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12 September 2010

Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver [DS]

Plot Synopsis: 6/10
Well, it's the same old schtick for the Pokémon franchise. The player starts off in a small, quiet town. They decide to leave town and explore, newly-acquired pokémon in tow. They witness the bad guys doing something bad, and decide to stop them. Along the way, they start challenging the local gyms and working toward becoming strong enough to challenge the Elite Four and the Pokémon League Champion.
This is an update of an early game from the franchise's history, so I can't really complain too much. It's not like they can change the story completely, and screw up their own continuity. As such, I'll give the plot a 6 out of 10. It's just kind of a repeat of the first generation's story.

Game Play: 8/10
I'm going to skip the very basics of the game play, here, because, quite frankly, I'd be shocked if anyone reading this had never played a single Pokémon game in their life. That being said, on to the more interesting bits.
With HeartGold and SoulSilver, we see the return of the GTS, which has also been updated a bit. The Union Room is still available, to connect several traders or battlers at once. The Pal Pad is still available, to allow for trading and battling over WiFi (once players have traded Friend Codes, that is). Hopefully, as two more generations of Pokémon games have been released since Gold and Silver were first released, it will go without saying that the National Pokédex has been updated to list all 493 species available at the time these games were released.
One thing I always thought was interesting about this generation of games was that it's the only pair of games in the franchise where the player can attain more than 8 badges. Thankfully, they retained this aspect of the games, as well.
I'll give the game play an 8 out of 10. I really want to say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.", but I can't justify saying that about an updated (see "fixed") version of an older game.

Graphics: 7/10
The graphics in HeartGold and SoulSilver are the most advanced graphics we've seen yet, in a Pokémon title from the main franchise. They're still quite simple, easy to read graphics. But they are a vast improvement over the limited-palette graphics of the Game Boy Color, for which the original Gold and Silver were released. No complaints here.
The graphics get a 7 out of 10. They're getting better, while still keeping the same overall feel that long-time players are used to.

Audio: 7/10
Just updated, more intricate versions of the music from the original Gold and Silver. Nothing particularly amazing, here. However, as an interesting addition to the game, the developers programmed in an item that, upon activation, will allow you to listen to the music as it was presented in the original Gold and Silver, significantly lower quality as it may be. This adds a nice bit of nostalgia for older players while providing an interesting novelty for players who are newer to the franchise.
Audio also gets a 7 out of 10. Nothing outstanding, but it does the job.

Overall Score: 7/10
This game was nothing more than a way of making sure that all of the non-event species of pokémon were available for anyone playing any DS game from the franchise, since there's no way to trade from a Game Boy Color cartridge to a DS game card.

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