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Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs DS Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 7.0
Value 8.2
Distributor: Nintendo
Peter Bourke


Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs

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 games.

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 single-player game.

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 colourful universe!


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