Friday, January 18, 2013

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Explorers of Sky

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon gets a Platinum Update. The result: It's surprisedly awesome!
Review By Sonictrainer

Those who have played PMD Red/Blue Rescue Team or Explorers of Time/Darkness already know how these games work. The player is a human who somehow became a Pokemon but doesn't recall how it happened. To find these answers they join forces with a Partner Pokemon and team up to look for answers. Facing challenges along the way, they travel through Mystery Dungeons, mysterious places that contain treasure, Pokemon in danger, and more answers to why the Hero transformed. At the end of some of them, there were bosses that were a team of regular Pokemon or a Legendary one. To prepare players could go by the Town's Shopping District and get new items, store items and money, and choose Pokemon to go with them with the journey.

The dungeons play in a unique style. Normally, you travel along the floors of each dungeon while trying to get to the stairs and get to the next floor. You move the Team Leader Pokemon and then the other members follow. You can't control your team mates directly but you can choose which moves they use and what they do through tactics and IQ skills. If an enemy Pokemon appears, you and your team mates move first before they do. If you win you gain experience. If you lose, you would be sent back to base and lose half your money and items. However, you could also get a friend to come help you out and you could continue from where you got defeated.

In Blue/Red Rescue Team, you started your own Rescue Team, made a home base, rescued Pokemon who were lost in the Dungeons, and looked for items. However, things change in PMD: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. In the beginning after helping your Partner get his Relic Fragment back, you decide to train at Wigglytuff's Exploration guild as an Apprentice Exploration Team. In other words, Rescue Teams have now become Exploration Teams. Besides helping Pokemon in need, you can accompany them on expeditions and travel with them to explore and discover uncharted places. There are also Outlaw missions, in which you must find a Pokemon within a dungeon and defeat it. You could also do Sentry Duty and play a mini game where you have to guess which Pokemon that the picture of a footprint belongs to. Before heading out on missions, you can stop by Treasure Town where you can find the Kanganstan Storage and the Kecleon Bros Shop. Duskull is now in charge of the Bank; Marowak is the master of the training Dojo, and Electrivire works at the Link Shop, where moves can be linked so Pokemon can use 2-4 moves at once. There are 2 new areas where Xatu opens Treasures you find in the dungeons and where Chansey looks after any eggs you receive as rewards from missions. Even 2 of the other Apprentices within Wigglytuff's Guild have service areas. At Croagunk's shop you can exchange Rare Items for extremely rare items. There are no friend areas in this game but Chimecho takes care of all the recruits (any recruit, it's now unlimited) on your team in a nice organized menu. All the Pokemon introduced in Diamond and Pearl is in these games as well as new items and IQ Skills. Time and Darkness bought new challenges to Pokemon MD and regular fans.

Now, here's where Sky comes in. First off, new additions have been added to Treasure Town. Spinda has made a Cafee near the crossroads to Treasure Town. Here, Spinda will make certain items into drinks. Some of them will have their regular effects while others will gain a boost in a certain stat or IQ after drinking it. You may also get new recruits, Pokemon Eggs, or find locations to unlockable Dungeons by making drinks there. To the right of Spinda is the recycle shop, where you can recycle those items you leave in storage and never use to get better items. You could also get unlockable dungeons this way.

Speaking of items, look at the ones you collect before you use them, because there are now lookalike items. Some will hurt you, like the Oren Berry and Reviser Seed. Others are great to find like the Dough Seed, which makes lots of Poke (money) appear on the first floor. At Croagunk's Swap Shop, you could only swap items to get better versions of that item. Now you can swap any of the Exclusive/rare items for any type of Exclusive/rare items.

Missions are easier to get but even more complex. You can now get missions from Pokemon hanging out near Spinda's Cafe or from bottles that wash up on shore. Outlaws are more crafter than before! They now travel in groups or try to escape once they see you. Some Pokemon may send your team a challenge, to test their strength against you and your team. Be careful though because you may come face to face with a Legendary Pokemon!

Finally, to top it all off, this game has new Special Episodes, which are side stories that reveal answers to questions asked about the Pokemon in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. Learn how Wigglytuff was he went on his first exploration, Bidoof and Sunflora deal with missions, or what happens to 2 special characters as the result of the battle in the game's climax.

This is the equitant to Platinum Version. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky takes the other 2 games and makes an even better game. I've played Time and loved it and found this to be even more enjoyable. Since it's been awhile since I've played Time, playing through the main story was fun as I noticed the changes that were added to the story and learned new info about the other Pokemon in the Special Episodes. It's like a DVD with Bonus Features. Spinda's Cafe is a nice new addition to the game, which will prevent Full Storage spaces.

There's only one drawback to this game: The Personality Quiz. Instead of choosing your own starter, like you've been able to do in almost every Pokemon game, you have to take this to decide what you're going to be. To make things worse, you answer "Yes" to the first question, you're more likely to be either one of the newly added starters. Without using the guide, it took me at least 30 tries to get what I wanted.

NAME: POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON - EXPLORERS OF SKY
SYSTEM: Nintendo DS

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