DS

North America

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness & Explorers of Time

by James Jones and Neal Ronaghan - May 19, 2008, 3:14 pm PDT
Total comments: 40

4.5

Neal and James review essentially the same game, with essentially the same contempt.

[Editor’s Note: Since Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Explorers of Darkness are virtually identical, it seemed pointless to have two reviews of what amounts to the same game. With that in mind, we’re compiling the thoughts of Neal and James into a single article. – JL]

Neal Ronaghan: When Pokémon first hit the world, I was a huge pre-teen fan. However, once I got older, I moved away from the Pokémon limelight, or at least I did until the release of last year’s Pokémon Diamond/Pearl. In an effort to procrastinate from my studies, I bought Pokémon Pearl and got involved in the wild world of monster collecting once more. So when the second DS outing of Chunsoft’s Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series rolled around, my interest was piqued.

James Jones: I had actually kept up with the Pokémon series, perhaps a bit more than I would care to admit. My first course of action was to look at the history of the Mystery Dungeon series. I avoided discussion of the first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, in order to stay "pure." I understood it was a random dungeon affair, and that I should be ready for that kind of stuff. I wasn't.

Neal: The game is, at heart, a kid-friendly version of the Mystery Dungeon dungeon-crawling series. It begins with you answering a series of questions to decide what kind of Pokémon you are from a set of sixteen different Pokémon. Every starter creature from the main series is included, and other famous Pokémon such as Pikachu and Meowth are in there as well. You then choose a partner out of a reduced amount of Pokémon.

The actual dungeon-crawling brings some challenge to the table and its intense repetition doesn’t make the game as kid-friendly as Chunsoft might think it is. Its intense repetition doesn’t make the game as kid-friendly as Chunsoft might think it is. See what I did there? Imagine that instead of two repeating sentences, there are generic repeating dungeon floors with the same stupid enemies constantly re-appearing, and you attack them with generic attacks over and over again. And if you die, you have to repeat everything over again.

James: The gameplay ranges from passable to abominable. The mechanics work well enough, but they're put into the game so poorly that it boggles my mind. Every dungeon is randomly generated, a feature that has several repercussions. Firstly, these randomly-generated dungeons almost always have terrible layouts. There are long hallways that go nowhere, spawns by the exit, and chambers that are isolated from the rest of the dungeon by hallways that wrap around the entirety of the floor map. Secondly, a dungeon changes every time you go back to it, which is a problem because each dungeon is so poorly laid-out. Often times you're forced to traverse long paths to nowhere twice (up and back) that otherwise you would have already known lead nowhere. If, God forbid, you have to come back to a dungeon for a second run, you're no better off than the first time you completed it. Imagine if Zelda games did this! It would be intolerable. Thirdly, the game requires that dungeons have multiple - sometimes dozens - of floors, because it's possible to spawn at the exit to the next floor. Some dungeons have over twenty generic floors!

The dungeons are also full of traps and ambush rooms (called Monster Houses); these ambush rooms throw you against ten or more enemies at once, they're annoying, and they occur way too frequently. They don't really serve any observable purpose except to frustrate the player. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has several other annoying game mechanics just like this one.

Take, for example, the inability to grind character levels. The game has a "hunger" mechanic; if you don't eat your character will die, so you have to bring food into each dungeon with you. Since you have limited carrying capacity, the need to carry around food is irritating in itself, but the real problem is when you run out of food. Simply put, you can't afford to linger in any dungeon for risk of exhausting your food supply. The best way to deal with being too low a level to progress is to simply turn the game off and restart the dungeon. Sometimes you get better luck; sometimes you get sodomized even worse than before. The food problem is made worse by the fact there are many places where dungeons go back-to-back-to-back. You never get a break to stock up at a store, so you're forced to survive on what you find lying around. For example, there was a series of over sixty floors (four dungeons) that I had to grind through before I ever got the opportunity to get more food.

Neal: I hated that part of the game.

James: Battles would work better if you could control your partner. The fact is that you can't until you beat the main game; even then, you can only control ONE member of the party at any given time, and you can only change outside of dungeons. Your partners are run by A.I., and not the good kind of A.I. either. Turtwig loves to sit behind me while I fight a room full of baddies. They don't react differently to other Pokémon types, and they don't know what skill to use when. Turtwig has three Grass type moves and one Dark type move (for you Pokémon virgins, Dark types are strong against Psychics), yet he seems bound and determined to not use the Dark type move against any Psychic types. There are other A.I. "strategies" as well, and they're all equally ineffective.

Neal: Agreed, the A.I. in this game is really awful. You can have a party of up to four Pokémon but they’re all stupidly controlled, and usually one will get separated from your group and get slaughtered after being singled out by an enemy.

They try to spice things up by including non-story missions involving one of two things: finding Pokémon or items, and/or battling and capturing a naughty or evil Pokémon. At first this isn’t too bad, but after a while the game’s boring combat system catches up to you. The non-story missions are really the only way you can level up before you go on story-based missions; however, there are certain parts of the game during which you go on a series of story missions. If you're under-leveled for these sections you are quite simply screwed, as there is not much of an opportunity to level up or even get items to heal your character. I often found myself sprinting through dungeons to get to the end because I had no healing items or revives!

In addition to the non-story missions, there’s also a really obnoxious mini-game during the main game that places you in the role of a sentry at your Pokémon exploration guild. If you are a Pokémaniac, this game is a piece of cake. However, not everyone knows every creature in the series so the repetitive sentry duty gets old fast.

James: That mini-game has one benefit: get a perfect score, and you get a Reviver Seed that brings your characters back to life. I played it ten times before the FINAL final battle in order to rack up Reviver Seeds and achieve what was, in effect, invincibility.

Neal: So it does have some use, but it was still annoying. The one thing that didn’t annoy me was the story. It’s your standard Pokémon fare, meaning it's really cute, but it is actually quite charming. The game is actually quite story-heavy, and you might find yourself caring about your Pokémon a little bit.

James: Yeah, the best part of the game is the story. It's superb. In fact, it's so enjoyable that it almost saves the game.

Neal: It creates a cast of characters that are fairly interesting, but I have to admit that by the end of the game I was sick and tired of endlessly hearing “AND THREE! SMILES GO FOR MILES!”

James: Smiles can bite me. But as charming as the story is, I can’t say the same for the graphics. The first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon titles began life on the GBA; they were released on the GBA and the DS (Red Rescue Team on the GBA, Blue Rescue Team on the DS). In that case the primitive graphics were forgivable; however, the graphics of these titles still look only slightly better than GBA material. They're colorful, but not very detailed. Of course, the randomly-generated dungeons are really generic-looking. The odd thing is that there are story portions - done in the Pokémon art style - that are really beautiful. The fact is they're the only thing saving this title from being just graphically unacceptable.

Neal: In all honesty, I didn't have much of an issue with the graphics. They aren't top-of-the-line DS graphics by any means, but I wouldn't call them "graphically unacceptable". I would just call them graphically average.

James: The DS is capable of much better than the GBA. Given that all the in-game art is sprite-based, these games should look better than this. It's only a very small step up from the Rescue Team set, and those were for the GBA.

The strangest thing about Mystery Dungeon’s presentation is how it uses the top screen. You'll never forget how to control the game, because the top screen is primarily used to display a list of control commands. There's a whole litany of ways they could have made better use of the top screen. For example, putting the map there would make a lot more sense than putting it on top of the game proper. In a white dungeon the white map gets lost.

Neal: The game actually does offer an option to change what the top screen displays, and you can change it to the dungeon map or use it as a status screen for your team. Regardless, the use of the top screen is piss-poor and this game could have easily been done on the GBA.

James: I feel the same way about its sound and music. Some of the music is really pleasing to listen to, while the rest of it ranges from ho-hum to just irritating. The sound effects are the standard material from the Pokémon series. It's not really stuff that you'd want to hear, but it works.

Neal: Which is the last thing you could say about the design of this game’s online functionality. The “online” rescue system is one of the supposed selling points of the game. The way it works is that if you die in a dungeon, you can send out a rescue request to a friend via e-mail, text message, or telling them a password. Regardless of the method used, a password is required. Then your friend can save your team, and you're spared instead of getting killed and losing items and money. When James and I tested this, it worked fine besides the fact that I ended up in a string of events in which I died and wasn’t allowed to request a rescue. I believe it was on the fourth try when I was actually able to be rescued. I still have no idea why this happened! There’s also the fact that none of this is actually cooperative; I don’t think I’ve ever played an online portion of a game that was more detached from actual human interaction than this one.

James: I have some more random ranting to get off my chest. You can recruit more allies by beating up enemies; some of them will offer to join your "Chimecho Assembly." From there you can select what Pokémon to add to your team (two besides you and your partner). So I spent a lot of time with team members in the side-quests to get them up to my level, only to find that I can't take them anywhere their help would be needed! This renders them useless, considering I usually have to babysit them. What a waste of time!

And if I could throw in a bonus rant, this game starts out with a personality exam. In the results segment it rhetorically asks if people look at me funny. Why yes, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness, people have started looking at me funny...they've been doing that because I'm SO ANGRY AT YOU.

Neal: The other thing that really got on my nerves was the fact that your Pokémon can’t evolve until you follow an absurd set of events in the post-story. I just want my damn Charmander to be a freaking Charizard and my stupid partner Chikorita to be whatever the hell that evolves into. And if that stupid grass Pokémon continues to stand idly by while I attempt to fight enemies, I will throw her stupid little plant ass out the top of the frigging cave!

James: Amen, brother. And in case anybody is wondering what the difference is between Explorers of Darkness and Explorers of Time, the short answer is that there isn’t one. In fact it says so on the back of the box! And I quote: “The contents of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Explorers of Darkness are almost the same.” The only difference we could find was that you fight Dialga first in Explorers of Darkness, while you fight Palkia first in Explorers of Time. Of course, this order flips when you play the second quest.

Neal: James, I think I speak for us both when I say that Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Explorers of Darkness will only appeal to Pokémaniacs who enjoy incredibly repetitive gameplay, practically GBA-level graphics and sound, and computer partner A.I. that’s so dumb you’ll want to stab yourself in the eye. If you don’t count yourself among this select group, you’ll want to spend the twenty hours that James and I can never get back on something more rewarding!

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6.5 7.5 6.5 3 8 4.5
Graphics
6.5

The graphics are good, but haven't improved much from earlier games in the series. Some story cinematics look DS-worthy, while in-game graphics look like they've been lifted from the GBA games.

Sound
7.5

The music is pretty nice. It's reminiscent of music from Paper Mario or Chrono Trigger, and is actually good despite its repetition (somewhat appropriate for this game). The sound effects are typical Pokémon fare, but nothing that really stands out.

Control
6.5

Controlling your Pokémon involves a lot of simultaneous button presses, and some of them work (L+A) and some of them don’t (A+B). The touch screen controls are novel, but don't really add anything to the game. On the bright side, all of those button press combos are right there on the top screen in case you forget!

Gameplay
3

Gameplay is extremely repetitive. If level-grinding games are your bag, you can do much better than Explorers of Darkness and Explorers of Time. On the plus side, they don't explode in your hands the second you pull them out of the box.

Lastability
8

There’s a considerable amount to do even after you beat the main quest, but who the hell would want to do that?

Final
4.5

The repetitive nature of both of these titles overshadows their good qualities. The poor A.I. of your helper characters makes things very frustrating, and the "online" rescue portion of each game is highly dubious. If you're looking for a dungeon-crawler, you can do much better than either one of these titles.

Summary

Pros
  • Music is decent
  • Some nice-looking cinematics
  • Story is a somewhat compelling
  • There’s a lot to do in each game
Cons
  • Gameplay isn’t really fun
  • Online functionality is really just a bunch of smoke and mirrors
  • Poor helper A.I.
  • Repetitive
  • Rescue system is poorly implemented
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE

WoW Crimm, you're really trying to get as famous as Pale aren't you?

Look, this game is terrible and deserving of derision.

This review reads like a transcript of a meeting of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Anonymous, with people who used to play the game talking about their pain and leaning on each other for support through these dark times.

shammackMay 19, 2008

I'll concede that the hallways to nowhere are annoying, but what is so terrible about spawning in the same room as the exit?  If you're trying to get to the end of the dungeon as soon as possible, I'd think that would be a good thing.  And if you want to go off looking for treasure or grinding or whatever, nothing's stopping you from doing that, and when you're ready to leave you'll already know where you need to go.  What's the problem?

GoldenPhoenixMay 19, 2008

Quote from: shammack

I'll concede that the hallways to nowhere are annoying, but what is so terrible about spawning in the same room as the exit?  If you're trying to get to the end of the dungeon as soon as possible, I'd think that would be a good thing.  And if you want to go off looking for treasure or grinding or whatever, nothing's stopping you from doing that, and when you're ready to leave you'll already know where you need to go.  What's the problem?

Because is horrendous randomization and cheap repetitive gameplay that has about as much design intelligence going into it as Far Cry.

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Because is horrendous randomization and cheap repetitive gameplay that has about as much design intelligence going into it as Far Cry.

You went there. You went there. I can't believe you went there.

shammackMay 19, 2008

So you'd prefer to be required to trek all the way across the level even though the luck of the draw determined that you start right by the stairs?  That would be less cheap and repetitive, is what you're saying?

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2008

Wow terrible review, the a+b comb your supposed to hold down and then release the buttons when you are done resting. Did you play the first pokemon mystery dungeon game or any other mystery dungeon game ?? Every mystery dungeon game has the same core gameplay mechanic and Chunsoft is the developer of the original Shiren the Wanderer Mystery Dungeon game at least they didn't bring the "if you die you go back to lvl 1" mechanic to the pokemon mystery dungeon games.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2008

Quote from: shammack

So you'd prefer to be required to trek all the way across the level even though the luck of the draw determined that you start right by the stairs?  That would be less cheap and repetitive, is what you're saying?

Nope I think they would all prefer no random dungeons. They are a terrible idea. Good level design will trump a random dungeon 100% of the time.

This review was hilarious and awesome. I love it.

GoldenPhoenixMay 20, 2008

Quote from: Mr.

Quote from: shammack

So you'd prefer to be required to trek all the way across the level even though the luck of the draw determined that you start right by the stairs?  That would be less cheap and repetitive, is what you're saying?

Nope I think they would all prefer no random dungeons. They are a terrible idea. Good level design will trump a random dungeon 100% of the time.

This review was hilarious and awesome. I love it.

Not to mention if you do have random dungeons you should take care to make sure it at least has some "rules" when it is randomizing things. But that would take some talent.

shammackMay 20, 2008

Okay, look.  If you don't like random dungeons you shouldn't be playing a game entirely based around them in the first place.  Complaining about random dungeons in a roguelike is like playing a racing game and complaining that all you do is drive around a track, or playing an FPS and complaining that all you do is run around and shoot people.  If the core of the game is that uninteresting to you, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that you won't like the game.  But that doesn't necessarily make it a bad game within the parameters of what it is.

This game could not exist with non-random dungeons.  They allow the dungeons to be replayed infinitely, which is necessary because the whole game revolves around leveling up your hundreds of characters.  The alternative would be to do all that grinding in the same dungeons over and over, or to have thousands of well-designed dungeons, which is not practical.  Yes, you could take out the grinding and leveling and just have a few, well-designed dungeons, but at that point you'd have a completely different game, because this isn't a game about exploration; it's a game about statistical character development.  You can argue that that would be a better game if you want, but it's apples and oranges, and the fact of the matter is there are many gamers who enjoy this type of game.  And this review is not going to be helpful to them because it was written by people who thought, "random dungeons?!  That's stupid.  I'll just write a review about how lame that idea is and it'll be really hilarious LOLOLOL!"

I for one do not see the appeal of randomly generated dungeons. Seems like an excuse for terrible level design....although I guess a really clever generator could create semi-random dungeons of some interest.

I tend to shy away from reviewing genres I do not know at all or know that I dislike. However, I don't think it's fair to claim the reviewers' opinions are invalid because they don't like rougelikes. Fans of traditional Pokemon games will be interested in this title, and I think a good portion will agree with this review. Mystery Dungeon fans know what they're getting into anyway when they pick this game up, aren't they? (And no, we don't have any hardcore Mystery Dungeon enthusiasts that would be able to compare this game's pros/cons against other MD releases.)

Quote from: Flames_of_chaos

at least they didn't bring the "if you die you go back to lvl 1" mechanic to the pokemon mystery dungeon games.

So I shouldn't kill the game for bringing over bad level design because it didn't bring over a mechanic that is even MORE sadistic?

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2008

Quote from: TheYoungerPlumber

I for one do not see the appeal of randomly generated dungeons. Seems like an excuse for terrible level design....although I guess a really clever generator could create semi-random dungeons of some interest.

I tend to shy away from reviewing genres I do not know at all or know that I dislike. However, I don't think it's fair to claim the reviewers' opinions are invalid because they don't like rougelikes. Fans of traditional Pokemon games will be interested in this title, and I think a good portion will agree with this review. Mystery Dungeon fans know what they're getting into anyway when they pick this game up, aren't they? (And no, we don't have any hardcore Mystery Dungeon enthusiasts that would be able to compare this game's pros/cons against other MD releases.)

*raises hand* I'm a hardcore enthusiast of the genre but I'm not a staff member :P.

Quote from: Crimm

Quote from: Flames_of_chaos

at least they didn't bring the "if you die you go back to lvl 1" mechanic to the pokemon mystery dungeon games.

So I shouldn't kill the game for bringing over bad level design because it didn't bring over a mechanic that is even MORE sadistic?

Crimm I bet you will cry if you played Shiren the Wanderer Mystery Dungeon on the DS. If you play that game you will appreciate the rescue feature in Pokemon Mystery dungeon 2(well not really since the penalty of dying in P:MD2 is losing about half of your inventory that your carrying and half of your money), in Shiren you are limited to 3 rescues btw and they only renew if you die and go back to lvl 1. And if you try to "cheat" and turn off your DS when you die or about to die your game save corrupts and you go back to level 1.

I'm sorry.  That just sounds like a stupid feature.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

I'm sorry.  That just sounds like a stupid feature.

Your just spoiled from modern forgiving games then ;).

Quote from: shammack

Okay, look.  If you don't like random dungeons you shouldn't be playing a game entirely based around them in the first place.  Complaining about random dungeons in a roguelike is like playing a racing game and complaining that all you do is drive around a track, or playing an FPS and complaining that all you do is run around and shoot people.  If the core of the game is that uninteresting to you, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that you won't like the game.  But that doesn't necessarily make it a bad game within the parameters of what it is.

Neal and James are within their rights to criticize an entire genre if that genre is based around a gameplay idea that they find to be repulsive and/or negatively entertaining.

GoldenPhoenixMay 20, 2008

I think they should create Block Random. Where a block randomly appears and you drag it off the screen, though sometimes it appears off the screen and does it for you. A whole new genre would be created and you can't critisize it either.

Seriously there is a good reason why this genre is barely seen anymore, the random stages were "cool" for a bit but they failed to match a well designed dungeon especially as games got more complex. Sure some games that tried this gimmick, and did it fairly well but Pokemon Mystery Dungeon seems to have a lazy randomizer if it places you by the freaken exit!

Also when did games with random dungeons have their own genre? So would toe jam and earl be in the random level genre? Seriously you are not criticizing any particular genre just a gameplay design choice which I think is perfectly fair.

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

I think they should create Block Random. Where a block randomly appears and you drag it off the screen, though sometimes it appears off the screen and does it for you. A whole new genre would be created and you can't critisize it either.

I want to move this to the funhouse.  This time, for good reasons!

ShyGuyMay 20, 2008

As long as we're critcizing entire genres, I give Madden and Sports games in general a 3.0

on a scale of a 100

DAaaMan64May 20, 2008

Quote from: ShyGuy

As long as we're critcizing entire genres, I give Madden and Sports games in general a 3.0

on a scale of a 100

ooh ooh I agree.

Quote from: DAaaMan64

Quote from: ShyGuy

As long as we're critcizing entire genres, I give Madden and Sports games in general a 3.0

on a scale of a 100

ooh ooh I agree.

At least the reviewers played these games extensively before making sweeping judgments of their entire genre.

DAaaMan64May 20, 2008

Quote from: insanolord

Quote from: DAaaMan64

Quote from: ShyGuy

As long as we're critcizing entire genres, I give Madden and Sports games in general a 3.0

on a scale of a 100

ooh ooh I agree.

At least the reviewers played these games extensively before making sweeping judgments of their entire genre.

Fine by me. I still doubt I'm missing much ;)

Shift KeyMay 20, 2008

Quote from: insanolord

At least the reviewers played these games extensively before making sweeping judgments of their entire genre.

I laughed hard. Perhaps you're being serious - and that made me laugh even harder.

KDR_11kMay 20, 2008

About random dungeons, let me say it like this: There are games with good random dungeons and then there are japanese dungeon crawlers. Diablo 2 managed to have randomization combined with interesting locales (often large hand-designed parts that were merged into the random levels), it needed randomness because it would get replayed a LOT online and it still worked out. All attempts from Japan to have random dungeons I've seen were horribly lazy messes that produced a pointless mixture of rooms and corridors with little sense of cohesion. And because it's so easy to adjust the "floors" parameter when you don't have to input anything for each level they tend to make dungeons horribly long. A long level with no points of interest is just stupid. And well, a whole game based around increasing your stats fighting samey monsters in pointless random messes (er, dungeons) is pretty damn stupid and holds about zero entertainment for most people. IMO reviews should warn about that, most if not all people looking for a review of such games on a page like this are not hardcore dungeon crawler lovers. The three and a half people who like this genre probably have their own review sites anyway.

Oh BTW, these days an FPS does get torn apart if all it contains is shooting stuff, people want stories, intelligent teammates and enemies, puzzles, etc in their FPSes now.

shammackMay 20, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Neal and James are within their rights to criticize an entire genre if that genre is based around a gameplay idea that they find to be repulsive and/or negatively entertaining.

They certainly have that right, but it doesn't strike me as a very useful thing to do.  ShyGuy's Madden comparison is pretty apt.

I do at least get some satisfaction from knowing that Crimm apparently played through the entire game with the list of controls on the top screen.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Quote from: shammack

Okay, look.  If you don't like random dungeons you shouldn't be playing a game entirely based around them in the first place.  Complaining about random dungeons in a roguelike is like playing a racing game and complaining that all you do is drive around a track, or playing an FPS and complaining that all you do is run around and shoot people.  If the core of the game is that uninteresting to you, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that you won't like the game.  But that doesn't necessarily make it a bad game within the parameters of what it is.

Neal and James are within their rights to criticize an entire genre if that genre is based around a gameplay idea that they find to be repulsive and/or negatively entertaining.

But then one can argue that there will be certain biases toward a game during the review.  Also the food mechanic in the Mystery Dungeon games is logical since your a rogue and since rogues are on their own they have to survive on their own accord. 

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusMay 20, 2008

It seems to me that the review covered the many mechanics of the game and exactly what it is like to play the game.  If you are a fan of this type of game, you should be able to glean the details from the review and make your own decision about whether or not you will like the game. Though James and Neal pan the game, they state the facts. At no point did they falsely state anything about the game to further their negative feelings, they just discuss why they didn't like x mechanic.

This type of game tends to be very niche, but it carries a very popular, mainstream IP along with it. People who are a fan of Pokemon games should know what they are getting into, and know that this isn't the typical fair. It is also worth noting how random dungeons often play out, and why they don't function as well as well-designed levels.

That's my two cents. Unfortunately this type of game is a bit of an anomaly. A very hardcore game tied to a very mainstream IP. Whether you pick on it for being a mystery dungeon game, or praise it, someone isn't going to be satisfied with the outcome of the review.

MarioMay 20, 2008

Pikmin 2 4.5

GoldenPhoenixMay 20, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

About random dungeons, let me say it like this: There are games with good random dungeons and then there are japanese dungeon crawlers. Diablo 2 managed to have randomization combined with interesting locales (often large hand-designed parts that were merged into the random levels), it needed randomness because it would get replayed a LOT online and it still worked out. All attempts from Japan to have random dungeons I've seen were horribly lazy messes that produced a pointless mixture of rooms and corridors with little sense of cohesion. And because it's so easy to adjust the "floors" parameter when you don't have to input anything for each level they tend to make dungeons horribly long. A long level with no points of interest is just stupid. And well, a whole game based around increasing your stats fighting samey monsters in pointless random messes (er, dungeons) is pretty damn stupid and holds about zero entertainment for most people. IMO reviews should warn about that, most if not all people looking for a review of such games on a page like this are not hardcore dungeon crawler lovers. The three and a half people who like this genre probably have their own review sites anyway.

Oh BTW, these days an FPS does get torn apart if all it contains is shooting stuff, people want stories, intelligent teammates and enemies, puzzles, etc in their FPSes now.

Great points. Personally I think the random dungeons are used more for advertising purposes to unsuspecting (young gamers) in many games. Because it is a NEW experience every time! Except for the fact they are poorly implemented.

CalibanMay 20, 2008

Quote from: ShyGuy

As long as we're critcizing entire genres, I give Madden and Sports games in general a 3.0

on a scale of a 100

You don't like the Wii version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008?


As for this review, the only comment I can give is that what makes this game seem so negative might be its long playtime duration for such genre of games. I do not have this game, but from my experience with Izuna I can say that a 5 to 15 hours spent in gameplay is more than sufficient. I don't know how long do these Shiren the Wanderer Mystery Dungeon games last, but I asssume that they don't have as much longevity as this Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.

vuduMay 20, 2008

Quote from: NewsBot

Neal and James review essentially the same game, with essentially the same contempt.

I think we're all missing the real story here ... THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF NEWSBOT!!

KDR_11kMay 21, 2008

Food may be logical or realistic but Nethack's instakill traps and mechanics are realistic too. Speaking of Nethack, I suppose you cannot use the bodies of dead enemies as food or makeshift weapons?

shammackMay 21, 2008

That would mean admitting that Pokemon can actually die!

Quote from: shammack

That would mean admitting that Pokemon can actually die!

They are routinely sliced and diced in the manga.

DAaaMan64May 21, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

Quote from: shammack

That would mean admitting that Pokemon can actually die!

They are routinely sliced and diced in the manga.

Hm thats creepy!

It's good, and pretty much in line with my thoughts on the game.  Nice job.

Well written and, like James said, pretty much in line with my thoughts.

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness & Explorers of Time Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer

Worldwide Releases

na: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness & Explorers of Time
Release Apr 20, 2008
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Pokémon Fushigi no Danjon Yami no Tankentai & Toki no Tankentai
Release Sep 13, 2007
PublisherNintendo
eu: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness & Explorers of Time
Release Jul 04, 2008
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+
aus: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness & Explorers of Time
Release Jun 19, 2008
PublisherNintendo
RatingGeneral
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