Pokewalking Around in Pokemon Soul Silver
I recently had the opportunity to review Pokemon Soul Silver, the newly remade version of Gameboy Color classic, Pokemon Silver. I have some experience with the series, having previously played through Pokemon Diamond, which was part of Generation 4 of the Pokémon series, along with Pearl and Platinum. The new version of the game introduces 3D animation into the gameplay mix, creating an impressive visual experience.
As a fan of the Pokémon franchise, having played through at least one game from each generation, I really enjoyed this game. There are a number of new and different gym puzzles this time around, which make the game more interesting and fun.
The new story line in the Pokemon Soul Silver was great, and added positively to the overall experience. You play as a 10-year-old, trainer on a quest to save the world from two very destructive Pokémon™, Dialga and Palkia, who control time and space. You’ve already seen them: they are the mascots for these remakes, appearing prominently on the front of the box. Giratina is the mascot for Platinum, and controls the Distortion World. It’s a little mind blowing that a 10-year-old kid would be given this kind of power and responsibility, however as with any sequel, they always look for bigger and better. And oh how they get better and better!
HeartGold and SoulSilver were released in September of 2009 in Japan, and made their way stateside in March of 2010. These remakes are similar to the GBC games except for some changes. This game includes all 493 Pokémon, and is compatible with the Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum games. The gyms are completely remade including the 3-D elements introduced in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. The gym leaders can be battled repeatedly at much higher levels, giving the player more challenges. Menus are now opened with the DS touch screen rather than a button, making it easier to use items. The battle sequences remain the same as in previous games, wherein you use the touch-screen to order your Pokémon to attack, use items, switch Pokemon or run from the battle. What I do find pleasing, as someone who played the original, is the fact that the PokéGear has a function on its radio that allows you to listen to the original songs on the different routes that you travel through on your journey to be Pokémon Master.
The storyline follows the original Pokemon Silver with only minor changes. 3-years have passed since Team Rocket took over Silph Co. in Kanto (the region where Red, Blue, and Yellow versions took place) and no one has heard from them since, except for a few minor appearances trying to steal Slowpoketails for profit on the black market, or trying to capture Gyarados from the Lake of Rage. The main goal is to control Pokémon around the world using the Goldenrod City Radio Tower. In Gold, Silver and Crystal, very few of the Rocket admins and executives were given names or had distinguishable features, but this time around each is given their own look and Pokémon so they stand out from their lackeys. Another aesthetic Ienjoyed was introduced in Platinum. Each gym leader, elite 4 member, and Red, are given their unique animated battle sprites and intro. Red, if you don’t already know, is the game adaptation of Ash Ketchum from the anime, and he also represents the character from Red, Blue, and Yellow.
Another aspect I found interesting in Pokemon Soul Silver is the Pokéwalker, which allows the player to transfer Pokémon to a little Poké Ball shaped “Tomagotchi” type device, and as the player walks, the Pokémon gains experience and can travel through different worlds.
Overall I find this to be an improvement from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. Many of the aesthetic changes are very cool to look at, which makes the game more interesting to play even while evoking a nostalgic reaction for Pokémon Silver. I recommend this game both for the hard-core Pokémon fan and those just starting out.