When it comes to catching them all, you
certainly do in Nintendo's latest Pokémon game, Pokémon Ranger:
Guardian Signs that sees both younger and older gamers return to
this colourful universe. With a clichéd story of good versus darkness,
the story is oozing with Pokémon references as players work in
conjunction with these magical creatures to save Oblivia from darkness.
The villains in the game are the Pokémon Pinchers but as you progress,
you soon learn that they are not working alone but let's not spoil the
story too much.
Given that, it sure is open to a sequel!
Before embarking on your Pokémon adventure,
you must choose between a female or male Pokémon Ranger as you are
partnered with Ukulele Pichu, a little yellow Pokémon who knows how to
handle himself and also provides much needed comic relief and assistance
through your adventures.
So with Stylus in hand and DS in the other,
it's time to explore the world of Oblivia as a powerful ranger who is
attempting to protect the Pokémon from the dreaded Pinchers. The
Pinchers are hoping to harness the Pokémon for their own dastardly needs
from criminal activities and other dark arts. With 300 different Pokémon
available in this game, you have quite a task and challenge ahead of
you. Just be warned that the idea is to catch and exploit because Pokémon
also have lives as well, so just because they are caught, they are not
with you throughout the game.
If you have played the previous games, the
gameplay is almost a mirror image as you try to capture these
innocent little creatures. By befriending the Pokémon, they become an
ally which in turn assists with the battles in the game.
Even though the game has this Japanese RPG atmosphere to it, the
gameplay is actually quite understandable as opposed to the sometimes
menus upon menus upon menus of gameplay which is a standard in those
Capturing the Pokémon is the highlight of
the game as you use your stylus to catch these little critters. But once
captured, you still have some work to do because you need to ensure that
they become a friend and not an enemy. Depending on which Pokémon you
are trying to catch, these battles can become quite complex at times,
especially when you lose your HP which means a restart. To capture a Pokémon,
you need to use the Capture Stylers that allows you to tame them. This
is also where the RPG element comes into player as well.
A successful capture allows the Pokémon to
become part of your player roster which makes them to accessible
through certain parts of the game... I wish had more in the Dungeons.
However, you need to pick the right Pokémon before you engage them in
battle so some strategy is involved here. Thankfully by completing
missions, you are awarded experience points which can assist in
levelling you up in certain areas.
The cool new feature in Guardian Signs is
the ability to draw special "ranger" signs with the stylus in order to
summon legendary Pokémons to your aid. But these legendary Pokémons must
first be beaten in order for them to be summoned just like the regular
critters. However once you have
bested them, let's just say that they really how to knock down your
opponents once summoned. It's also a very cool special effect in the
game as well.
In terms of completion, you could easily
play this game for 20 to 30 hours, depending on your side quests and how
much of the game you wish to explore. Multiplayer becomes available to
player in the early stages of the game which give the player some new
mini-games such as capturing the most Pokémon in a set time. It's also
good to team up with a friend as well because this offers you access to
more Pokémon for your roster. It's a fun little break from the
Graphically, the Pokémon Ranger: Guardian
Signs is a good looking game on the DS with colourful characters and
environments. Some of the flying levels look great as do the battles and
special effects in the game. The game has this real Pokémon feel to it
from start to finish and even the menus. The soundtracks are quite
"boppy" and don't be surprised if you find yourself humming one of the
tunes. The only problem with the graphics are the cutscenes which
sometimes go on for ever. It's great if you have time but if you're busy,
you might start cursing.
In conclusion, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian
Signs is perfectly timed for Christmas and if you enjoyed the
previous Pokémon titles than this is a must have title. The
adventure/RPG aspect is enjoyable but sometimes the story is a little
drawn out. The battles are fun as is the "Capture Mode" where you
attempt to boost up your ranks of Pokémon. All in all, Pokémon
Ranger: Guardian Signs is an enjoyable game set in a fun and