|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Game Freak||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 14, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2-4)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Though Pokémon Blue, Red, and Yellow are the titles that introduced the world to Pokémon, the second generation of games, Gold and Silver for the GameBoy Color (GBC), are generally credited with making the series the blockbuster it is today. With expanded gameplay options and more Pokémon than ever, the original Gold and Silver really turned the game franchise into a phenomenon. Capitalizing on both the success of the recent Diamond and Pearl titles, as well as the nostalgia associated with the Silver and Gold series, Nintendo has remade these iconic entries in the series and optimized them for the DS as Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
At its base level, the gameplay in HeartGold and SoulSilver is exactly the same as it was in its original GBC form. You can play as either a female or male Pokémon trainer who sets out on a journey to conquer the gyms of the Johto region. The story is paper-thin, but then again plotlines never were the strong suit of the Pokémon franchise, were they? No, the real fun in both the original titles and the remakes comes from the wide world to explore and the addictive battle system. Oh, and those cute little Pokémon. Naturally, HeartGold and SoulSilver have all of these elements in spades.
What makes these titles worth the re-purchase? First of all, the game looks much better on the DS. Although you may have fond memories of the original Gold/Silver on the GameBoy Color, much has changed in the ten years since the game's original release, and a visual overhaul was necessary to bring the game up to par with what we've come to expect from the Nintendo DS. Although the game still uses a sprite-based system, the pixels are much smaller and there is much more detail in the remade versions. The slide animations have also been made a lot smoother. The game's look is on par with Diamond/Pearl, and though Johto may look a little different as a result, it is nice to have such a classic title brought into the modern age so well.
In addition to the look of the game, there have also been some new modes added to the game. As you might expect, the most substantial of these is an online component. Although you have to complete a substantial portion of the game before you gain access to it, the Wi-Fi plaza that first debuted in the Diamond/Pearl titles is part of HeartGold/SoulSilver. Of course, you will need those pesky friend codes to use the Wi-Fi connection, but as long as you know a few friends, you can battle and trade Pokémon with friends online. This feature is a great addition, and gives the HeartGold and SoulSilver titles a huge advantage over their GBC predecessors.
If you aren't exactly exhilarated by online play, however, HeartGold/SoulSilver also have some extra offline content in the form of mini-games. Though more mini-games included on a game for a Nintendo console may elicit a groan or two, these mini-games are actually fun and recall the old Battle Stadium series on the Nintendo 64.