Tag Archives: HeartGold

Day is night, and night is day for Pokémon Moon


I skipped out on Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, which, like my first experience with Pokémon HeartGold, are remakes of older generation games. That’s fine, really. I’m not against remakes, considering I loved Spyro the Dragon: Reignited Trilogy and have heard many good things about Capcom’s revisit to Resident Evil 2. However, after Pokémon Y, I wasn’t interested in going backwards, but rather forwards, with the mechanics and list of pocket monsters evolving greatly and equally alongside the somewhat limited handheld graphics. Enter Pokémon Moon. Yes, moon, not Pokémon Sun. I’m Irish, and I burn easily.

Alas, I picked up Pokémon Moon around the same time that I got Disney Magical World 2. As you know by now, I ended up putting way more hours into running around Castleton than I did the Alola region, and I have a hard time pulling carts in and out of my Nintendo 3DS, preferring to leave a solid one in until I’m mostly done with it. I mean, I did start Pokémon Moon the night I got it, picked Rowlet as my starter (sorry, Litten and Popplio), handled a few other tasks, and saw enough of the opening area to confirm that, yes, this is another pretty good Pokémon entry, and I’ll get to it eventually–and when I do it’ll be a fun time.

On that note, if you’ve played one Pokémon game, you’ll probably not be knocked over by the general story in this one. Pokémon Moon has you journeying across the beautiful islands of the Alola region, encountering newly discovered Pokémon, as well as Pokémon that have taken on a new Alolan style. Your job is to keep track of all the Pokémon you’ve seen and caught with your Rotom Pokédex, which is a living, breathing record-keeper. Around every corner, your battling skills will be tested by tough Trainers, and epic battles are in store for you against Team Skull, a nefarious group of ruffians attempting to steal Pokémon. You’ll also face off against the kahunas, the tough leaders of each island. If you’re strong enough, you may reach the Battle Tree, a place where the most accomplished Trainers go to battle each other.

Sounds about the usual affair, so then…what’s different this time around in Pokémon Moon? Well, some of the Pokémon you’ll train and battle with can learn powerful new Z-Moves—moves so strong they can be used only once in battle. There are Z-Moves for every different type, as well as exclusive Z-Moves for certain Pokémon, including Eevee and Pikachu. There’s also a new Pokémon Refresh feature that can keep your Pokémon in top shape after all that battling. Here, you’ll take care of your Pokémon by curing any status conditions like poisoning and paralysis, and the more affectionate your Pokémon become toward you, the better they’ll perform in battle. Lastly, Pokémon can also enjoy a new experience known as Poké Pelago, a place for them to visit when they’ve been placed in PC Boxes. This is a group of islands where your Pokémon can explore, play, and do other fun activities, growing stronger and obtaining items for you.

Actually, the biggest difference for Pokémon Moon and Pokémon Sun is the clock. Yup, time, time, time. In addition, the two games’ clocks are set 12 hours apart from each other, with Sun operating on the standard 3DS time, and Moon 12 hours ahead. This means, when I usually play the game at night, it is actually daylight in-game…and vice versa. This does affect some of the Pokémon you’ll encounter, and I find it rather neat nonetheless.

Perhaps my favorite new feature in Pokémon Moon is that after facing off against a Pokémon once, the game automatically charts whether a move will be effective or not. No longer do I need to look up what works against what online or keep tables labeled effective or super effective in my memory. This is fantastic both for newcomers and series loyalists. I don’t care if some see it as dumbing the game down; there’s still plenty of things to dig deep into, if that’s what people like about their Pokémon games, such as breeding or finding shiny versions.

I’m playing Pokémon Moon super slowly–I mean, it’s been a few years now–and that’s perfectly fine. Every now and then I get the itch to go in, wander around, catch some new pocket monsters, and level up my team. I also enjoy dressing up my avatar in new clothes. Maybe I’ll advance the story, and maybe I won’t, content to just noodle around with all the side content and extracurricular activities. I figure this will still hold me over until I get a Nintendo Switch and have to make the difficult decision between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Hmm. Really, it’s whatever one has Garbodor in it.

Evolving with a new generation in Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon Y early impressions

I haven’t touched a Pokemon game since beating Pokemon White 2 earlier this year, but the unwritten rule in my heart still says that I will purchase every new Pokemon game that comes out, no hesitation. And so, on Saturday, after learning that Sears was booked up for hours and unable to take my car for an oil change and a busted brake light, I swung by the GameStop and stood in a line made up of mostly young kids, trying to decide right there and then which version of the game to get. And then the moment was upon me: Pokemon X or Pokemon Y? I went with the latter because Y not.

Anyways, I’ve already dropped about four to five hours into the colorful beast, defeating the first gym leader with ease and waking up a sleeping Snorlax and learning a bit about the mysterious O-Powers that reside deep within me. My team currently consists of mainly a Fennekin, a Squirtle, a Fletching, a Farfetch’d, and two spots filled with random Pokemon that I’m giving a trial run, to see if they are interesting enough to stay. Not yet sure of what my dream team is going to look like in the end, but I know that the Fennekin and Squirtle are definitely staying. Sure, it’s early on and Fletching’s just a bird, but pretty cool-looking if you ask me.

This won’t surprise any of you: Pokemon Y is a Pokemon game, and if you’ve played one before, this is all that and a bag of chips, with a few new minor twists to either enhance your experience or detract from it. You pick your starting Pokemon, get handed a Pokedex, and are asked to fill it full of data while exploring the Kalos region. There’s also a mystery about mega evolutions to investigate, but it’s this iteration’s throwaway sub-plot that pops up frequently in these adventures. In Pokemon White, there was a whole bit about treating Pokemon ethically, and HeartGold has members of Team Rocket chasing after you. I’m sure it won’t come to much, but that’s okay, as battling and collecting pocket monsters is continuously a joy, and the graphical overhaul really makes the fights come alive. Seriously, Fennekin’s flame attacks look absolutely stunning, helping you forget that you simply just pushed a button to make it happen.

Your mileage may vary, but some enhancements to me are that you get rollerblades (instead of a bike) very early into the adventure, and they are always on and usable via the circle pad; if you want to walk, use the d-pad. Also, let’s give it up for the refined EXP Share, which is now a key item that you can turn on or off. Here’s a tip: never turn it off. Before, you had to give this item to a specific Pokemon to hold, and they’d gain a percentage of EXP after a battle, even if they didn’t participate. Now, with the item always on, every Pokemon in your party gains EXP after each battle, which helps keep your team balanced and roughly around the same levels. I’ve already seen some folks online crying foul over this, that it makes the game far too easy, but I don’t see a problem with it. Trainer customization seems neat, too, but there isn’t much available to select from just yet besides a new hat and maybe a different shirt; I can’t wait to dress like a true lumberjack pretending to be a Trainer.

Because I entered Pokemon gaming fandom fairly late in my twenties, not counting a few times I tried to play the TCG or watch the TV show, I recognize very few of the critters that pop out of the grass, save for the most iconic ones, like Pikachu and…um, that other one. A lot of people are excited for Pokemon X and Y as it shows off the original generation over some of the more recent incarnations, but they are all mostly new to me, which I’m loving. I mean, from what I can tell, my teams have all been strikingly different across the various ‘mon games in my collection, and I’m hoping to find a really cool Fairy type to use down the road (sorry, Flabébé), as they are humanity’s only hope against a Dragon-based gym.

Still haven’t messed around with the new mini-games like Pokemon-Amie or whatever else they have hidden in some city building. These are generally decent distractions, but I only ever got really invested in Voltorb Flip from HeartGold, which was an addicting mix of Picross and Minesweeper. Still haven’t had a sky battle, but I did experience a horde battle, which felt a little underwhelming. It’s only been a day or two, but haven’t connected with anyone online to battle or trade, and have always found this process to be overcomplicated in previous games so I’m genuinely curious to see if the 3DS is able to make interactivity easier. Also, still haven’t found a Garbodor yet. Sigh…

All in good time, hopefully.

Prepare for trouble, Pokémon fans, and make it double with White/Black

I bought Pokémon White this past Sunday, the day it was released, and it was much more than an impulse buy. Much, much more. There’s a story to it all, but it’s very sad, and I don’t think I can type it up just yet–or even explain in a way to make sense outside of the clusterstorm that is my processing of life and all that jazz–but yeah, I went out and bought the newest Pokémon game without really completing the previous one enough (HeartGold).

And so far, it’s good and all, but a bit too much like HeartGold in terms of the first hour or so. You start out as a fatherless trainer (boy or girl) who picks one of three special Pokémon to call their own. Once that is decided, it’s off to collect ’em all, conquer gym leaders, and stop an evil corporation from doing something justifiably evil. It doesn’t feel very different except for the battles, which are nicely streamlined and presented with much more pizzazz (not to be confused with pizza). I am pretty stoked about the seasonal changes and what that will do; right now it’s autumn in-game, with some nice leaves blowing in the wind action.

Right, here’s my team of five, all at various levels:

Pretty adorable designs, but I am a little tired of battling Patrats. Are they the new Rattata? I surely hope not. Yeah, the minute I saw Snivy, I had to have him–he’s too smug to be left in the distance. As for his name and Lillipup’s name, well…they seemed fitting. “Are you going to name every Pokémon after Harry Potter characters?” my wife asked over my shoulder. No. Not all. But maybe 75% heh heh.

Still waiting to catch a sixth Pokémon. I personally don’t like using doubles of any pocket monster, even if they are different genders or have unique abilities. I was hoping to add Victini to the party right away, but it seems like I can’t acquire it (genderless Pokémon!) until I’ve collected two gym badges and reached a specific city. Wah. Thankfully, I found a free WiFi access point during my lunch break and downloaded the Liberty Pass, so I’m ready to go.

But yeah, Pokémon White. I’m playing it, as well as looking forward to the game opening up more.

Two videogames beaten, but not over with yet

Over the past couple of days, I beat two videogames. Namely, Dragon Age: Origins and Pokemon HeartGold. Both will be getting full reviews from me in the near future, one most likely here and one most likely over at The First Hour, but I still want to talk a little bit about them at the moment…since their deaths are so fresh in my mind.

Both of these games are now beaten. I have seen the end credits roll. And yet, against my power, both of these games demand I continue playing them. In different manners, of course.

For Pokemon HeartGold, they are asking me to play the same game again. The only difference is a new skin to it with new Pokemon to collect, but the fundamentals are all the same: explore the land, collect pocket monsters, defeat gym leaders, and rise to the top of another league for ultimate bragging rights. I’m going to do it, but considering that I just did exactly that for 49 hours…well, I’m not terribly excited for déjà vu to set in.

For Dragon Age: Origins, it’s all about playing the game as drastically different as possible. Because what’s done is done. My Grey Warden character defeated the darkspawn (I don’t consider this a spoiler as, duh, you knew it was going to happen) and now there’s nothing else to do. Can’t reload and venture about Ferelden to do sidequests until the cows come home. Instead, thanks to the numerous origins and different classes and varied dialogue choices, one can play BioWare’s fantasy RPG a second time and experience the complete opposite of what they did before. That’s nice. And also, I didn’t do that Achievement boosting trick where you save before you make a big decision, unlock the Achievement, reload, and then unlock the other one. So I’ll be heading back in to side with the werewolves and help the mages in the Circle Tower and so on. To be honest, I’m looking forward to experiencing it all over again.

Now…about these games’ endings. They were totally lame, especially considering the hours spent to get there.

Pokemon HeartGold tossed an extremely tough battle in your face unlike anything your Trainer ever fought against, and I suspect a lot of players were in the same boat as me. Meaning…lots of grinding to catch up and be halfway formidable. And once that’s said and done, you’re treated to a short scene stating your awesomeness and then credits with little animated Pokesprites running around and being silly. Fade to black. Reload to discover you basically only “beat” 50% of the actual game. Laaame.

Talking about the ending in Dragon Age: Origins is a bit more challenging. I don’t want to spoil specifics, but I really felt like there was a lack of imagination in the final battle. Honestly, your team just moves from zone to zone, fighting wave after wave of darkspawn until you make it to the archdemon, and then you fight it and it releases wave after wave of support enemies and then you kill it and then you’re done. And treated to–and I’m not kidding here–static paintings with some tiny text boxes telling you about what happened to people and places in the years to come. BioWare couldn’t even shell out for some voice actor here after all the speaking that when down during my 41 hours of gameplay. Sigh. There may or may not be more to the game’s ending though depending on some choices you previously made. Time will tell in that department. Either way, it felt kind of lame. Like, that boss battle with that giant tentacle-wielding woman-thing was much more exciting (and original) than this. Oh well. Maybe my second playthrough will reveal something else.

But yeah, despite the fact I’m still going to be playing these for some time, they’re definitely getting crossed off the backlog list as completed.

Meet the three Pokemon Black/White starters

Earlier in the week, Pokemon fans got teased with the following silhouettes, which represent the three new starters from the forthcoming Pokemon Black/White games:

Many guessed that, seeing as there’s been little innovation in this aspect, the three Pokemon would fall under the usual category of being fire-based, grass-based, and water-based. Sure, some hoped for new elemental types to start out their next adventure. Personally, a baby dragon-based Pokemon would be killer to train from the get-go, but alas, it’s been revealed what they look like, knocking down all theoretical walls and solidifying that they are what they are, which is adorable/freaky and just more of the same:

We have a fire-based pig, a rather stoned-looking grass Pokemon (inside joke?), and some kind of…demented beaver? Really, your guess is as good as mine. Their Japanese names are reportedly Tsutaja, Pokabu, and Mijumaru, but I’m sure they’ll swiftly be made into something more punny for us silly Americans. Either way, I’m not overly excited for Pokemon Black/White. See, HeartGold will definitely be keeping me busy for a long, long time, and if there’s a severe lack of innovation in this next iteration of the series and just, oh, a hundred more Pokemon to ultimately collect then there’s no reason to jump on it. Chances are I won’t even have half of HeartGold‘s Pokedex filled by the time this comes out. And I really do think the series needs more than a graphic overhaul to spice things up.

If I had to pick one though, I’d go with the fire-based pig. Naturally, his nickname would be Bacon.

Stroll down the Winner’s Path in the latest Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver DLC

Sure, it’s still a little weird to have downloadable content for the Nintendo DS–and a pedometer game accessory, at that–but I’m never gonna knock free content.

So, from May 6 to June 25, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver players can download via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection the Winner’s Path, a new course for their Pokewalker that gives way to more special Pokemon and items. Such as a “Bouncy” Magikarp, an explodable Munchlax (hee), and holdable goodies. Actually, to be more specific, here’s what one can find when out on a stroll:

Catchable Pokemon: Munchlax, Beldum, Horsea, Duskull, Bronzor, and Magikarp
Pokemon hold items: Leftovers (Munchlax), Shuca Berry (Beldum), Dragon Scale (Horsea), Reaper Cloth (Duskull), and Occa Berry (Magikarp)
Items: Focus Sash, Choice Scarf, Choice Band, Choice Specs, and Power Herb

For those not in the know, to download these special paths you have to select Mystery Gift from the main menu’s options. After that, you gotta head into the game and visit the closest Pokemart, as if you were to pick up one of your mother’s purchases. There you’ll find a dude who will pass along the path to you.

So start downloading, and then start walking.

The Elite Four wall

Well, I gotta come clean. The Elite Four, more specifically the first member of the league with his/her psychic-themed Pokemon, completely pwned me. Of my six Pokemon I’m currently using, only three are over LV. 40, which seems to be where the Elite Four’s Pokemon start out at. Plus, psychic attacks had my Ho-Oh eating dirt fast, and it’s my strongest fighter at this point.

So you know what that means, right?

Time to grind.

I don’t have a huge problem with this because grinding in Pokemon HeartGold is relatively simple and easy not to pay attention to. What do I mean? Well, you basically find the cave or spot of grass with decent leveled Pokemon, equip the Pokemon you’re not using as your lead-in with the EXP share item, walk around until you get into a fight, spam your hardest attack, repeat until you run low on health or PP, heal up at the closest free healthcare center, and then do it all again. You can also watch TV during all of this.

No, what bothers me more is this severe spike in difficulty. Because if the first member of the Elite Four is trouble enough, you then have to take on three more without a chance for free healing and such. That means…I need all six of my ‘mon in great shape, most likely around LV. 50 to LV. 60. Oh boy. That’s a lot of experience to go around. Or maybe I can get by earlier than that. I will most certainly try, as I really just want to “beat” the game and open up more paths on my Pokewalker (wow, that’s kind of a sad goal).

And I dunno…given the length of the plot and major storyline events, I don’t expect many players to reach the league battle with extremely high level pocket monsters. Maybe one or two, but not a full team. Unless they played previous games before and just loaded in their super powerful team and whooped some major butt. But then phooey on them. It’s us newcomers meant to suffer.

So we’ll see. I’m definitely at a standstill currently. Maybe I can get through them with just four strong ‘mon or maybe I can see if anyone is willing to trade something good my way. The problem, naturally, is I have nothing great to give back, unless HeartGold exclusives count.

I’ve got a Ho-Oh in my pocket

There are most likely a number of ways one can consider “beating” Pokemon HeartGold. There’s the boss battle against the respective game’s legendary pocket monster (Ho-Oh for HeartGold, and Lugia for SoulSilver), there’s defeating the Elite 4 after smiting the previously mentioned legendaries, there’s collecting all 493 (?!) Pokemon and completing your Pokedex to the max, and lastly there’s hardcore breeding and building the perfect team with the perfect stats for perfectly kicking other Pokemon in the face during online battles and such. I guess that last one’s more of a goal than anything else, but I’m sure there are some players that use it as a measuring stick for beating the game.

Anyways, of those, I just ticked off the first one. And alas, it was a huge disappointment.

See, every time you start HeartGold, you’re treated to a 3D model of the legendary phoenix ‘mon Ho-Oh flying through the sky, looking all majestic and bad-ass. Obviously, you will meet him/her/it in mortal combat. It’s only a matter of time. The graphics used here get you excited for more lively-looking Pokemon, but unfortunately that never comes to fruition. It’s sprites through and through, with 8-bit sound effects, too. So, just before you do battle with Ho-Oh, you visit Professor Elm (or is it Oak? Dogwood? JUNIPER?!) and he gives you a single Master Ball. This is a special, extremely limited Pokeball that will catch a Pokemon with 100% accuracy, no fail, no problems. Use it wisely.

I used it on Ho-Oh on my very first turn. Fight over. He/she/it is mine, and Ho-Oh now proudly owns the nickname of Bombadil. Sure, I could have used this opportunity to test my skills and probably earn some killer EXP, but I also wanted it for my collection. The timing and convenience of the Master Ball naturally played into my plans.

I was expecting something more epic. I had the opportunity to make it so. Then again, Game Freak made it so easy to go the other way.

Up next, the fight against the Elite 4. From the few postings I’ve read online, this set of battles will definitely test my skills. As well as open up a whole new cut of land to explore. Hmm. Wish me luck, fellow Trainers.

Things I’ve yet to do in some videogames

Videogames, if we’re lucky, are full of things to do. Main missions, side quests, collecting items like coins or flags or severed heads, Easter eggs, mini-games, and so on. I realized the other day though that for some games from my collection–games I’ve played for many, many hours–there’s at least one thing I’ve yet to even try…or experience. For certain gamers, these missed elements are probably really big deals…

Fallout 3 – Find Dogmeat and use him/her as a companion

To be honest, I’ve never used a companion in Fallout 3 unless the quest required me to do so. Both of my playthroughs at this point have been very ninja-like, requiring me to slink around corners and slip through darkness with skill and silence. Bringing a dog with me would be like inviting a marching band along. I’ve yet to even go to the junkyard and get the chance to dismiss this puppy. Many tout the beast as a literal beast, a fighting tank at your side that, so long as you keep him alive, is just brutal and powerful and your BFF. I know I’d get him killed in a split so it’s best just not to even go after him. The only Dogmeat I’ve seen at this point is the kind I loot off fallen Super Mutants.

Grand Theft Auto IV – Purchase a hooker

I think I might have done this once in Grand Theft Auto 3: Vice City, just to see what it was like. I suspect I wasn’t terribly impressed, and then ran her over to get my money back. In GTA IV, I don’t even know where to look for hookers. They were much less subtle in previous iterations, and I’m always too busy trying to go from mission to mission to slow down and have some fun. Rather eat a hot dog than have my hot dog eaten, if y’know what I’m saying.

Pokemon HeartGold – Breed my very own pocket monster

Every message board/forum I come across for Pokemon talks fervently about breeding these little guys/gals into perfect babies. I don’t know what they’re talking about because I have yet to figure out how to do this. I guess it’s something that happens after you beat all the gyms? I’m on the eighth of the first set of gyms at the moment.

Having not done these things has certainly not taken away any enjoyment from the above games (well, not that I really enjoy GTA IV all that much). I’ve just not found time to fit them into my gaming schedule…

In-game relationships need to get out

Unless I’m playing The Sims, I don’t really want to do buddy-buddy things like playing darts and going for a walk and having a beer with someone in-game. Especially when we’re talking about Grand Theft Auto IV, where the majority of the focus is on…well, shooting drug dealers in the mouth and running over hot dog stands. Nor do I want to go on dates, but that mostly has to do with Niko Bellic not being the suave gentlemen your dates might think he is. Seriously, how can anyone be charmed by this masochistic, hollow shell of a goon? His response to every demonic task put on him is: how much will I get paid? Right.

I wish there was a way you could lose your cell phone in GTA IV and then have to go to a local Sprint store (I bet those Rockstar devs would be hilarious and call it, I dunno, Splint) to get a new one. After losing it, I would never get another. I don’t even care if that meant no more missions; I just want to walk and drive around in peace, listen to the radio, take in the sights. No, I don’t want to get shit-faced with you, Roman; you’re a horrible human being, possibly less horrible when drunk, but horrible nonetheless, and to have some drinky drinks with you would take up the following:

1. Time
2. Money

Plus, these in-game friends always call at the worst time ever. Like, you’re sneaking around a building, getting ready for a shootout, and then you have Little Jacob mumbling something about hanging out in your ear. Sorry, can’t. Why didn’t you call me during the 15 minutes it took me to get to this location? Chump.

Another example of bad cell phone usage in videogames: Pokemon HeartGold. During your course across the many regions, you will meet a bunch of trainers and strangers all eager to give you their phone number. In return, you must offer them yours–and your very soul. Seriously, if I could turn back time, I’d give my phone number to NO ONE. Not even my mother, that money-tossing fiend. Stand still for a minute or so, and ring ring ring, it’s Joey to tell you all about his RATTATA. Great. Just about every phone call I’ve gotten has been pointless; there’s no reward, no missions, just a bunch of BS and wasted time tapping through. I’m guessing this is the game’s way of making you feel connected to more than just pocket monsters, but it is an empty mechanic, beyond annoying, and a waste of precious time.

Dragon Age: Origins handles in-game relationships better…but not great. For one, thanks to Ferelden’s serious lack of technogadgetry, the Grey Warden does not have a cell phone. Instead, he/she has a mouth and two ears, and using them they can affect how other characters feel. Some might grow to hate the Grey Warden, others will fall in love, and a couple will remain indifferent no matter what you do. You can give gifts and listen to their stories to maybe pick up an important sidequest. Also, depending on who you are traveling with, certain key events will lead them to voicing their opinions, and it’s up to the Grey Warden to decide how to react. At least there’s rewards here: useful skills are unlocked as companions grow in friendship.

So unless in-game relationships do more than just annoy and waste time, they need to get out…and get out fast.