Quantcast
Pokemon Heart Gold / Soul Silver (Nintendo DS)
×

America - Front

America - Back

Review Scores

VGChartz Score
N/A

Ratings

     

Alternative Names

Pokémon Heart Gold / Soul Silver

ポケットモンスターハートゴールド / ソウルシルバー

Developer

Game Freak

Genre

Role-Playing

Release Dates

03/14/10 Nintendo
09/12/09 Nintendo
03/26/10 Nintendo

Friend Code

Community Stats

Owners: 527
Tracked: 13
Wishlist: 41
Now Playing: 41

Review: Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver

By senseinobaka 27th Apr 2010 | 8,672 views 

Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver is a journey back to the fan favorite region of Johto, and it is worth revisiting.

Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver are reincarnations of Pokemon Gold and Silver, the second generation games. Game Freak remade the games with nostalgia in mind, but also had a deep desire to make something completely new. I know this for a fact: the president of Game Freak said so himself when I met him Celadon City. If that was truly the objective behind this game, then it is a resounding success. As we travel back to the Johto and Kanto regions we are reunited with childhood memories and treated to modern designs.

Immediately following your first steps into Johto, you will notice that the region is familiar but with a completely updated veneer. Game Freak has updated the presentation to match the fourth generation standards, and the results are beautiful. Everything in this game is vibrant and colorful with a tinge of the saccharine feel that Pokemon games are known for. Each city has its own personality with a matching art style, and an addition comes in the form of parks, which are refreshing places to visit. Like the other fourth generation games, Heart Gold and Soul Silver feature a top-down perspective overworld with plenty of 3D effects. Visually, this approach adds some depth to the world, and it helps transforms Johto into lively region with some real attractions to see.

All of these visual effects work very well, as long as there is no motion. In fact, animation is the bane of this game’s presentation. As you traverse the overworld, it scrolls in layers to maintain the 3D and depth effects. This is rarely noticeable, but there are times when jaggedness and even some tearing could be seen. Onscreen characters, including your character, have stiff animations and don’t even come close to rivaling some of the fluidity seen in other DS top-down games. The overworld also features some animated objects, such as flowers, but they are poorly animated. Game Freak took large bounds toward making the overworld look like a modern handheld title, but the animations retain an outdated feel.

The battle presentation has similar strengths and weaknesses. At the start of each battle, you are treated to a transition animation. These animations are very quick- how interesting this is depends on the situation. Once you are in battle, the minimalist nature of the animation rears its head again. The sprites are rendered well, and this title features some of the best sprite art of the series. However, each Pokemon has a single non-animated sprite (they also have an ultra-rare alternative sprite) which can become monotonous during long stretches of training and level grinding. The opponents are also static with no animations, except for the gym leaders who have a terrible two to three frame movement that looks more like a twitch than animation. Now, I do rail on about poor animations, but I should note that the unique attack animations in battle are very good and fun to watch, but during long bouts of training you are likely to turn those animations off for expedience’s sake.

The story and music round out the presentation package rather nicely. The music has been updated and retains the catchy nature of the other Pokemon games. As an added bonus, slight spoiler here, you can earn the ability to play the old school tracks. This game gives you an added feature with the radio that adds new music and sounds. Each Pokemon has a sound, roar, screech; whatever you want to call it, but they are still very old 8-bit sound bites that detract from the overall sound design. The story happens to be the same as all Pokemon games; you will embark on a journey that wins you a bunch of badges, you will realize that love and caring are important to becoming a successful trainer, and somehow you will defeat a terrorist organization. The details vary slightly from region to region, and interestingly enough, the details vary from Gold/Silver to Heart Gold/Soul Silver, which is a nice bonus.

The gameplay has been drastically updated from Gold and Silver. Like the presentation, the gameplay implements almost all of the improvements found in the third and fourth generation. As is typical with Nintendo developed games, superficially the mechanics seem to be identical and minimal, but that’s because this game’s mechanics are heavily stratified. At the top level you will find the familiar rock-paper-scissor turn-based RPG battle system. This is the most accessible mechanic and will be the only gameplay experience for most players out there. Despite being unchanged for over a decade, this holds up very well. It remains addictive and offers plenty of strategy and team building options to satiate most players.

Catching and training Pokemon also remains a large part of the gameplay experience, and this has also been jazzed up by utilizing the DS’s internal clock. Like in Diamond and Pearl, the time of day and day of the week affect which Pokemon are catchable, and the frequency in which they will appear. Despite the fact that this can be easily tricked by changing the clock, it does add depth to the overall experience.

Where Nintendo enjoys having fun is in developing mechanics that lurk beneath the surface; mechanics that offer completely new and divergent experiences to those willing to look deeper down the rabbit hole. For Pokemon these lower strata gameplay mechanics have been the dirty little secret of the hardcore trainers for years. Effort Values, Individual Values, Breeding, and the tiered metagame are included in these special gameplay additions. With Heart Gold and Soul Silver, those in the know have a chance to finally meld their nostalgia for Johto with the mechanics added in the third and fourth generations. These include improvements to the breeding and individual natures of each Pokemon. There are also hundreds of items to collect that augment your strategy and make countless team strategies possible. With all these improvements over Gold and Silver, new opportunities and team designs are available in Johto for the first time.

The RPG and strategy elements in Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver are excellent, but they are not the only gameplay elements available. Various minigames are included in the Pokeathalon, which utilizes the DS touch screen. These minigames are mildly enjoyable, but more than likely you will only play them to earn rare prizes. By far, the best minigame is the much talked about “Voltorb Flip”. Found at the Game Corner in Goldenrod City, Voltorb Flip is a game that’s 50% minesweeper, 50% picross, and nearly 100% luck. Sure, strategy and math play an important role in Voltorb Flip, but sooner or later it comes down to chance, and you will be forced to roll the dice. Voltorb Flip is an addictive addition that can occupy hours on its own merit.

Taking a page out of its predecessor’s playbook, Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver is one of the most feature rich high-value packages available on DS. The main storyline alone will take 50+ hours to complete and north of 70 hours with the wealth of side quests available. If that isn’t enough the game has several gameplay extending areas. This includes the Safari Zone and National Park, which offer challenges, and the chance to catch Pokemon from other regions. Depending on the day of the week, these zones will offer different challenges and yield different Pokemon. The Pokeathlon is a series of minigames that offer some distraction and allow you to earn ribbons for your Pokemon.

If post-game training is your desire, then you can explore all the high-leveled dungeons and side quests packed into the game. Usually these areas will include a legendary Pokemon to catch. Mt Silver and the Indigo Plateau remain opened after beating the game to allow you to rematch the Elite Four, Lance, and the final challenger on Mt. Silver for massive experience gains. With Rock Climb you can explore previously unobtainable areas; extending an already fully realized region. Best of all, this game makes sure you don’t run out of trainers to battle with the advent of the cell phone. By registering trainers in your cell phone you can get random requests for rechallenges. At times these random phone calls can result in obtaining items. Heart Gold and Soul Silver seem specifically designed to consume all your time; and we only touched on the experiences on the game cart.

Nintendo WiFi on the DS is perfect for a game like Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. For no additional cost, you can connect worldwide with the millions of other trainers in trade and battle. There are tons of different modes and iterations that make for a highly customizable and varied experience. The Battle Frontier has been added for seasoned players who are seeking a more strategic match with balance and a Level 50 cap. Higher level Pokemon will be downgraded to level 50 for purposes of the Battle Frontier. Multiplayer can also be used via Multi-cart for those needing a local multiplayer solution.

And with WiFi also lies my strongest criticism for this game; the WiFi only supports WEP security. This forces those with secure networks to either abandon multiplayer or play only locally. DSi owners will be completely dumbfounded with this decision as the DSi is capable of WPA support, but the game cart is not. Effectively, you will have to choose between network security or the ability to enjoy what is the most valuable aspect of the game. It will also limit your ability to play in some WiFi hotspots.

The coolest value addition to Heart Gold and Soul Silver seems like a gimmick at first, but actually turns out to be a welcomed toy. Yes, the Pokewalker is worth purchasing the game. Let’s get this out of the way, it is a toy, but it offers enough utility to be worth playing with even for adults. The Pokewalker allows you to download one of your caught Pokemon and take it with you on the go. Each time you download a Pokemon you will choose a trail to walk that allows you to find different items via dowsing or catch different Pokemon via battle. Walking a with a Pokemon will have effects in the game, such as leveling and increasing happiness.

What makes the Pokewalker more than a simple Tamagotchi device is the addition of the pedometer. This will appeal to the health conscious and also allow for passive training. Each step builds watts, which will be used in dowsing and also battling. Taking a Pokemon with you on the go will help during those times when you are grinding for levels. The Pokewalker is without a doubt a fine addition to the value of the game.

Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver may be a remake of Gold and Silver, but Game Freak made sure that the final product is so much more. They added all of the improvements found in the third and fourth generation games and stuffed the game with tons of value. The Pokewalker is a nice addition that will appeal to that narrow band of people that love both Pokemon and exercising. Those who are tournament players and life-long Pokemon fans need to own this game and those who missed out on Gold and Silver have a great opportunity to catch up.


VGChartz Verdict


8
Great

Read more about our Review Methodology here

Sales History

Total Sales
3.96m
Japan
4.34m
NA
2.72m
Europe
0.76m
Others
11.78m
Total
1 1,446,090 n/a n/a 1,446,090
2 465,723 n/a n/a 465,723
3 151,660 n/a n/a 151,660
4 274,031 n/a n/a 274,031
5 188,467 n/a n/a 188,467
6 156,577 n/a n/a 156,577
7 118,173 n/a n/a 118,173
8 80,044 n/a n/a 80,044
9 67,122 n/a n/a 67,122
10 55,683 n/a n/a 55,683

Opinion (183)

Luke888 posted 21/12/2015, 10:17
Soooooooo, I was watching The Pokémon games sales and I noticed that this is the only mainline game that is classified as Action, is there any particular reason or is it just been classified wrong ?
Message | Report
S.Peelman posted 30/10/2015, 01:45
Nintendo says 12.72m as of september 30.

Undertracked by 900k-ish.
Message | Report
atma998 posted 17/07/2014, 11:14
11.64M, more than 300k in the last two years, not bad considering DS has been replaced in 2011 by 3DS.
Message | Report
atma998 posted 23/06/2012, 11:38
11.33M...wonder if it still selling a bit?
Message | Report
dark_gh0st_b0y posted 02/02/2012, 06:27
what an amazing remake, i want SpiritCrystal in 3D : D
Message | Report
Salnax posted 23/01/2012, 06:14
9th best selling game on the DS, and the 3rd best selling RPG on the system. 41st best selling retail game ever. In short, a huge success.
Message | Report
View all