Pokémon FireRed review
Thank you Nintendo!
For those who don't know, Pokémon: Fire Red and Pokémon: Leaf Green are both the newest - and oldest - entries in this series that is very quickly becoming a classic. They are remakes of the original Japanese versions, Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green, but unlike most of the other GBA remakes and ports, they have had enough tweaking done to them that the original game's review does no justice.
This is the overwhelmingly most important part of any game, but even more so in the Strategy RPG Genre. And I am very glad to say that Fire Red and Leaf Green (Henceforth collectively referred to as ''FiLe'') deliver on this in a way unprecedented by previous installments of the series.
Those who have followed Pokémon since its inception will know that Pokémon: Red and Pokémon Blue had the highest leveled and most difficult opponents in the one-player mode, but the metagame for multiplayer was a bit simple.
While your computer opponents had no A.I. to speak of, they did have high levels and powerful attacks - something that occasionally made you worry, which is more than can be said for the Gym Leaders in Pokémon: Gold, Silver, Crystal, Ruby, or Sapphire.
On the other hand, Multiplayer was complex, but not as complex as it could have been. Most effective strategies revolved around using the highest stat pokemon with the most powerful moves. Certain types were a must (such as Ground), and some type versus type battles were a foregone conclusion. (Fire versus Water.) While later games in the series greatly increased the difficulty level of multiplayer with more moves accessible to every pokemon and the addition of Hold Items and traits, as I mentioned before this came at a cost in the excitement and challenge of the main game.
So, we get FiLe now; almost every trainer in the game sports the same levels or higher, have better move selections, and have at least a rudimentary A.I. Like the Series 2 and 3 games, we can re-challenge trainers to get more fights when we're bored, not to mention the Battle Tower. We also get the varied and complex move lists from the later games. These combine in FiLe to make what is quite probably the perfect blend of both multiplayer and singleplayer replayability.
Additionally, Nintendo managed to expand the Kanto landmass and the pokémon available to us. The game starts out limited to the 151 creatures available then, but 28 hours later (if you play at a moderate pace) you'll get full-blown access to all the critters made so far and be able to catch some rather unexpected appearances. There are at least seven new islands to explore as well, with many secrets on all of them.
Graphics and Sound:
While multimedia has never been a quintessential part of games, it is important. I bet you think Nintendo slacked off here after all the work put into just remaking this game.
FiLe probably sport the best all around graphics of any game on the system so far, looking crisp, clear and pretty both in-battle and out, and introducing a few pretty stills here and there throughout the game. These aren't graphics that are going to wow you like the ridiculously prevalent particle effects in Golden Sun; they're just good.
As for sounds... all of your favorite tunes from the original have been remixed, and are just ear-candy. The Team Rocket Battle theme in particular got a nice updating.
Controls and Technical Aspects:
It's a Nintendo first-party game. Do I really need to say more?
The controls are, as always, spot-on. A light tap of the D-Pad gets me to swivel; holding it down makes me walk. As for technical aspects, Nintendo has clearly spent a lot of time on this game making it not only glitch-free but Gameshark-resistant. As of time of writing, there are no known glitches for this game, either beneficial or malicious, and codes are very hard to come by.
This is very hard for me to comment on, since I'm playing in a foreign language. However, Nintendo's graphics do an excellent job conveying the mood of each area; this is no more clear than in Viridian Forest and Lavender Tower, particularly when held up against the previous incarnations they had in Red/Blue and Gold/Silver.
They appear to be more thoroughly fleshing out the legendary pokémon backstories as well, something that I, at least, find very interesting to read up on.
This game takes the best elements of all the previous pokémon games and combines them into two excellent little packages that have completely restored my faith in Nintendo. If you liked previous editions, this game is a must-buy. A very well-earned 10 out of 10.
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