Gaming Review: Pokemon Colosseum

How’s this for something odd? Pokemon Colosseum debuted on the Nintendo Gamecube and received quite a large amount of hate when it was first released, with it’s sequel managing to get even more hate than ever before.

Infact, I think the fanbase went as far as to shun these games from the franchise, pretending that they didn’t exist or that they failed. However, whilst they may not be a direct port of a handheld adventure or an updated version of Pokemon Stadium, Colosseum has it’s own unique spot in the Pokemon franchise…a spot which I think is a really admirable thing for it to achieve.

For those who aren’t in the know, handheld Pokemon games involve you going through long grass and caves and catching wild Pokemon, raising them up and battling the 8 gyms that are dotted around the region, running into the legendary Pokemon of old folklore and then eventually becoming the best trainer in the world. That…well, that just doesn’t happen in this game. None of the features that I mentioned, the biggest features that exist in the handheld games…have been removed from a Pokemon game. It might have been this exclusion which caused the fanbase to shun the game, or it might have been because it wasn’t similar to Pokemon stadium, where you held grand battles in 3D and quested to become the ultimate trainer. Infact, this game says a huge “screw you” to convention and goes with something that’s story based. Shocked yet?

If that hasn’t given you enough of a shock to cause the foundations of the real world to shatter, how about this? You, the main character, is an ex Pokemon thief, whom is seen in the opening cutscene causing an epic explosion to blow up his old hideout as he leaves the thieving profession. Those who’ve played the console games know very well that stealing Pokemon is the biggest taboo that ever exists in the franchise, and I think it’s an absolutely brilliant touch that you play as an anti-hero who does just that. He starts with his two partner Pokemon, an Umbreon and an Espeon, and before very long he meets a girl who’s being abducted by villains. You may be an ex-thief, but you can’t allow anyone to hurt an innocent girl, but as she starts telling you stories of mysterious Pokemon attacking their trainers and causing harm to people, you feel like you need to investigate.

Your investigations unearth the meat of this game, the Shadow Pokemon. A criminal syndicate is creating these evil Pokemon and distributing them around the world to achieve domination where everyone relies on them, and it’s actually quite a clever scheme when you look at it one way. You need to get them back, but since the trainers don’t exactly hand them over…that’s right, you steal them.This should be MORE than enough to make fans of Pokemon pick up the game, since being a badass anti-hero who steals Pokemon is every fans dream, and it’s executed really really well, but in the event that it doesn’t interest you, there’s a lot of other things the game does really well.

Stripping down the gameplay and looking at it, it’s like you’ve been thrown into a JRPG without the annoying characters or the stupid plotholes, your goal is made clearer than daylight itself and you’re given everything you need to do this. The battles in the game are often scripted, story-based battles with the free-roaming aspect having vanished into thin air…and it’s not a bad thing thanks to the method in which the game delivers its story. It’s simple, it’s not complicated and it’s addictively fun and entertaining.

All of this is backed up by some pretty awesome 3D visuals, and whilst the game may be old to the point where there’s only around 300ish Pokemon in play, almost all of them show their face at least once during your adventure, and you get quite an interesting selection of them for the ones you can add to your team. Underused ones like Qwilfish and flat out crappy ones like Jumpluff and Absol suddenly become really useable really quickly, and stuff like Metagross isn’t all that useable. It’s a wonderful feature which the game’s included, and they’ve really gone the extra mile to fully animate all the battle scenes and all the move effects. If that’s not good enough, following up the move effects is an amazingly catchy soundtrack, with some pieces being the kind of pieces that you’ll put your speakers at max and immerse yourself in. The only word which I can thing to use in this instance is wonderful, and it really is all wonderful and delightful in both premise and execution.

It may not be a handheld Pokemon or a normal Pokemon game, but it’s actually what I would consider to be one of the better Pokemon games, with a really well thought out plot, outstanding music, pretty impressive visuals and a charming character roster. It’s easily worth picking up and playing, and you’re almost promised some great fun and enjoyment.x

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