Review by Paradox244
Reviewed: 10/20/06 | Updated: 10/20/06
A title worthy of the pokemon name
Many have said that Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (henceforth referred to as PMD) is a good way to stave off the shakes until Diamond and Pearl comes out, but I for one think that it can stand on its own as a truly worthy title. Let's break it down.
Nothing really spectacular here. The graphics are the same for both the DS and GBA versions, and aren't anything to write home about. That is not to say that they are not good, because they are. The entire PMD world is filled with vibrant color, and the Pokemon sprites are well made and instantly recognizable. Again, nothing spectacular, but still very good.
Again, not really noteworthy but still nice. The tunes are simple, but very catchy. They are well done and sound very good. But in implementation the music truly shines. The designers did a great job of matching the music to the location, and it really helps set the mood. I found the music to be well integrated with the rest of the game. Like in other Pokemon games the music is not central, but works for setting the tone of each place. There are also sounds for some of the attacks, but nothing fancy. All in all it works quite well.
I found the story to be a pleasant departure from the somewhat simplistic plotlines of Pokemon games past. It begins with you mysteriously transformed into a Pokemon with no memory of your past life. You are quickly befriended by another Pokemon, whose species you decide. Together you form a rescue team to help save Pokemon from the natural disasters that have been happening lately. But then a curveball is thrown, and you find yourself embroiled in a struggle involving the schemes of a rival team and a millennia old curse as you embark on your quest to stop the disasters. And just when you think that you have a handle on things, it turns again. Very well done.
There are touch screen controls of a sort, but I found them odd to use. The basic controls using the direction pad, A, and B worked quite well for me. Nothing noteworthy, but it works.
In other Pokemon games you are the trainer; here you are the Pokemon with not a trainer in sight! Many complained about the personality test by which you find which Pokemon to play as. I didn't mind myself, it adds a little style. And if you are reading this you can go the FAQ to find which answers to put in order to get your favorite, no can't you? You do get to pick your partner from a list of all the starters from previous games.
No cutting to battle scenes either, you walk around and if you find a Pokemon, you can just attack. And it attacks, and you attack, etc. Because there are so many Pokemon they are much easier to handle, but over the course of a level they can wear you down. The system is a nice twist on the old concept, and works well. You also have items that you can throw at enemies to deal damage or cause status effects
Many of the moves work differently, as is necessary for the different battle system. Quick attack, for instance, allows you to attack from two squares away. Some of the moves do really fun things, like letting you throw one enemy at another.
No Pokeballs to be found either. Instead you buy friend areas from a vendor. If you have the right friend area for a certain Pokemon and beat that Pokemon in battle, there is a chance for them to become your friend. You can then use them as part of your party. Party Pokemon have a mind of their own, with tactics that can be set and IQ skills that will allow you to maximize their battling prowess. Once you beat the game you can switch out the leader and play as any one of them.
The missions themselves are delivered to your base or posted on a bulletin board in town. You chose the mission and enter the dungeon. The dungeons are randomly generated, so each one is a new challenge. They can go on for quite a few floors, and the more difficult ones even have traps on the floors that can damage you or cause status effects. It is an interesting system, and very fun.
My only gripe is that you cannot evolve until you beat the game, but that is a relatively minor flaw. The game has great replay value and will keep you occupied for a long time after you beat it. After you beat the game you can unlock many new dungeons and friend areas, so there is much incentive to keep playing.
If you like Pokemon and aren't afraid to try something new, but it now. You won't regret it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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