I must say I never expected a game like this. I’ve been on a Pokémon kick lately. I’ve been playing this game, Soul Silver, and have been re watching old episodes of the anime. Naturally I went into this game not expecting much, as it seemed like a cheap spinoff that would have a stupid single player with no effort at all. Well I was wrong about the effort part.
This is what I was talking about when I was talking about effort. There is actually an interesting story in here. There are a couple of things that take it down a peg.
Let’s start with a quick synopsis. This game revolves around the concept of “snagging.” How it works is there are Pokémon that can be captured from other trainers. Using something called a snag machine ordinary poke balls are turned into snag balls. Team Snagem perpetuates all of this. Which the player character is a former member of.
That in itself is one of the more interesting plots for a Pokémon game I’ve heard. I had expected more to come from this plot point in the game though. The fact that you were a former member of the evil team could be really interesting for character interactions, but nothing ever comes of it. Most characters get over this fact within minutes.
The player character that I named BAMF escapes Team Snagem with an Espeon and Umbreon in tow. He arrives in Phenac City where a girl joins his party. She has the ability to tell whether Pokémon are Shadow Pokémon.
What this means is that Team Snagem doesn’t just steal Pokémon they seal the door to the Pokémon’s hearts. Which sounds outrageously cheesy when said out loud. Still, it’s quite evil. When the door to a Pokémon’s heart is closed it becomes a “fighting machine” or a Shadow Pokémon.
So this girl has the ability to tell if a Pokémon is a shadow Pokémon. She joins you on your quest to recapture the Shadow Pokémon and purify them of their blight. You can name her too, so in a fit of brilliance I named her Hore.
BAMF and Hore travel all over the region bumping into members of Team Snagem and another group called Cipher. Cipher isn’t as well explained in the story as Snagem is. It’s obvious that they are evil because every member looks like they just raided an iParty.
Other than that there isn’t much to the story. There is a twist thrown in there just for the sake of having a twist. It comes out of nowhere and makes little sense. Still I did enjoy the ridiculousness of the story. For me the story was the main driving point of the game. It doesn’t do much with its characters but is still interesting. I give it a 30 out of 40
This is where things start to get a little fuzzy for this game. There are parts of this game that work exactly as they should, but there are amazingly dumb design decisions that make this the go to Pokémon RPG for consoles.
I’ll admit I was a little rough on this game. I really wanted it to be good because this is the only Pokémon RPG on consoles that I was aware of. At least of this scale. The game takes about 25 hours to complete.
It plays just like the Pokémon games on hand held systems. You go around the region and battle other Pokémon to level up your current party. Defeating other trainers nets you money that you can use to purchase healing items. That part works well enough. The problem comes with the little twist.
As I said when talking about the story the big twist in the game is the Shadow Pokémon. Well when you “snag” a Shadow Pokémon away from its trainer, you must purify it. Well how do you do that? You must have the shadow Pokémon in your party, and battle with it. Then after the little gauge that shows you how much longer you have to open its heart is empty, you take it to one spot on the map and Celebi opens up the heart fully.
This works on paper, but in practice it falls apart. You see what they don’t tell you is the game is stingy with how much of the gauge depletes. Also your Pokémon is essentially crippled while it’s a Shadow Pokémon. It can’t level up, it doesn’t know all of its moves, and can’t be given any TMs.
So you grow to rely on Espeon and Umbreon. At the end of this game Espeon was my strongest Pokémon at level 62. Even my Suicune, The Legendary Beast, was only a level 48 and I used him a lot. Once the Pokémon is purified it levels up normally and gets all the experience it would have gained as a shadow Pokémon. So there is a small amount of solace for its temporary disability.
My other major problem with this game is its difficulty. I like to think I’m good at Pokémon, but Pokémon is notoriously easy as long as you know how to exploit type weakness, and adjust your party properly. I’ve never lost as many battles in the 15 years I’ve been playing this franchise as I have in this game.
Most trainers have Pokémon that know moves that will destroy anything you throw out. Even moves that specific Pokémon shouldn’t know. Diglet shouldn’t know fly, Gardevoir shouldn’t know Thunderbolt. Flygon know Earthquake, flamethrower, solarbeam, and waterfall? Kiss my ass game.
The other thing that sucks is that you’ll get an ass load of Normal, and Grass type Pokémon in the game. The two types that is weak against almost everything. Yet I only managed to get 1 fire type. The 1 type I needed in most situations, and I had the most useless fire type ever. I got stuck with Slugma. I leveled that SOB up to level 45 and it was a Magcargo. Even then every move, whether it was weak against it or not, it died in one hit.
I heard there is actually a part of the game where you can get a choice between Bayleef, Crocanaw, and Quilava. Had I known I’d have taken Quilava, but I didn’t even know this was a choice. I also thought I had a chance at Entei at one point. In fact it was pure luck I caught Suicune. It was the only one of the three beasts I did catch. I know how to catch Pokémon. Give them a status ailment, and put them in the red. Then mash the crap out of the buttons. It never worked ever, but the trainers only used moves that killed their own Pokémon. Both Entei and Raikou were killed by their own teammates when I had them asleep with their health in the red.
To summarize this is the unluckiest game I’ve ever played. My guys always hurt themselves in their confusion, got hit with criticals, and had their attacks miss. I couldn’t catch a better fire type than Slugma, and I only made it through difficult fights after buying 20 revives. The regular bits we’re familiar with work well, but the new gimmicks make this game a chore to play through. Therefore it gets a 25 out of 40.
No one can fault this game for not looking distinct that’s for sure. I do like the look of this game. The main character looks like a straight bad ass. With spiky white hair, rider goggles, and sweet coat tails. Hence the name BAMF.
In fact every thing in this game screams ridiculous. From the Pokémon designs, to the character designs, to BAMF’s motorcycle everything was just silly. I understand that the Pokémon designs were already there, but even their fainting animations make them look even sillier.
I doubt I’ve laughed harder at character designs since Final Fantasy X. The characters look outrageous. There is one character that has bright yellow spandex, and an Afro that looks like a Poke Ball.
As for the animations, they look good enough, most of the attacks look interesting, but you can tell they didn’t know what to do with some of them. For example Confusion looks just like Psychic. I know from excessive use of Espeon throughout this game. The music is repetitive and there are only a few tracks, and there’s no voice acting.
In the end the presentation is nothing to right home about. Unless you’re writing about how silly it all looks. Other than that it’s totally average. So Pokémon Colloseum gets a 15 out of 20 for its presentation.
When all is added up:
30 out of 40 for story
25 out of 40 for gameplay
15 out of 20 for presentation
70 out of 100 or a C-
Fuck Bayleef, get Quilava in Phenac City when you get the chance. Just find Chaser Rosso, instead of Verde.