-popular Legendary Pokemon and whoever you chose at the start of the game, with some favorites you've picked up here and there. Now that I've grown older, I'm not so foolish and I tend to take my time when deciding who shall be my royal steeds. With a party of six, each with four attacks, it takes careful time and planning.

How about we take a look at my team?

You remember that cute Cyndaquil from my last update? This is it's ultimate, completely awesome evolution. A pure Fire-type, Typhlosion (who I have named Blazer) is the main lead of the party and usually does one of three things: Fight the strongest opponent, help out in a pinch, or finish the job. My ultimate goal for him is to wield a powerful Fire attack (It has Lava Plume, but that's about to be kicked out by Flamethrower), learn an attack that makes use of its high attack power, and perhaps round it out by filling in two stats boosting abilities. It's tough work, but I think he'll be used as a last resort.

It was a no-brainer picking Cyndaquil. I mean, he was the starter Pokemon I chose in the original Silver. It's nice having a Fire-type that demolishes everything again.


This is the bipedal sheep I was talking about earlier. There's no doubt about it, Ampharos (also known as Wilder) kicks some serious ass. Another Silver veteran, it's a strong Special Attacker and this works in nicely with his Electric abilities. It's so satisfying to use a turn to Charge, then strike at a Pokemon with a nicely aimed THUNDER PUNCH. I'm also thinking of status-raisers for this sucker. An electric sheep. Who'da thunk it?


Ladies and gentlemen, Nancy has transformed into a Slowking. Her beauty needs no words, as her serene grace sooths all who intereact with her.


Being a Water/Psychic hybrid, Nancy is destined to be a very important Special Attacker on my team. With a strenghted Special Defense to guard against pesky Electric, Grass and Dark types, that just leaves me to fill in the blanks with the ever-useful Psychic attack and Ice Beam. Since she also knows Surf, she's useful in towing me across oceans and lakes.

Such a good girl.

At the moment, I've beaten the eight gym. I can go challenge the Elite Four if I feel like, but I'm thinking I'm going to add a Machop to my team, not to mention capturing my favorite Legendary Bird, Lugia.

Man, I have forgotten just how addicting these games are!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Full Week Impressions: Pokemon Soul Silver

So exactly one week ago, I bought the new Pokemon game that everyone and their mom has by now. Well, if you have a DS, that is. In any case, the hotly anticipated Pokemon Soul Silver and Heart Gold have finally hit the United States just as they did back on the Game Boy Color just about a decade ago.

Wait, Game Boy Color? That's right. If you were wondering why the names sounded so familiar, these games are none other then remakes for fan favorites Pokemon Gold and Silver, which hit purple handhelds all over ten years ago.

Ten years ago. Can you believe it? It feels just like yesterday that I was cruising through downtown Chinatown with Pokemon Silver in hand, burning Bellsprouts with my new fiery Cyndaquil.

Hey, now that I think about it, Pokemon Silver came out on a Sunday, too. Bless coincidences on your deity of choice.

Pokemon Gold and Silver are often touted as the pinnacle of the series, and regarded by many cynical fans as when the series hit its peak. I have a dissenting opinion on the matter, as I find Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, released for the Game Boy Advance back in 2003, to be the best. Ironically, those are everyone's least favorite. I'm willing to cede objectively, however, as there's really not much to find at fault with Silver. 250 Pokemon? Check. Two regions, one of which is a retread through Red and Blue's nostalgic Kanto? Check. Sixteen gyms? Check. Really goofy Japanese-inspired looking Pokemon? I'm not a big fan of most of them (The Cyndaquil/Mareep families and Lugia are an exception), but why not?

It's no wonder longtime fans were incredibly excited for news of this remake. I find it hard to get excited for games these days, as I don't find myself scavenging for every new piece of information as I used to. Nowadays, I prefer games to hit me by surprise. And I'm finding myself very surprised by Soul Silver, which is amazing considering how disappointed I've been with the series following Ruby.

The absolute core of the game, in which you battle and raise with your Pokemon, is obviously still present. Let me just say this right now. If this is your first foray into the series since forever, and you've encountered your first wild Pokemon, you're going to get the urge. The desire. If you thought had enough of raising these monsters, you're wrong. That unstoppable addiction going to come back, and you'll love every moment of it. After I've completed the main storyline, I'm immediately going to retaliate by raising that giant army of Pokemon I'll have captured over the game.

...you know, I might as well just get get out what I'm enjoying the most at this point. I am absolutely blown away by...well, how much hasn't changed. It's a remake, yes, but I'd say it is more properly a facelift. Other then mentioning/adding new features where appropriate (Pokemon natures/Wi-fi connection/etc.), it's still the same game. All of the NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) still spout their simplistic babble, the events of the main quest run exactly as they did back then, the Miltank in the third Gym still really pisses you off...I'm being completely serious here, it feels so surreal, and it is hands down the biggest nostalgic sweet spot for me. For those wondering whether or not it's worth it to going back to catching 'em all over again, this is exactly where'd I point and say, "There's still a place for you here."

Of course, the game gets right up to date with all the new-fangled features in which Pokemon has evolved over the years. A perfect example of this is Wi-Fi connection, in which you can go online and battle/trade with your friends. I actually haven't gotten around to it yet since my team is abysmal at the moment, but I sense fun times around the corner, complete with trash talking voice chat.

What I'm crazy about now, though, is a particularly minor feature. You remember how Pokemon Yellow's big thing was having Pikachu follow you around? You can do that here, but this time you have the ultimate choice of having any one of those awesome critters be your outside buddy. Yeah, I know, they don't do much, but when you talk to them and the game says they're hugging you or something, it just makes you feel fuzzy. It's just adorable.

So far, my party consists of Quilava, the Fire-type evolution of the above Cyndaquil, and Ampharos, a bipedal Electric-type sheep. I've also been enlisting the temporary help of Pidegotto and jumpy Furret, but they probably won't be around much longer, so I'm left unsure as to what to do with my main party. Lugia is a must, and I'm thinking I'm about to induct a Slowpoke, which I have named Nancy in honor of my Mom's phone gabbing friend, into the family. I've beaten the fifth gym and am taking a break from the main quest in order to build my party.

So yeah, this game is awesome.

You can expect a full review in about a month's time. Until then, I'll be updating frequently with not only reports of my progress, but about my repaired NES!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Media Summit Excitement

Yikes, I intended to update more within last week, but it didn't quite work out. NES or no NES, I'm still going to make this work out.




(if someone can tell me how to embed youtube videos on here, please let me know!)

Greatest trailer ever? Well, it's pretty much impossible to top the first Brawl trailer, but this is a worthy contender.

I can't wait for this. Maybe the original Galaxy's linear level design turned off some (including myself, initially), but I've come to realize that it's quite possibly on the best designed video games in years and I can still pop it in and have fun. Not to mention it's orchestral soundtrack is pure bliss.

Can anyone else see the imagination just pop out of that trailer? Just look at what they've done with Yoshi!

Some other games I've noted from the Media Summit:

Metroid Other M: I'm sad to say that, while I still think that the original Metroid Prime is a fantastic game and one of the most absorbing titles out there, I've never really been all that into Metroid (although that is a problem I plan to remedy).

That's beside the point, though. When I saw the first trailer along with Galaxy 2 at the E3 Press Conference last year, my mouth dropped through the floor. Holy crap, did she just throw that bug creature across the room? Sweet lord, did Samus just PILEDRIVE A MONSTER into the ground and force her arm cannon into its mouth and unleash her silent fury? HOLY SHIT DID SHE JUST SHOOT THAT GUY IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD


From what I've heard of the impressions so far, it looks to be pretty neat. I've heard the voice acting is mediocre though, which I wouldn't care if this was a new entry to Star Fox, but since this is focusing on Samus's backstory you can't help but wonder if this blemish will dull it's supposed impact.

Can't wait for it to hit late June!

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor: I've heard that the N64 import title, of which this is based off of, is a great game but I haven't tried it out yet. Before this comes out I'll be sure to download it on Wii's Virtual Console to get a feel.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-eQo3Oqh40&feature=related

Monster Hunter 3 (Capcom): Anyone who says that the Wii doesn't have good third party games clearly hasn't been paying attention for about a year. Here's one right now!

In front of your face.



To be played.

Don't worry, Monster Hunter. I'll be sure to check you out in all of your supposedly awesome glory. I mean, hey, the Japanese love it (It's the best selling third party game on Wii over there).

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XvxNCyUGJk

So, let's list the Wii titles I plan to play this year:

Super Mario Galaxy
Metroid Other M
Tatsunoko VS Capcom
Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing
Sin and Punishment 2
Arc Rise Fantasia
Monster Hunter 3

Hot. Damn.

There goes my wallet.

I haven't been this excited about the Wii in a very long time. ^_^