Pokémon LeafGreen review
Another Pokemons?!


After 17 long months since the start of Pokemon Advanced series, the third milestone, Pokemon Fire Red & Pokemon Leaf Green release in United States, was finally passed. Is this good? Definitely, yes. Gamers have got new games to eat, hackers - new objects to hack, Nintendo - new torrent of money.
Ok, but what are these new games about? As you could have heard, Leaf Green is a remake of ol' good GB game - Pokemon Blue. A remake which brings nostalgia to our hearts. Nostalgia... is it good or bad feeling for you?

Gameplay & story: 8/10
You are starting this game as 10 y.o. guy (or girl) which wants to become a Pokemon Master. You get one of 3 pokemon from Prof. Oak and the fun begins...
The core of this game remains the same as in every GB/GBA pokemon game: you have to pick 6-pokemon team out of 386 pokemon types(as opposed to 151 for original R/G/B/Y series), available from catching (you have to buy up some pokeballs in order to do it), trading (from another game pack) or another in-game events. You can also store a big amount of caught pokemon in your PC. The base event of this game is pokemon battle, where one (or two) pokemon from your team try to faint (in fact, only one pokemon actually dies in whole game, pokemon, which HP is reduced to 0, just faints) opponent's pokemon. Winner gets all, loser gets nothing: more winning experience = greater level (some pokemon will even evolve after getting high enough level). Winning step-by-step, you advance to Elite 4, where, in case of success, you will finally become a Pokemon Champion. If straight gameplay doesn't appeal to you, usual bad guys of pokemon world – Team Rocket are still here.
As you can see, nothing original. Sure, this game has some side events after beating the Pokemon League, but as usual, you'll end up collecting every pokemon available... Becomes boring after 50 hours.
Though this game doesn't have Single/Multiplayer menu, the gameplay could be divided into two aspects, "single player", when you've got only one game pak per area, and "multiplayer", when you can link your game with another games of this series...

"Single player" mode: 2/10
A fact: Pokemon Advanced Generation series should have got a "Gotta cheat 'em all" slogan. Since every game of the series is a part of Nintendo's evil moneysucking plan, you can't get every of 386 Pokemon without having a batch of Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Colosseum, FireRed, LeafGreen, and hardware support of 2 GBAs, GCN and Nintendo E-Reader. Thus, a player with only one LeafGreen and one GBA will get a cut-off gameplay. Thanks God, GameSharks and Active Replays are always there...

"Multiplayer" mode: 9/10
If you're lucky and have got all aforementioned games, then you'll be quite happy with LeafGreen. You would be able to trade your pokemon(do you know that some pokemon evolve only while being traded?) and battle your teams via link cable. Or you could do the same using new Nintendo invention, Wireless Adapter: it's guaranteed to link up to 5 GBAs within 10 m diameter. But there is still a black dot in the whole picture: you gain ability to trade/battle with Ruby/Sapphire/Colosseum only near the end of game.

Playing time/Replay value: 7/10
To beat the game (beat the League), you'll need approximately 20 hours. Plus 5 to finish island events. After that, your only business is to fill up the Pokedex. And guess what? You get nothing in exchange! But still, 30-35 hours during which average player would be interested in this game, are quite considerable time. You could always start over though, but first, reading the same text and battling same trainers once more is boring, second, this game has only one save slot, so all your previous results would be lost: nice, ain't it?

In-game strategy: 1/10
Yes, I'm not mistaken. One out of ten. Why? While trying to make this game accessible for mass player, Nintendo threw away all the strategy. The key to win is simple: to beat the game you only have to raise 2 pokemon to level 100 and the Elite 4 is yours! So almost every newb commits the same mistake – he thinks that his team with one/two level 100 pokemon and the rest at levels 30-40 will rock in every link / Internet bot battle. And yes, it's not player's fault because of two things: a) Nintendo is introducing high-level-equals-instant-win in every single GB(A) game; b) No place in in-game help nor in Pocket Player's Guide is dedicated to basics of strategy.

Graphics: 9/10
In terms of graphics, LeafGreen does own Ruby or Sapphire. And sure, it owns Pokemon Blue. Items pictures and animations, previously on your quest mode, hot female trainers Ok, it seems that Nintendo is trying to do their best sometimes. Though, they forgot to include Crystal-like pokemon animations once again.

Sound: 10/10
Nice. Really nice. Old good music from Red/Blue + brand new tunes of FireRed/LeafGreen + stereo headphones = amazing. I have nothing more to say – just remember to turn on "Stereo" option in the Options screen

To buy or to rent
Unless you're new to Pokemon games, it's better for you to rent this game for a week or two: you could always order a copy if you like it – and it's very similar to R/S in terms of gameplay. If you're a newbie, however, buy it, it has everything to learn the basics of pokemon with few troubles.

Overall score: 6.57/10

And remember it's not FF series to make it too long

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